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General Employee Information

What are the health and safety protocols for on-site work?

More information about the current health safety protocols is available here.

What can I do if a colleague is not wearing a mask? What should I do?

First, assume the best in your colleague. Like you, they may still be working to build new habits to meet all health and safety protocols. They may have forgotten to put it on, or they did not realize they would be around others.

Kind support from colleagues is one of the best ways to help establish new habits. Here are some ideas on what you can say to support healthy behaviors:

  • Don't forget your mask!
  • Let's make sure we follow the mask requirements.
  • Remember, we are all expected to wear a mask.
  • Please wear a mask when you come to my office/cubicle.

What if someone continues not to wear a mask?

If the individual is a colleague, refer them to their supervisor.

If the individual is a direct report, contact HR Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758.

Is remote work an option?

Yes. For many units and positions, it is both appropriate and productive to continue working remotely on a full- or part-time basis.

Many UK operations will be performed differently to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These changes are designed to minimize on-site and in-person interactions, even as we provide a vibrant, residential experience for our students and continue to fulfill our missions of education, research, service and care. We are strongly encouraging college and division leaders to be flexible with employees, understanding that the work of the institution must still be done, but that we must protect the health, safety and well-being of everyone who works in our special community.

Staff and faculty have demonstrated how, for certain positions, much of the university’s work can be accomplished remotely in the short-term. Against that backdrop, the university is developing an intentional process to identify which positions are critical to on-site operations to achieve a signature residential experience for students when they return in the fall. All other positions should continue to operate remotely.

We encourage college, division and department leaders to begin thinking of ways remote work and flexible schedules can become a longer-term strategy for supporting employee well-being, enhancing services to students and increasing productivity.  

Am I required to be tested?

We are not requiring faculty and staff to be tested. There are some differences in populations coming to campus and there are some differences in their relative access to testing.

Students are coming to UK from 120 counties, 50 states and about 100 countries. Most of our faculty and staff are coming on campus locally. We are offering testing for faculty and staff who are symptomatic and will provide information about local testing sites for faculty and staff who, while asymptomatic, are interested in testing. And, faculty and staff will participate in daily screening as well.

How can I prepare to work remotely, if needed?

Employees and teams who can effectively work remotely can make sure they are prepared to do so. This may include confirming you can access voicemail, email, Zoom and other systems away from your normal work location. Employees who will need to remotely connect to their desktop workstations or UK-hosted servers will need to request Virtual Private Network (VPN) access prior to working remotely. 

What if my child's school or regular care provider is closed?

This is a reality for many UK employees. We have asked colleges and units to think creatively about remote work and offer maximum flexibility for employees who have child care needs during this challenging period. 

Although child care centers are allowed to reopen at reduced capacities on June 15, some centers are unable to open or are waiting to open until late summer. Of the centers that are able to reopen, some are also reducing their hours.  

We are working to provide employees with as much support as possible. However, employees should be actively working on backup child care plans. We also strongly encourage employees to continue care support networks among friends and family where possible. Resources such as Lotsa Helping Hands can be invaluable in coordinating care.

Employees with questions or concerns about finding child care, including back-up care, can contact HR Work-Life at  

Finally, if an employee cannot locate alternative care options, our HR Employee Relations team can help employees explore options for leave use. Please call them at (859) 257-8758.  

I am concerned about performing my normal work duties as I am immunocompromised. Who can I talk with about options to address these concerns?

 If you have an immunocompromised system or an underlying medical condition and are seeking accommodations due to concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19, you may contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity at (859) 257-8927 for additional information. You will need to fill out the ADA Accommodation Form and your provider will fill out the Medical Inquiry Form and return to the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. You may also find the forms at Possible accommodations could be working from home or relocation to an area in which exposure risk is reduced. You should also talk with your health care provider for advice on any additional recommended precautions.

If you are a UK HealthCare employee, the isolation period will not count as an occurrence under UKHC’s Attendance Policy.

You may view control and prevention guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at

You should also talk with your health care provider for advice on any additional recommended precautions.

Who can I see if I’m having anxiety or other concerns?

Therapists with Work+Life Connections employee counseling are available for free, confidential appointments via phone or Zoom.

What should managers do if an employee in their area tests positive for COVID-19?

Managers should follow this guidance when they have an employee who tests positive for COVID-19.

How should managers have conversations with employees about the requirement to wear a mask?

Managers have an important role in supporting their employees in building new healthy habits in the workplace. Guidance on how to have constructive conversations on mask-wearing requirements is available here.

As a supervisor, what should I do if one of my employees is coughing or displaying other concerning symptoms?

Only a medical professional can diagnose an illness and provide care instructions. However, supervisors can err on the side of caution by advising employees who are displaying symptoms of illness contact their health care provider or Live Health Online telehealth/online services. If an employee is not well enough to work – whether at their office/work location or remotely – he or she should request sick leave if applicable. 

What should I do if an employee shows signs of illness but does not want to go home?

Please call HR Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758 to discuss the situation and evaluate the circumstances on a case-by-case basis. 

Additionally, managers and supervisors should not pressure anyone who is ill to come to work. Employees who are well should not be persuaded to stay away from work for reasons such as race, ethnicity, home location, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. 

One of my team members reports they have been exposed to someone who is now in self-isolation. What do I do?

If your employee has been directed to self-isolate by a public health professional or their personal health care provider, the employee should follow that guidance. You should please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758. 

If your employee has not been directed to self-isolate and is concerned about coming to work, the employee may request to use accrued leave or work remotely for up to 14 calendar days. Supervisors may or may not be able to accommodate this request based on business needs. If you need assistance in evaluating these requests, please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758. 

One of my team members reports they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do?

If your employee has been directed to self-isolate by a public health professional or their personal health care provider, the employee should follow that guidance. Please contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758. The supervisor should request documentation from the employee and contact Employee Relations at (859) 257-8758.

How should managers handle concerns about illness in the workplace?

Managers and supervisors should not pressure anyone who is ill to work. Employees who are well should not be persuaded to stay away from work for reasons such as race, ethnicity, home location, having cared for a sick family member (without any indication of COVID-19) or recent travel to unaffected areas. Our HR Employee Relations team is here to help. Please call them at (859) 257-8758. 

Can an employee stay home if they have a general concern about being exposed to a viral illness such as COVID-19 or the common flu?

If you feel well enough to work but need to self-isolate or want to avoid spreading a diagnosed viral illness, working remotely may be an option for you. You should consult with your supervisor. 

How does this affect UK's hiring process?

We have paused hiring throughout the campus. This includes faculty and staff, administrative, full-time and part-time, as well as STEPS positions. It does not apply to student employment.

Read the President's full campus message here. 

Can I still travel internationally? Domestically?

All University-sponsored or endorsed international travel is suspended indefinitely. Employees with current reservations for international travel should work to cancel them as soon as possible. There is an appeals process. For more information about COVID-19 outbreaks abroad, please consult the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s websites.

All incoming international travelers who plan to come to campus should take a diagnostic (i.e., PCR) COVID-19 test within 2 days of arrival to the United States. They should self-isolate until the test results are known, if symptomatic. The University of Kentucky recommends that you not travel internationally for personal reasons at this time. 

Members of the UK community who are not U.S. citizens should also review the recent presidential proclamations to understand how traveling to Brazil, China, Europe, Iran, Ireland or the United Kingdom may affect their ability to re-enter the U.S. For the purposes of the executive proclamations, "Europe" refers to the 26 states of the Schengen Area. "Ireland and the United Kingdom" covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

All University-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged. Anyone who travels out of state should monitor their temperature and other symptoms. 

For further information regarding COVID-19 travel restrictions or the review process for travel, please contact Jason Hope, Director of International Health, Safety and Security, at

For all other travel policy questions, please contact Patty Brophy, Director of Travel Services, at

When can I be reimbursed for a UK business travel airline ticket that I purchased with a personal credit card and then cancelled due to COVID-19?

Under current policies, such a cancelled ticket is not reimbursed until the ticket credit is exchanged for future UK business travel and that trip is completed. However, due to COVID-19, we have implemented a temporary travel policy change to reimburse travelers early for cancelled airline tickets purchased with a personal credit card, which are not being refunded by the airlines.

Departments can process reimbursement for the ticket at the point of cancellation through a PRD with supervisor and business officer approval.

It will be the responsibility of the business officers to ensure the exchange ticket is used for UK business travel, and future reimbursement for the exchange ticket is limited to only additional personal credit card airfare/fee expenses related to the exchange.

When processing the PRD, departments should use the "Registration Fees" category from the PRD Product Catalog and change the GL to the appropriate travel reimbursement GL of either 530019 or 530039. Be certain to include in the notes that the reimbursement is related to a UK business trip cancelled due to COVID-19.

Should reimbursement be for a cancelled ticket that combined business with personal travel, then (as with our current policy) a cost comparison for business-only travel must be attached to the PRD and reimbursement will be the lesser of either the actual paid airfare or the cost comparison airfare.

This information is also on the Travel Services website here.

Have any changes been made to the holiday schedule for the 2020-21 academic year?

Yes. Campus staff working on the Labor Day holiday may take the holiday later, up through Dec. 31, 2020, to accommodate the compressed academic calendar necessary for the COVID-19 response.

And we will, for the first time, observe Juneteenth as an annual holiday in commemoration of when the final enslaved Black men and women were freed in 1865. (Juneteenth is on June 19 each year; for UK, we will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18, 2021, because the holiday falls on a weekend).

View a complete list of changes

Health Insurance

Do I have access to telemedicine or online doctors under my UK employee health insurance?

Yes. UK TeleCare and LiveHealth Online are available to our health insurance plan members. This service allows you to connect with a medical professional online. More information is available from UK Human Resources. Through December 31, there is no co-pay for telehealth visits if you have UK health insurance.

Is testing and treatment for COVID-19 covered under my UK employee health insurance?

Yes. If a test is ordered by a health care provider, the testing and related visit are covered with no co-pays or other out-of-pocket costs through December 31. If you are not symptomatic, you can receive a test at no cost from our partners at Wild Health. Learn more about testing here.

Treatment costs are covered according to your health insurance plan, just like any other medical need. Depending on your plan, you may have a co-pay or co-insurance as you would for other medical needs.


I am not currently in the United States. What does this mean for my health insurance coverage if I get sick?

If you are on official UK business outside the United States and have registered that travel with the university's international travel registry prior to departure, you have travel medical insurance. If you are prevented from returning to the United States due to travel restrictions related to COVID-19, your international travel insurance remains fully intact for up to 365 days from when it began (in addition to your UK health insurance plan), as long as you continue conducting UK business while abroad. The international travel insurance is provided to you by UK at no cost. Learn more from the UK International Center.

If you are on personal travel outside the United States, coverage levels vary by the type of plan you are enrolled in. Please contact our HR Benefits team at (859) 257-9555, option 3.


What is changing with UK's matching retirement plan?

UK will now provide a 100% match to your retirement savings. So, you will continue to contribute 5% of your salary, and UK will contribute an equal amount.

Will I still make a 5% mandatory contribution?

Yes, you will continue to make your employee contribution. Only the UK match has changed.

Why is this change happening?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created financial challenges for the University. By temporarily changing the amount the University matches for retirement savings, we can continue to provide a retirement match while also protecting our employees from further cuts, including job losses.

When will this change happen?

The change begins with the first payday after July 1, 2020, and will continue through June 30, 2021.

How long will this change be in place?

This change is temporary for one year, depending upon the financial recovery.

Do I need to take any action for this change to occur?

No, the change will occur automatically beginning July 1 and the funds will continue to be directed to the investments you have currently through TIAA or Fidelity.

Is it possible to still achieve the same retirement savings?

UK's voluntary retirement savings plans provide options for additional retirement savings. If you are in a position to increase your voluntary plan contributions, you can make up some or all of UK’s decreased matching contribution. View more information on enrolling in voluntary retirement savings.

How much can I contribute to a voluntary plan?

The university offers two voluntary plans, voluntary 403(b) and 457(b). The limits for each plan are $19,500 for 2020. If you are age 50 or older, you can save an additional $6,500.

Where can I find additional information?

For other questions, please contact HR Benefits by phone at (859) 257-9519, option 3, toll free at (800) 999-2183 or by email at

Does the retirement match reduction affect all eligible participants, regardless of salary?

Yes. Everyone who participates in any of our matching retirement savings plans will have their employer match reduced from 10% to 5% of their salary.

Low Operational Activity/Administrative No-pay Status FAQs

What does administrative no-pay mean?

Administrative no-pay status is a temporary unpaid leave. Some organizations may also refer to this as a furlough. Employees placed into this leave remain employees of the University and retain some benefits. However, employees are not working during this temporary leave and do not receive pay.  

How long will an administrative no-pay status last?

Each employee will be notified of an intended end date of their administrative no-pay status. The decision to place an employee in the no-pay status is based on how much work is available. Should the work situation change, an employee may be called back to work prior to the anticipated end date. In that event, a supervisor will contact the employee.

Do employees have options to keep getting paid?

Yes. Employees may choose to use available vacation, holiday or bonus day leave or use the new well-being days (deducted from TDL sick leave bank). Employees in an administrative no-pay status will continue to accrue leave time, just as they would if they were in a paid status.

In addition, we have extended the deadline for employees in an administrative no-pay status to convert sick time to additional vacation time. These employees can now convert their sick time until June 30, 2020. Employees must still maintain at least 66 days of sick time in their bank.

Can employees file for unemployment benefits?

We encourage employees placed into an administrative no-pay status to apply for unemployment from the state. The state has certain requirements it uses determine eligibility for unemployment as well as payment amounts.

How does being in administrative no-pay status impact health insurance coverage?

Health insurance coverage will continue through the administrative no-pay status. Employees experiencing a full pay period of administrative no-pay status will have both the employer and employee contribution to health insurance covered for up to 90 calendar days from the beginning of administrative no-pay status.

Can employees continue to use the Employee Education Program or the Family Education Program?

Yes. Employees in an administrative no-pay status still qualify for those programs.