COVID-19 Payroll Tax Deferment
Vanderbilt will not be implementing the payroll tax deferment program included in the August 8 Presidential Memorandum.
The IRS instructions allow but do not require employers delay the collection of payroll taxes such as an employee’s portion of Social Security taxes for individuals earning less than $4,000 pre-tax on a bi-weekly basis until December 31. However, under the current law, those individuals would be responsible for withholding and paying these postponed taxes before May 1, 2021, or be subject to additional charges for interest and penalties.
Vanderbilt will continue to collect and remit all payroll taxes on behalf of all employees in order to avoid potential confusion, undue financial hardships resulting from paying the postponed payroll taxes that will be due in addition to existing payroll taxes, or other complications that might otherwise emerge when employees report and pay their federal income tax for 2020 and 2021.
HR Support for COVID-19 Remote Work
The HR Guide to Supporting Leaders and Staff During COVID-19 is a resource for university leaders as they work to support, manage, and engage with employees during this challenging and sometimes complicated "new normal."
Workshops focused on working and leading in a remote work environment are regularly available through the Employee Learning & Engagement team. Course overviews, session dates, and registration information is available in Oracle Learning.
COVID-19 Remote Work Period - Process for Staff Working Remotely Out of Tennessee
- Staff who wish to work remotely from outside of the State of Tennessee should obtain supervisor and written Vice Chancellor or Dean approval in advance. This provides an opportunity to discuss the duration and expectations for communication and deliverables.
- Because international remote work will require the engagement of external legal counsel to evaluate compliance requirements, staff should assume that such requests are unlikely to be approved.
- If approved by the staff member’s supervisor and Dean or Vice Chancellor, the staff member should complete this form so that HR can be prepared with any employer requirements.
Hiring Remote Student Workers
COVID-19 Related Resources for VU Employees
COVID-19 Leave Bank
Vanderbilt University will provide benefits-eligible staff members access to a one-time bank of up to 2 weeks (up to 80 hours) of pay, for the following instances:
- for staff who are working on-campus are unable to work due to the need to quarantine or to self-isolate and recover from COVID-19
- for staff working remotely who are unable to work because they are symptomatic and have a diagnosis of COVID-19.
Details of eligibility and when the COVID-19 leave bank is available, can be found in the COVID-19 Leave Bank policy. Eligible staff members must provide documentation and/or complete the online attestation in order to use the COVID-19 Leave Bank.
- COVID-19 Leave Bank Attestation Form
- Fax: 615-343-4142
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vanderbilt University Employee COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
Vanderbilt University Employee COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund has been established to support faculty, staff and postdocs who are experiencing significant, temporary financial challenges as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter Phase II+ of Return to Campus, the University recognizes that the current crisis is a hardship to everyone in our community. The fund is in place to help those in need with costs that are occurring because of the COVID-19 crisis. To learn more please visit our Employee COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund page.
Health, Health Insurance and Prescriptions
- Faculty and Staff on VU health insurance who are tested for COVID-19 will not be charged for the test, the university is subsidizing the cost of the test.
- To those identified as having COVID-19, Aetna will send a Healing Better COVID-19 kits the member’s home within 1-3 days of Aetna receiving notification of diagnosis. Members diagnosed with COVID-19 will be identified using inpatient hospitalizations and by self-reports. Note: This could change depending upon the numbers of identified members.
VUMC is working to make telehealth visits available for all VUMC clinicians via My Health at Vanderbilt.
- In cases where telehealth is not available, if patient and clinician agree that timing of the visit is flexible, VUMC will work to adjust appointments accordingly.
- Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN) has several convenience care locations throughout middle TN, visit our VHAN page to see the list of hospitals, walk-in clinics, etc.
- VUMC also has a dedicated hotline to conduct phone screening for those who think they may be exhibiting symptoms associated with the coronavirus – fever, cough, and shortness of breath – (888) 312-0847.
- Navitus, our prescription drug benefit provider, remains committed to serving VU’s employees and has made the following changes to better serve plan participants. Read more
- Use the Vanderbilt Mail Order Pharmacy to save time and keep you safe during the COVID-19 safer at home order. Mail order is an easy way for you to purchase a 90-day supply delivered directly to your door (prescriptions can also be picked up at the Vanderbilt Pharmacy of your choice).
Retirement and Flexible Spending Account Options
- CARES Act Allows Retirement Hardship Withdrawals: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) permits Vanderbilt University to allow qualified COVID-19 coronavirus related distributions available from the Vanderbilt University Retirement Plan.
- CARES Act Distributions Now Available: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) permits Vanderbilt University to allow qualified Penalty-Free Distributions and changes to participant loan provisions and repayment requirements.
- IRS allows Dependent Care FSA changes. Due to COVID-19, the IRS is allowing employees who face changes in their dependent care situation to qualify as a “change in status.” Therefore, employees may increase, decrease or stop funds from being deposited into a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA).
- IRS allows Health Care FSA changes: Due to COVID-19, the IRS is allowing employees who face changes in their medical care situation to qualify as a "change in status". Therefore, employees may increase, decrease or stop funds from being deposited into a Heath Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA).
Short and Long Term Disability
- As a reminder, employees may make changes to their short and long term disability plans at any time during the plan year. If an employee did not elect the buy-up option for their disability plan, they may do so now by going to their My VU Benefits (enrollment site) and selecting the Life Event option. Once there, employees may elect to change their short or long term disability coverage.
- Employees who elect the buy-up coverage outside of their new hire enrollment period will be required to complete an Evidence of Insurability form to determine eligibility for coverage.
Well-being and Family Resources
- EAP continues to be a resource to staff https://www.vumc.org/health-wellness/worklife-connections-employee-assistance-program.
- Work/Life Connections-EAP ConnectCARE now offers teleconsulting sessions via phone or ZOOM Telehealth videoconferencing, which is an encrypted platform that is completely confidential.
- VCFC Family Resources to Manage New Routines Related to COVID-19
- Resources for Living® (RFL), Aetna’s employee assistance program. Access to Aetna's RFL Toolkit online, which includes guides and articles as well as live webinars, infographics and expert resources on key topics like managing stress, resources for basic needs, helping young children cope and managing grief and loss. Real-time phone support to help callers cope with the emotional impact of the pandemic (accessible by calling 1-833-327-AETNA or 1-833-327-2386).