Employees asked to log their COVID-19 efforts

Employee time spent on implementation of emergency protective measures during Iowa State's COVID-19 response may provide the university an avenue for recovering costs. Administrators developed an online form for employees to track related efforts.

Employees with questions about effort reporting or the Smartsheet form can contact Bonnie Whalen, whalen@iastate.edu.

"Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal, state and local funding sources, the university has the opportunity to apply for and request funds that could help mitigate the fiscal challenges caused by the COVID-19 response," said Bonnie Whalen, associate vice president for financial strategy in the operations and finance division.

In an April 10 memo to university leaders, Whalen outlined eligible work activities, including:

  • Meetings, projects and scheduling for the emergency operations center 
  • Emergency medical care, including services, supplies and transport
  • Specific training related to COVID-19 response, such as cleaning methods
  • Public facility maintenance, specifically disinfection and cleaning
  • Time logged to move supplies and personnel to alternate locations
  • Security and law enforcement
  • Communications and information related to public health and safety
  • Containment, for example recall of Study Abroad students
  • Online course conversion (but not instruction)

She said an "other" category is provided for activities that don't fall within the nine listed on the form. Employees who use this category should include a description of those activities.

Monthly reports

Effort tracking should be completed via an online report form -- one report per employee, per month -- for salaried and hourly employees who performed eligible work. Whalen said the form can be submitted monthly or completed once with total effort broken down by month. Supervisors who choose to submit reports on behalf of merit staff should collaborate with Workday timekeepers to provide system documentation.

"The online form is intended to be simple and take very little time to update. There are two to three simple boxes to complete after entering your name, email, appointment type and department," Whalen said.

Effort tracking is retroactive to Jan. 20, so some employees may need to report eligible activities that stretch back over previous months. Whalen said the effort tracking will continue throughout the pandemic emergency. Employees who submit reports will receive email reminders to complete the form for future months. 

Individual reports will be reviewed to determine eligibility of the activities. Salaried employees can report from 1% to 100% of their time. Hourly employees have a 10-minute reporting minimum and can log overtime and compensatory time in their reports. Links to effort reporting instructions in the memo and the online Smartsheet form are available on the operations and finance website.

"The COVID-19 financial team is casting a wide net in capturing as many related costs as possible, realizing that the institution may not be reimbursed or receive funding to mitigate all reported costs and effort," Whalen said. "It is important to centrally identify these impacts and work through all opportunities available to the institution."