COVID-19 mental health
supports and services
COVID-19 has created stress and anxiety for many people. To
help, Medavie Blue Cross has launched a new section on its website at medaviebc.ca/mentalhealth that provides an overview of the
mental health resources available to plan members. This section makes it easy
for members to assess the support that is most appropriate for them, and link
through to start using them. Medavie Blue Cross has also sponsored a free
digital program developed by BEACON called Stronger Minds.
Stronger Minds provides expert mental health guidance for the emotional
wellbeing of anyone needing support as well as access to videos, quick reads
and resilience-building activities. Stronger Minds can be accessed by Medavie
Blue Cross members via the above link. Also, Health Canada has launched a
portal called Wellness
Together Canada. This portal, dedicated to mental wellness, provides
free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and
qualified mental health professionals.
Ability to work from home
Further to previous messaging from the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) regarding the ramping up of remote work, managers should now be engaging with all staff to determine work that can be completed remotely. While the university has placed an emphasis on critical functions in the short term, units are encouraged to use this time to engage all staff wherever feasible. In some instances, work performed from home may look similar to the work performed during regular operations. In other instances, work performed remotely may look different as units undertake new projects, respond to emerging issues or conduct planning during this period. If you require additional supports such as a remote desktop, please consult the technology for working remotely webpage.
Employees are also encouraged to consult Memorial's COVID-19 website. This site includes helpful information, such as details related to privacy considerations while at home, FAQs and contact information for Memorial's Employee Assistance Program.
Annual and excess leave
Whether working from home or on campus, employees should still take breaks during the work day and, when needed, take time off by scheduling paid leave. Staff are encouraged to use their annual leave, whether it is a day or a block of time, to give them an opportunity to disconnect from the work environment. By doing this, staff can have dedicated time to themselves during which they would not be expected to handle work requirements that may arise. Leave management forms are available in the my.mun.ca portal under the forms section of the "Employees" tab.
A number of employees were unable to use their excess leave hours as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Decisions regarding excess leave will be held until the university resumes normal operations. For now, excess leave has carried forward into the current fiscal year.
Depending on the requirements over the upcoming weeks/months, staff may be redeployed to provide assistance with a number of emerging and evolving issues.
Ergonomics and wellness support
It is important for employees to take care of both their physical and emotional well-being, especially during these uncertain times. To help employees, the Ergonomics and Wellness Programs are offering support.
The Ergonomics Program is now offering remote ergonomic assessments to help employees set up their workstations at home. Information on this initiative along with ergonomics tips, stretching exercises, FAQs and more has been placed on the Human Resources website at https://www.mun.ca/hr/services/wellness/remoteworkstations.php.
Also, the Employee Wellness Program has added a COVID-19 wellness resources page to the website. This page, accessible at https://www.mun.ca/hr/services/wellness/wellnessresources.php, includes links to webinars, video tutorials of mindfulness activities and a listing of community resources. Additional information will be added regarding various health related subjects on a go forward basis. Employee Wellness is also continuing to remotely support participants in the Health Improvement Program (HIP).
Memorial's travel health insurance provider, SSQ Insurance, has provided updated information related to the COVID-19 pandemic that affects coverage retroactive to April 6, 2020. An important change relates to non-essential workers. Effective April 6, 2020, expenses related to COVID-19 for non-essential workers are not covered under the emergency travel health policy for travel that occurs within Canada or internationally on or after April 6, 2020. For travel that commenced prior to April 6, 2020 and where individuals have remained outside their province of residence since that time, SSQ will provide coverage for COVID-19 related expenses, including quarantine, as per the terms of the emergency travel health policy. To access this information in full, including the SSQ definition of essential workers, please click here.
Diversity and inclusion webinars
Members of the Memorial University community can avail themselves of free diversity and inclusion webinars offered by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion until the end of May. To access the next sessions and to register, please click on the following links. On May 7, there will be a webinar titled The History of Indigenous Peoples in Canada . On May 21, there will be webinar titled Allyship: Your Role in Supporting Minorities. When registering, you will need to click "Please click here to register as an Employer Partner" and then indicate that you are an invited guest and that you were invited by Tina Hickey. For more information, please contact Tina Hickey, employment equity officer, Department of Human Resources.