Letter to Employees

New Mexico Tech

Recommended Responses to Influenza for 2009-2010

As you know, flu can be spread easily from person to person. Therefore, we are taking steps to minimize the impact of flu at New Mexico Tech for as long as possible, but, we need your help to accomplish this.

The Emergency Response Team is working closely with the state health department and the CDC to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our institution. We will keep you – the campus community – updated with new information as it becomes available.

Best Practices

Know the symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1)

  • Fever (greater than 100 degrees), chills
  • Sore throat, headache, cough
  • Body aches, fatigue
  • Possible diarrhea and vomiting

Hygiene Reminders

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Use hand sanitizer regularly.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • If you feel sick, visit your health care providers. Tech is trying to obtain enough H1N1 flu vaccinations to inoculate all employees.
  • Know your risk factor: High-risk groups include pregnant women, people 25 years old and younger and people with prior medical conditions.

New Mexico Tech Policies

Time off When the Campus Remains Open – Staff (Exempt and Non-Exempt)

Employees not reporting to work as a result of influenza or influenza symptoms are considered excused absences. Employees will be required to use available sick leave, then annual leave and/or personal leave for the duration of their absence. Additional leave taken will be considered leave without pay.

Employees who are off work to care for a spouse, or dependent child should use available annual leave for the duration of their absence. If the employee exhausts his/her available annual leave the employee will be placed on leave without pay status for the duration of the leave.

Time Off and Pay When the Campus is Closed

Staff (Exempt and Non-Exempt)

  • If the entire campus is closed, staff who are scheduled to work, but not required to work, during the time the campus is closed will use accrued annual leave for half the time off and will be on paid leave for half the time off (similar to the Christmas Break).
  • Staff who were not scheduled to work or were not at work because of vacation, holiday, sick, funeral, or leave of any type whether paid or unpaid, will continue in that status and their absence will be coded according to the particular reason for the absence.
  • Employees will not be required to provide medical documentation to return to work after three consecutive days of absence if they or a family member had influenza. Doctors’ offices may be very busy and may not be able to provide documentation in a timely way.    
  • Telephone or email contact with supervisors should be made on a daily basis during the period of absence. 
  • If an employee’s absence is 10 work days or longer a medical certification will be required, as consistent with the Institute’s Sick Leave Policy. 
  • FMLA is not required for employees with flu-like illnesses or if employees are caring for family members with flu-like illnesses.  FMLA will still be available for all other illnesses per NMT policy.
  • For other medical conditions the Institute will continue to operate under the existing three day policy.

Employees Sent Home Due to Influenza

The Institute may deem it necessary to send an employee home if the employee exhibits any of the symptoms of H1N1 influenza.  These will be considered excused absences and the employee will use accrued sick and annual leave during this time period.  If employee leave is exhausted, the time away from work will be leave without pay. 

Regular full or part-time employees may request an advance in sick leave for up to 5 days depending on employee FTE. This time period will be reimbursed to the Institute once the employee returns to work and accrues leave.  Time sheets and leave forms should reflect the advance leave due to influenza and supervisors will sign and submit forms to Payroll Department.

Division/Department Compressed Work Week, Flexible Schedules Staffing Patterns

  • FMLA is not required for employees with flu-like illnesses or if employees are caring for family members with flu-like illnesses.  FMLA will still be available for all other illnesses per NMT policy. 
  • In order for critical jobs to be performed during an influenza outbreak, employees can be reassigned to perform different duties within the Institute during a significant influenza outbreak.    
  • Vacation requests might be denied if there is a staff shortage due to illnesses within a department.

Contingency Plans

  • Each division/department should have a plan in place to ensure that critical functions can still be performed during this period. Compressed work week, flexible scheduling, and alternative staffing patterns should be developed in advance. Department plans should be on file with the vice president of each division.
  • Compressed Work Week – fixed work schedules that allow an employee to complete the 80 hour bi-weekly work requirement in less than 10 work days.
  • Flexible Work Schedules – Work arrival and departure times and days off are established between employee and supervisor with approval from division head as needed.

Thank You,


Lonnie Marquez

Chairman, Emergency Response Team, and Vice President of Finance