NYSCASA is encouraging staff and colleagues to conduct business remotely whenever possible. We strongly advise programs to review and update your existing human resources policies to ensure they address telework, remote work, and/or administrative leave.
Can grant funds be used to pay staff if they are teleworking?
Staff may be paid with grant funds while teleworking if your organization has an established policy in place allowing staff to telework or work remotely. (US DOJ/OVW)
Can we use grant funds to pay staff if they take leave?
Programs should continue to use their current leave policies and pay staff accordingly. (US DOJ/OVW)
Can grant funds be used to pay staff if they are unable to telework because of the kind of work they normally perform?
Organizations should consider other related work that could be performed remotely, such as program planning, professional development and remote training opportunities, catching up on administrative work, internal capacity building, performance reviews, etc. (US DOJ/OVW)
Can grant funds be used to pay staff who are on administrative leave?
Staff may be paid with grant funds while on administrative leave if your organization has an established policy administrative leave policy in place. We recommend that you establish a policy addressing administrative leave, including administrative leave in the case of unexpected or extraordinary circumstances. (US DOJ/OVW)
What are some tips for operating as a remote workplace during COVID-19?
The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net project has some tips:
- Consider what services can be done remotely with web chat, video calls, or phone calls.
- Use tools that allow staff and advocates to work from home. This includes tools that allow staff and volunteers to communicate with each other (e.g. calls, instant messaging, video chat), and tools for sharing information while maintaining confidentiality (e.g. secure file sharing).
- Here is a list of tools that programs might consider for communicating with survivors remotely that meet current best practice standards: https://www.techsafety.org/remote-work-public-health-crisis
- We recommend offering program-owned devices and accounts, which allows for better staff management across shifts and can increase privacy and safety. The US DOJ/OVW will allow grantees to charge costs of providing telework equipment to employees working on the grant to their OVW grant.
- Remember that survivor safety and privacy is important. Consider best practices for mobile advocacy to ensure that we can protect survivor safety and privacy.
Is there guidance around HIPAA and confidentiality?
The US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights announced that health care providers will not be subject to penalties for violations of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules that occur in the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.
Keep in mind that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) contain strong confidentiality provisions. These provisions apply to all grantees and subgrantees funded by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). Most rape crisis programs receive VAWA and FVPSA funding through Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grants and must continue to adhere to these provisions.
- Resource Sharing Project guidance and sample policies:
- National Network to End Domestic Violence guidance: