New Enhancements To RIT Benefits Due to COVID-19

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to share with you some new enhancements to RIT benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please carefully review the following information. If you have any questions, please email the benefits team at    

Vacation Carry-Over

Our senior leaders understand that many employees cancelled or postponed vacation plans due to COVID-19. As a result, we are suspending our current policy that only allows one half of the year’s earned vacation to be carried over into the following year. Therefore, any remaining vacation balances as of June 30, 2020 will automatically carry over to FY2021. This change applies to both non-exempt and exempt employees. 

Please note: This is a one-time only change. Exempt staff and 12-month faculty need to enter all vacation time that has already been taken in Oracle Employee Self-Service. Non-exempt staff should continue to record any vacation time taken in the Kronos timekeeping system.

If you have questions or concerns, please email  

Health Insurance (Excellus BlueCross BlueShield)

  • RIT health insurance will cover the following at no cost to plan participants; this means zero copays, coinsurance, and/or deductibles for the following:
    • Medically necessary diagnostic tests that are consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance related to COVID-19.
    • In-network or out-of-network provider office visits (if an in-network provider is not available), in-network urgent care visits, and emergency room visits resulting in testing for COVID-19.  
    • Required prior authorizations will be waived for diagnostic tests and for covered services that are medically necessary and consistent with CDC guidance for members diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • All telemedicine visits through MD Live will be covered in full, whether COVID-19 related or not.

Please contact Excellus BlueCross BlueShield at 877-253-4797 or 585-454-2845 (TTY) for questions regarding specific health insurance benefits.

Prescription Drug Plan (OptumRx)

The following temporary changes are in place for plan participants:

  • Restrictions on refilling a prescription too soon have been lifted.
  • OptumRx will automatically extend existing prior authorization approvals for most chronic medications set to expire prior to May 1, 2020 for an additional 90 days.
  • Prior authorization requirements for medications that are newly prescribed will remain in place.
  • Please visit the OptumRx FAQS for Members on the HR website for more information.

Please contact OptumRx at 855- 209-1300 for questions regarding specific prescription drug plan benefits.

Paid Sick Leave resulting from a Self-Quarantine or Isolation Order

If you are subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of self-quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any government entity that is authorized to issue an order due to COVID-19 (“Order”), you will be provided with up to two weeks paid sick leave based on your scheduled weekly hours during the period of the Order. This paid sick leave is provided in addition to your normal accrued sick/personal time for nonexempt employees; eligibility is subject to the following: 

  • Employees subject to an Order are not eligible for paid sick leave under this provision if they are:
    • (1) without symptoms or yet to be diagnosed with any medical condition, and
    • (2) able to work remotely.
  • Employees subject to an Order are not eligible for paid sick leave under this provision if:
    • (1) they returned from traveling to a country for which the CDC has issued a level two or level three travel health notice;
    • (2) that travel was not taken as part of the employee’s employment or at the direction of RIT; and
    • (3) the employee was aware of this limitation prior to travel.

We have created a special section on the HR website that includes this information for your convenience. We will keep the community informed if any additional updates occur. Please continue to follow the CDC guidance to keep yourself and your families healthy.

Finally, please remember that our EAP services are available to employees and their families.  Information related to EAP can be found at Employee Assistance Program.

Thank you,

Judy E. Bender
Associate Vice President, Human Resources