Finance COVID-19 FAQ

Guidelines for Payroll 

As noted in the email from Shari Stier on Monday, March 30, 2020, temporary remote work will continue indefinitely.  Employees with regularly scheduled hours will continue to be paid for working during the “Work Anywhere” period.  Those paid on the weekly pay cycle should continue to submit their hours worked by end of day on Friday but no later than noon on the following Monday.  Supervisors must approve these hours no later than Monday at noon in order for pay to be processed for their employees.  There is no change to the semi-monthly process for employees or their supervisors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- Should I use a different code “type” when entering my hours while I’m working from home?

A- No, please use “regular” hours. 


Q- I am an hourly employee.  If I don’t enter my hours, will I get paid? 

A- You must enter your hours worked and your supervisor must approve them before Payroll can pay you. 


Q- I don’t have a computer at home to submit my hours or approve hours.  What do I do?                                                                                        

A- Download the Workday App on your phone.  Here are the instructions:

 Once you have the app on your phone, you can log in and enter or approve hours. 


Q- I don’t have direct deposit.  What should I do? 

A- Direct deposit is a condition of employment. If you do not have a bank account, you will be mailed a printed check for monies owed to you.  Checks will be printed and mailed on Friday.   However, in the event Payroll is denied access to our specialized check printer due to circumstances beyond their control, you will be contacted via email by Payroll for alternative electronic options.  We strongly encourage you to log into Workday and set up direct deposit as soon as possible.  Here is the link to the job aid:


Q- My student worker will be working.  Are they going to get paid? 

A- Yes.  Hours should be submitted on Workday and approved no later than Monday at noon. 


Q- What if my student is working in a new job and has no timesheet in Workday? 

A- Assuming there is an issue with the student’s record, you will need to work with Student Employment to ensure all necessary on boarding steps are complete.  A timesheet will not be available to an employee if their I-9 process is incomplete.  An incomplete I-9 will prevent Payroll from paying a person. 

Guidelines for Purchasing and Accounts Payable

 To ensure all new spending directly supports critical academic, health, housing, facilities, and safety endeavors:

  • All new purchase requests, regardless of the source, are being routed to procurement in Workday for review prior to the order going to the supplier - even supply purchases. If it is deemed this purchase can be delayed until on campus work resumes, Procurement will not send it to the supplier.  Procurement will notify the requisitioner accordingly.
  • Expenses incurred during the “Work Anywhere” period submitted to Accounts Payable on Expense Reports that do not directly support critical academic, health, housing, facilities and safety endeavors will be reviewed.

Frequently asked Questions


Q- Is the College tracking COVID-19 related expenses?

A- Yes, everyone should use these worktags for extraordinary and non-routine costs, including Pcard activity, specific to COVID-19. All other purchases that are part of normal department activity should be charged to your cost center.

Project GI0007 - COVID-19 Coronavirus Costs

Fund FD001 - Operations

Cost Center 800010 - General Institution

Program PGXXX - (Driven by function of expense)

Spend Category - SCXXXXX - (Driven by category of expense)

Location - LXXX - (If Required, driven by campus location of expense)

When submitting your invoice/requisition/expense report in Workday, please also upload a completed COVID-19 Justification of Use form linked below with the transaction: 


Q- What are some examples of extraordinary and non-routine costs that should go on the COVID-19 worktags?

A- This list is not all inclusive but represents the types of costs that should be tracked separately whether on your pcard or other form of purchase/payment. Please note, costs determined to be routine by Budget, Accounting and Procurement will be moved to your cost center.

  1. Cancellation or rebooking fees for travel. (See travel FAQs below)
  2. PPE such as hand sanitizer, masks, or extra cleaning supplies generally purchased by Facilities
  3. Purchased services such as additional security, temps or consultant costs to support emergency response
  4. For any direct needs that students might have, please reach out to your VP or the appropriate student services unit for guidance before initiating transactions.
  5. For any health or safety needs, please reach out to ECPD and/or the Center for Health and Wellness before initiating purchases.

Q- What is an example of unnecessary spending?

A- For example, ordering supplies from W.B. Mason (e.g. coffee, pens, cleaning supplies, etc.) or other office equipment such as a laptop are examples of costs that could be deferred until offices reopen. Laptops are generally purchased by the college under an approved computer refreshment program. However, if you need some supplies before you return to campus, or your Emerson laptop is not functioning, please get written approval from your supervisor and include the email with your receipts. Finance is auditing pcard activity and will reach out if they see purchases that may appear questionable while people are working from home.


Q- If I can’t buy home office equipment, am I able to bring my office monitor or keyboard home to make my work from home more productive? 

 A- Yes.  The department manager is responsible to assess the need, to keep an inventory list of office equipment brought home and to replace damaged or missing items using department funds.


Q- I have a big project coming up and need to start to conduct an RFP to hire a vendor.  Is Procurement available to work with me during this period? 

 A- Yes.  The Procurement staff will continue to facilitate RFPs however the process may take longer due to health and availability of the bidders and the internal Emerson stakeholders.


Q- I need to request a Pcard or have my Pcard limit increased. What do I need to do? 

 A- If you are not on the Emergency Response teams, we ask that you wait until offices reopen.  If your need is critical, please submit a written justification in Zendesk, approved by your VP.  Procurement will review all requests with the VP of Administration and Finance for final approval.  


Q- How will invoices be paid? 

 A- Accounts Payable will continue processing invoices submitted through Workday.  However, check production may be delayed unless payment to the vendor is critical to supporting the academic, health, housing, facilities and safety priorities. This is consistent with the College’s payment terms (Net 60 unless otherwise noted). 


Q- My vendor/consultant called and asked if we can pay them early? What do I do?

 A- Please refer them to Accounts Payable.  In general, while the College understands and appreciates their desire to be paid early, the College is following the contract terms and/or our standard payment terms of net 60 unless otherwise noted.


Q- Will I still get reimbursed for any expenses incurred prior to the “Work Anywhere” period?

 A- Yes. If you submit an expense report, and it has been approved by your cost center approver by the weekly Wednesday cutoff, you will receive your reimbursement via direct deposit on Friday. 


Q- Will I be reimbursed for the cost of my home internet or cell phone while working from home? 

 A- Home-based internet access and/or data plan expenses are generally considered a personal expense not covered by the College.  However, there are circumstances in which the service is essential to the employee's job duties. Any non-standard charges may be reimbursable but must be justified and approved in writing by the individual’s relevant Dean or Vice President before submitting your expense reimbursement.  Please attach a copy of the email approval to your expense report in Workday.  


Q- What if I must book travel for myself or someone else during the “Work Anywhere” period?

 A- You may book the trip, including hotels, using the College’s travel program and online booking tool which went live in February, 2019.  We prefer departments use the online booking tool rather than other websites in order to track travel costs and potential future credits/vouchers during this period. Please contact Procurement by submitting a ticket in Zendesk for information and a login ID if you have not already been using the tool or our preferred travel agent, The Travel Collaborative. 


Q- The conference I was attending has been postponed.  How do I change my flights and other reservations?

A - For bookings through Concur or The Travel Collaborative, call 617-503-8303 or email your request to  If you used another travel agent or worked with the providers directly, please work directly with them.  You should request refunds for all expenses paid.  Contact conference/event organizers for registration and deposit refunds.  Contact hotels for deposit refunds.  Contact the airline for airfare credit or refund.  Please be aware that vouchers or credits provided to you whether or not a pcard was used, belong to Emerson College and should only be used in the future for Emerson College business.

Q- Can I get my money back if I cancel a flight myself?

A- At this time, it doesn’t appear as if airlines are issuing direct refunds if you need to cancel, unless you purchased a refundable ticket. If you decide to cancel an upcoming flight because of coronavirus fears, many U.S. carriers will allow you to rebook your flight at a later date without paying a change fee.  Check with your individual airline.

Q-  If I decide not to fly, will travel insurance cover it?

A- According to AAA, travel insurance usually doesn’t include epidemics, and coverage options can vary. You may have some protection if you booked your travel before the coronavirus was recognized as an epidemic (Feb. 3), especially if you booked “cancel anytime” or “cancel for any reason” insurance. (Note: Travel insurance is a personal cost per the College Travel and Business Expense policy, and not reimbursable.)

Q- The airline canceled my flight and is not offering my money back. What can I do?

A- The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has laid out strict rules regarding flight cancellations.   “If your flight is canceled and you choose to cancel your trip as a result, you are entitled to a refund for the unused transportation — even for non-refundable tickets,” according to the agency.  However, if the airline refuses:

  1. Keep pressing your casewith airline representatives, over the phone (late night is best for lower call volume) or via social media, and cite the DOT policies. Please be polite and respectful, not angry and rude. Customer service representatives have been overwhelmed by the crisis. 
  2. Document everything. Provide dates, times, flight numbers and reservation numbers.  Always record names, titles, times and dates of all in-person and phone conversations.
  3. File a complaintwith the airline and copy the DOT and the EU if applicable. 
  4. Contact your credit card company for potential help.

Q- Can I get refunds on other transportation like Greyhound and Amtrak?

A- You’ll have to check with them, but most other forms of transportation seem to be in line with the airline policies. Check with your transportation provider. Some may waive change fees and/or issue vouchers.


Q- I could not get a cash or credit card refund and I paid out of my own pocket.  Can I be reimbursed for conference and travel expenses for canceled events?

A- Check with your supervisor to determine if your reimbursement is subject to more strict guidance before submitting your expense report.  As noted    previously, please be aware that vouchers or credits provided to you whether or not a pcard was used belong to Emerson College and should only be used in the future for Emerson College business.  Every effort should be made to request refunds prior to submitting expense reimbursements, particularly when the conference/event has already been canceled or likely will be canceled. If they will not provide a refund, please be sure to keep documentation of the travel provider’s refusal (email, date/time of call etc.). Please send an email to your immediate supervisor and relevant Dean or VP stating the following:

    • The travel provider will only issue a credit not cash as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • If subsequently the credit is used prior to expiration, it will be used for Emerson College business and the traveler will not seek additional reimbursement.

The approval email from your Dean or VP and documentation of the travel provider’s refusal (email, date/time of call etc.), is required as part of the documentation on your expense reimbursement before it may be processed.  Supervisors are expected to monitor future expense reports to ensure individual costs submitted for travel reimbursements are not inadvertently duplicated.  (Please note, conference and travel expenses associated with grant/sponsored project funding can only be charged if these benefited the grant, and reimbursement may need to be made from college funds.)

Q- How will I contact Procurement or Accounts Payable?  

A- Please continue submitting a ticket to Zendesk. The staff is working and will respond within 24 hours. Email or  

Q – I take public transportation to work. Will I be reimbursed for mileage and parking if I drive to work during the work from anywhere period?

A- Please refer to the College Travel and Business Expense Policy.   In general, expenses for travel (mileage) between an employee's residence and the College (i.e., commuting expense) shall not be reimbursed. However, there are instances where an employee may be reimbursed for partial or full mileage from their residence to a temporary location per IRS regulations. Please refer to the policy for those examples.

If you are required to be on campus during the work anywhere period, you will be reimbursed for your parking.  


Guidelines for Business Intelligence

Q- I am having difficulty running a report. What do I do?

A- Please submit a ticket to Business Intelligence in Zendesk.


Q- I need help with my Workday security access.  Who do I contact? 

A- Please submit a ticket to Business Intelligence in Zendesk.



Guidelines for Departmental Deposits and Cashier’s Hours


Q- Will Cashier’s Office Hours be held?

 A- No. Cashier’s Office Hours will be suspended until the campus reopens.


Q- How do I deposit checks my department has received?

 A- Please mail checks to:

 Emerson College Attn: Controller

120 Boylston Street

Boston, MA 02116


If you are mailing a check, please do one of the following:

  1. Include a printed, completed version of the Departmental Deposit Form (

Or the SGA Deposit Form (

  1. Email an excel copy of the form to

Checks will be deposited weekly.  If you have questions regarding the status of your deposit, please contact

If you have additional questions for the Controller’s Office, Budget or Treasury/Risk Management, please email them to the following addresses:


Controller’s Office:








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