Leave Programs & Work Arrangements
Due to COVID-19
HR Q&A Town Hall: Recorded Session
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), employees are entitled to two weeks of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) when unable to work or telework because of a Qualifying Reason.
An employee has a Qualifying Reason when the employee is:
- subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19,
- advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19,
- experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis,
- caring for an individual subject to an order described in paragraph (1) above, or self-quarantine as described in paragraph (2),
- caring for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, or
- experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Nine-month faculty who do not accrue personal leave under the University’s existing policies and temporary employees who do not otherwise accrue leave are eligible for EPSL under the FFCRA.
Employees may elect to use their accrued leave before seeking EPSL, but are not required to do so.
Expanded Family and Medical Leave
Qualifying employees may be eligible for up to 480 hours of expanded family and medical leave (“FMLA+”), if unable to work or telework because they must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
The first two weeks of FMLA+ are unpaid, unless the employee elects to use accrued personal leave or EPSL, if available. For the remaining ten weeks of FMLA+, the employee will be paid at 100% of their regular rate of pay for the hours the employee would have worked over the ten weeks FMLA+ may be used for twelve consecutive weeks or intermittently.
EPSL and FMLA+ Leave Requests and Disclosures
EPSL and FMLA+ are only available through December 31, 2020, whether or not an employee elects to exhaust the leave by that time. EPSL and FMLA+ do not rollover from one year to the next. Employees are not entitled to reimbursement for unused EPSL or FMLA+ upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.
Employees must be employed for thirty (30) calendar days to be eligible for FMLA+.
When requesting EPSL or FMLA+, employees must provide the following information:
- the employee’s name
- the date(s) for which the employee requests leave
- the Qualifying Reason(s) for the leave, and
- a statement that the employee is unable to work or telework because of the Qualifying Reason.
If an employee seeks EPSL because of a quarantine or isolation order or to care for an individual subject to such an order, the employee should additionally provide the name of the government entity that issued the order. If an employee seeks EPSL to self-quarantine based on the advice of a health care provider or to care for an individual who is self-quarantining based on such advice, the employee should also provide the name of the health care provider who gave advice.
If an employee seeks EPSL to care for the employee’s child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, the employee must also provide:
- the child’s name
- the name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and
- a statement that no other suitable person is available to care for the child.
HR Q&A Town Hall: Recorded Session
Returning to Work
The University continues to encourage telecommuting in the wake of COVID-19. Employees who can perform their job responsibilities remotely may continue to do so, provided they have their supervisor’s prior approval. The requirements and continuity of University operations may not allow for telecommuting in certain instances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has specified that persons 65 years old or older and individuals with certain serious underlying health conditions (e.g., high blood pressure, heart conditions, chronic lung disease, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and the immunocompromised) may be at a higher risk for severe illness if exposed to COVID-19. Employees with one or more of these health conditions or another condition or disability that puts them at higher risk should contact Human Resources, 662-915-7431, to discuss telecommuting and other reasonable options.
Reluctance to Return to Campus
Employees who express reluctance or apprehension about returning to campus because of potential exposure to COVID-19, but otherwise have no underlying health condition that puts them at increased risk, and have none of the six Qualifying Reasons specified above, are not eligible for EPSL, FMLA+, or paid Administrative Leave. In such cases, the employees may use their accrued leave or other available leave, in accordance with the terms of applicable University policy. Employees are also encouraged to contact Human Resources, 662-915-7431, with specific questions regarding the applicability of the ADA or FMLA to their individual circumstances.
 A “child” for the purposes of the FFCRA is the employee’s biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom the employee stands in loco parentis, i.e., the employee is responsible for the child’s day-to-day responsibility and financial support.
Human Resources, email@example.com, is available to assist with additional questions.