- What types of emergency leave are available to faculty and staff?
- Under circumstances outlined in these FAQs, both state and federal leave are available to faculty and staff whose ability to work is impacted by COVID-19. Available hours may be used continuously or intermittently.
- Review the emergency leave guide (PDF) for a side-by-side look at leave information.
Number of hours
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Federal emergency leave
Effective April 1, 2020
80 hours at full pay applies to hourly, wage, part-time salaried, and full-time salaried employees that are quarantined or ill with COVID-19 or have been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine. Part-time employees are eligible for the number of hours of leave that the employee works on average over a two-week period. Prorated pay based on average work hours. Max of $511 per day, if full pay is greater.
80 hours at ⅔ pay for care of ill or quarantined household member or child whose school/daycare is closed due to COVID-19. Max of $200 per day, if full pay is greater.
- If you have applied for unemployment, you are not eligible for FFCRA.
Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL)
State emergency leave
Effective March 2020
- Up to 80 hours for full-time employees.
- Prorated amount for part-time employees.
- If you have applied for unemployment, you are not eligible for PHEL.
FFCRA - Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFML)
Effective April 1, 2020
- 10 weeks at ⅔ pay to care for a child whose school/daycare is closed due to COVID-19. Max of $200 per day for 10 weeks. $10,000 total, if full pay is greater. Other paid leave may be charged during the unpaid two (2) weeks in order to continue pay.
- Part-time employees are eligible for leave for the number of hours that the employee is normally scheduled to work over that time period.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – Federal emergency leave
The federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1, 2020, which includes the allocation of emergency sick leave for employees who cannot work as a result of COVID-19. Please review the FFCRA notification and the Department of Labor FFCRA FAQ list. VCU is still mapping out processes and procedures for FFCRA leave. More information will be posted soon.
- Are some employees ineligible for the emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave?
- Due to the critical work supporting efforts to manage the pandemic and related operations, VCU is not required to provide emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to health care providers and emergency responders. Management will review any requests on a case-by-case basis. If you have applied for unemployment, you are not eligible for FFCRA.
- Who is considered to be an emergency responder under the FFCRA?
- For the purposes of employees who may be excluded from emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, an emergency responder is an employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility.
- What leave code in RealTime do I use for FFCRA?
- Code 73: FFCRA Care of Self
- Code 74: FFCRA Care of Household Member
- Code 75: FFCRA Short-term Childcare
- Code 76: FFCRA Long-term Childcare
- Who do I contact if I need to use this leave?
- Your manager is your first point of contact. The employee may initiate the FFCRA forms, located in DocuSign.
- What documentation do I need for FFCRA emergency sick leave?
- Employees should consult with their managers about their need to use FFCRA emergency sick leave and should provide information and documentation regarding their need to take FFCRA emergency sick leave to the HR professional. Managers should be understanding if an employee is unable to immediately provide a doctor’s diagnosis, proof of illness or other reason for being out of work, but managers should request and employees should be expected to produce information and documentation about their illness, diagnosis or other reason for being out of work as a result of this public health emergency within a reasonable period of time (about 15 calendar days) after the public health emergency has passed.
- Use of the up to 2 weeks of Emergency Sick Leave and 10 weeks of Emergency Family & Medical Leave to care for a child whose school/daycare is physically closed requires documentation that the school/daycare is closed or operating virtually.
- Should I use up my own leave before using FFCRA to home school my children? Will I lose it in January otherwise?
- For University and Academic Professionals covered by the Great Place HR Policy, the university leave carryover limit will not be applied at the end of the 2020 leave year on January 9, 2021. This means that university leave balances will not be subject to the carryover limit until the end of the 2021 leave year on January 9, 2022. There are no changes to the payout maximums for university leave.
- Faculty Annual Leave accrued by 12-month faculty also will not be subject to the carryover limit until the end of the 2021 leave year on January 9, 2022. There are no changes to the payout maximum for faculty annual leave.
- Annual leave accrued by classified employees remains subject to DHRM policy and the carryover limit will be applied on January 9, 2021.
- Can I use my own university leave to supplement the ⅔ (up to $200/day) pay that I will receive for the leave that allows me to remain home with my child whose daycare/school has physically closed due to COVID-19 orders?
- Yes. You may use university leave or annual leave to supplement the first 80 hours (2 weeks of up to $1000 of emergency sick leave. If you request the additional 10 weeks (up to $1000/week) of emergency sick leave, you must supplement the emergency sick leave with your own university or annual leave. For example, if you work full-time, you will charge 8.00 hours to FFCRA leave in RealTime and 1 hour to your own leave balance each day, for a total of 9.00 hours. The system will then make the adjustments based on FFCRA codes used.
- I’d like to take the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for 12 weeks in order to homeschool my children whose schools are physically closed. ⅔ of my daily pay is greater than $200; may I still take the leave? How much of my own leave will I need to use each week if I want to receive my full paycheck?
- If you would like to take the 12 weeks of paid sick leave to care for or homeschool your children whose daycare or schools are closed, you may supplement the ⅔ daily pay with your own leave for the first 2 weeks (up to $1000 per week). After the first two weeks, you must supplement the remaining 10 weeks of ⅔ pay with your leave. The leave will simply cover less than ⅔ of your salary each day, requiring you to make up the difference. In order to determine the amount of leave you will need to use, you should contact your HR Professional. For example, if you work full-time, you will charge 8.00 hours to FFCRA leave in RealTime and 1 hour to your own leave balance each day, for a total of 9.00 hours. The system will then make the adjustments based on FFCRA codes used and employee’s rate of pay.
- Can I take the leave intermittently or over an extended period of time (more than 10 weeks) if I am sharing child care duties with my spouse/partner?
- Yes, this is possible. Please work with your manager and HR Professional to understand how the FFCRA leave will work in this situation. Typically, FLSA exempt University & Academic Professionals would take the FFCRA leave in either full day or half day increments.
- If you are unable to telework for your normal schedule of hours due to one of the qualifying reasons in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), you may take intermittent leave in any increment, provided that you and your manager agree. In that situation, you and your manager may agree that you may take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking. Similarly, if you are prevented from teleworking your normal schedule of hours because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is physically closed, or child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 related reasons, you and your manager may agree that you can take expanded family medical leave intermittently while teleworking.
- Once you and your manager have a schedule worked out, you should consult with your HR Professional to confirm the correct way to charge the time.
- Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
- Your eligibility for emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month period that your employer uses for FMLA leave. VCU’s leave period is January 10 through January 9 of the following year. You may take 2 weeks of emergency sick leave and 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave for a total of 12 workweeks as FMLA until December 31, 2020. If you have taken some, but not all, 12 workweeks of your leave under FMLA during the current 12-month period determined by your employer, you may take the remaining portion of leave available.For example, assume you have already taken two weeks of FMLA during the current leave year (January 10 - January 9) for personal medical reasons. This leaves 10 weeks of FMLA leave entitlement remaining (except in the case of military caregiver FMLA which expands entitlement to 26 weeks). Because FFCRA leave is a type of FMLA leave, you would be entitled to take a combination of emergency sick and expanded family and medical leave for up to 10 weeks, rather than 12 weeks. FFCRA counts against your entitlement of pre-existing FMLA leave.
Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) – State emergency leave
The state of Virginia’s Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) provides all classified and non-classified employees with up to eighty (80) hours of emergency leave due to a pandemic. Governor Northam declared a public health state of emergency on March 12, 2020 invoking PHEL.
- Under what circumstances can I use PHEL?
- Employees are expected to work remotely to the extent possible. If employees are unable to work remotely, employees may use PHEL:
- To attend to their own medical needs or the medical needs of an immediate family member being tested, quarantined or treated for COVID-19;
- To actively seek alternative childcare arrangements due to closure of day care centers/schools due to COVID-19;
- If an employee’s job is not conducive to telework or other alternatives are not possible.
- Who is eligible for PHEL?
- 0.50 FTE part-time employee would be granted up to 40 hours.
- If a wage employee normally works 20 hours per week, the maximum amount of paid leave should be 20 hours per week.
- Up to 80 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave is currently available to all state employees, including university and academic professionals, classified staff, faculty, adjunct faculty, wage, graduate research assistants and hourly student workers (wage) provided they are actively employed at the time the leave is needed. Student workers have already been provided with leave beyond the two (2) weeks provided for in this policy.
- PHEL is prorated based on the number of hours employees are normally scheduled to work. The maximum paid leave may not exceed the maximum number of hours an employee would normally work each week.
- Full-time employees will receive up to 80 hours.
- Part-time employees (less than 1.0 FTE) will receive pro-rated paid leave based on FTE or the hours normally scheduled to work. For example:
- When a wage employee’s hours vary, use an average as the maximum.
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) considerations and the 1,500-hour threshold still must be taken into consideration.
- What leave code should be used in RealTime for PHEL?
- 91 - "Public Health Emer Lv" for salaried staff.
- 90 - "Wage Paid Leave" for hourly staff.
- I am an hourly worker and I've completed all assigned development activities and cross training. There are no more assignments for me. May I use PHEL for 2 weeks prior to applying for unemployment?
- You are eligible for two (2) weeks of PHEL based on your normal schedule. If you have applied for unemployment, you are not eligible for PHEL.
- I’m working to make arrangements for my children during this period of daycare/camp/after school closure. May I use PHEL?
- Yes, you may use PHEL on a temporary basis while you are unable to work and are actively securing childcare. PHEL is not intended to be used for long periods of time to care for children who are out of school or whose daycares are closed. FFCRA leave may be used for longer periods of time (up to 12 weeks at 2/3 pay, $1,000 per week maximum) when a parent cannot work and must provide child care or homeschooling as a result of daycare/camp/afterschool closures related to COVID-19.
- I am immunocompromised and have been advised by my doctor to self-quarantine. May I take leave instead of working remotely?
- All VCU employees are expected to work remotely to the extent possible. If an employee is unable to work remotely, the employee may use PHEL (up to 80 hours) and then may use other personal leave (if available) after consulting with their manager.
- What options are available if an employee or a family member is quarantined with COVID-19?
- All employees may request up to 80 hours (see max amounts in previous question) of Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) if unable to work remotely while self-quarantining or supporting a quarantined family member.
- Faculty and adjunct faculty should teach remotely or arrange coverage (PHEL).
- See the FFCRA section for additional options.
- I was quarantined for COVID-19 for 2 weeks and used PHEL. I now have been diagnosed with COVID-19. May I use the FFCRA sick leave?
- Yes. As applicable, employees may use both the PHEL and the provisions of the FFCRA leave.
- What leave may employees use if they or a family member are diagnosed with COVID-19?
- PHEL (a maximum of 80 hours) is available to all employees during this public health situation. It does not carry over or get paid out upon separation. Faculty and staff should contact their management to ensure coverage of courses and work responsibilities.
- Employees are also eligible to use the FFCRA leave provisions.
- Faculty and staff in the Traditional Sick Leave plan (TSLP) may use their annual leave or TSLP for personal illness, annual leave for family illness, or may use a portion of their TSLP for a family illness that is covered by FMLA.
- Faculty members, university and academic professionals, and classified employees who are in the Virginia Retirement System and covered by VSDP may apply for VSDP short-term disability benefits for their own illness by contacting Reed Group. PHEL may be used to cover the waiting period for short-term disability benefits. For family illness, annual leave, university leave,VSDP personal/family leave, and/or VSDP sick leave may be used. For a family member’s illness, use of VSDP sick leave is limited to FMLA covered illness and a maximum of 33% of the balance.
- University and academic professionals who are in the Optional Retirement Plan, or are in the Virginia Retirement System with less than one year of VSDP coverage, may apply for short-term disability benefits for their own illness by contacting The Standard. PHEL may be used to cover the waiting period for short-term disability benefits. For family illness, University Leave may be used. Please refer to VCU HR website leave for guidance.
- If I can’t come to work because of a quarantine, am I eligible for short-term disability benefits?
- Quarantine, on its own, is not a medical condition that qualifies an employee for short-term disability benefits.
- What documentation do I need to be eligible for PHEL?
- Employees should consult with their manager about their need to use PHEL and should be expected to provide information and documentation regarding their need to take PHEL. Managers should be understanding if an employee’s is unable to immediately provide a doctor’s diagnosis, proof of illness or other reason for being out of work, but managers should request and employees should be expected to produce information and documentation about their illness, diagnosis or other reason for being out of work as a result of this public health emergency within a reasonable period of time, such as 15 calendar days.
- If I am diagnosed with COVID-19 or if I am caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, am I eligible for leave share or caregiver leave?
- If you are a faculty member or classified employee in the Traditional Sick Leave Program (TSLP), you are eligible to receive leave share donations for your own COVID-19 illness if you have exhausted your own leave balances, are eligible for FMLA, and have entered a leave without pay status. If you are a faculty member or classified employee (VSDP or TSLP), you are also eligible to receive leave share donations for a family member’s COVID-19 illness that is covered by FMLA if you have exhausted your own leave balances and have entered a leave without pay status. VCU Leave Administration administers the university’s leave share program. If you have questions, contact VCU Leave Administration at email@example.com or call (804) 828-1712 with questions. Review general leave policies.
- If you are a university and academic professional with at least one year of service, and are caring for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are eligible for caregiver leave after using 40 hours of your own leave balances. If additional leave is needed, please contact VCU Leave Administration (804) 828-1712 or firstname.lastname@example.org or your HR Professional. Review caregiver leave information.
- What can I do if I believe I have been exposed to COVID-19 at work?
- If you believe you have been exposed at work and are therefore subject to quarantine, you may file a workers’ compensation claim for any lost wages. The state employee workers’ compensation program determines eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. In many cases, you may be provided with an alternate work arrangement that prevents you from losing wages. If you choose to decline work that is offered to you, you will not be eligible for lost wage benefits under workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation lost wage benefits are offset by any wages you earn.
- If you are diagnosed with a COVID-19 infection due to exposure at work, you may file a workers’ compensation claim for medical care. The state employee workers’ compensation program determines eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more about filing a workers’ compensation claim.
- If I require greater than the 2 weeks of available PHEL, due to a personal COVID-19 diagnosis or family member with the diagnosis, am I eligible for leave share or caregiver leave?
- If you are a classified employee or faculty member who participates in the Traditional Sick Leave Program (TSLP), and have exhausted your paid leave balances, and require continued absence covered by FMLA due to your own diagnosis of COVID-19, you are eligible to receive leave share donations.
- If you are a classified employee or faculty member (TSLP or VSDP participant), and have exhausted your own paid leave balances and require continued absence due to a family member’s COVID-19 illness that is covered by FMLA, you are eligible to receive leave share donations. If you have questions, contact VCU Leave Administration at email@example.com or call (804) 828-1712 with questions. Review general leave policies.
- If you are caring for a family member with COVID-19 illness and you are a university and academic professional with at least one year of service, you are eligible for caregiver leave after using 40 hours of your university leave balances. If additional leave is needed, please contact VCU Leave Administration at (804) 828-1712 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Review caregiver leave information.
- Please see available options for you with the FFCRA leave.
- In addition: