UA to extend COVID-19 sick leave availability to June 30, 2021

by UA News  |   

On April 1, 2020 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect and created new leave balances for all university employees. Under current federal law, options will sunset on December 31, 2020. The University of Alaska, however, recognizing the need for employees to have access to COVID-19 leave will extend the leave benefits through June 30, 2021. The university will not be replenishing any used Emergency Sick Leave (ESL) or Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML), but this does mean that new hires after December 31, 2020 will also receive Emergency Sick Leave balances and be eligible to apply for EFML.

Emergency Sick Leave, code 565, covers situations when an employee cannot work or telework because:

  • They are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • They have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  • They are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • They’re caring for an individual subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  • They’re caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  • They have a substantially similar condition as specified by federal authorities.

Full-time employees have 80 hours available. Part-time employees’ maximum hours are prorated. The Department of Labor requires that we collect documentation regarding the use of emergency sick leave, so employees must fill out the ESL form and be approved to use prior to claiming the hours on their timesheet.

Expanded Family and Medical Leave can be requested by employees with more than 30 days service. If approved to use, it provides up to 10 weeks of EFML hours, up to a total of $10,000, at 2/3 of the normal rate of pay. Employees must apply using this EFML request form

If changes are made to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the pandemic is controlled before June 30, the university will reevaluate these benefits.

An updated FAQ on these leave options, as well as scenarios detailing the type of leave to use under different situations, are posted on the UA Coronavirus information website.  If you have questions you may contact UA Human Resources at ua-hr@alaska.edu or call 907-450-8200.  

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