New Leave Options for Faculty & Staff Affected by COVID-19

Dear UNI faculty & staff,

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, so have the options available to faculty and staff to remain in paid status if there are periods you are unable to work due to COVID-19. The enactment of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides additional paid leave options for certain COVID-19 related reasons effective April 1, 2020. Information regarding employee rights under this act may be found at dol.gov

Paid COVID-19 Sick & Family Care Leave

Pursuant to the FFCRA, all faculty and staff will be provided up to 80 hours of additional paid leave (pro-rated for those who work less than full-time) to use for certain COVID-19 related reasons. For faculty and staff who already accrue sick leave, this COVID-19 Sick & Family Care Leave is in addition to their current sick leave balance and will be tracked as a separate balance by Payroll. This COVID-19 Sick & Family Care Leave option is effective April 1, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.

This leave may be used for your own COVID-19 condition (timecard code COVID Sick Leave) or when you must care for someone else, including a son or daughter whose school or child care is closed due to COVID-19 (timecard code COVID Family Care). These temporary leave timecard codes may be used when you’re unable to telework and meet a condition described below.  

COVID Sick Leave may be used when...   

  • You are subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19.

  • You have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.

  • You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor (questions may be directed via email to hrs-leaves@uni.edu). 

COVID Family Care may be used when...

  • You are caring for someone subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

  • You are caring for someone who has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19.

  • You are caring for someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and who is seeking a medical diagnosis.

  • You are caring for your son or daughter whose K-12 school or child care service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

  • This leave may be used in lieu of existing sick, vacation or comp time balances or in lieu of taking unpaid leave. 

COVID-19 Family & Medical Leave

Pursuant to the FFCRA, all faculty and staff employed by UNI for at least 30 days will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for certain childcare related needs as a result of COVID-19. This leave option is effective April 1, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020. You may request this leave if you are unable to work or telework due to a need to care for your child under the age of 18 if their K-12 school or place of care has closed or their child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19. 

The first 10 days (two weeks) of this leave is unpaid unless you elect to use other paid options, such as COVID Family Care, accrued sick leave, accrued vacation leave or comp time earned.

Additional paid leave under this provision may be provided for up to 10 weeks with no use of accrued leave and is paid at two-thirds (⅔) of your regular rate of pay.   

Employees who have already used FMLA for other purposes will have less leave available for COVID Family & Medical Leave since the FMLA only permits 12 weeks of leave during any calendar year.  Likewise, your use of COVID Family & Medical Leave will reduce the amount of FMLA available for other FMLA-qualifying reasons.

Employees needing leave should complete the Leaves Request Survey which will initiate correspondence from Human Resource Services. Questions can be directed via email to hrs-leaves@uni.edu.

In addition, the President of the Board of Regents (“Board”) has waived certain administrative rules and policies of the Board to permit institutions such as UNI to expand paid leave accruals that its employees may use for certain COVID-19 related reasons. 

As part of this, until further notification regular accrued sick leave may be used when you are unable to work or telework and you meet a condition described below:

  • You need to provide care and necessary attention to an immediate family member if the care is related to COVID-19.

  • You need to care for your child if their K-12 school or daycare center is closed due to COVID-19 and you are unable to work or telework.

  • You are adhering to a self-isolation period as prescribed by the CDC, IDPH or the Department of Homeland Security.

Refer to this flowchart for assistance navigating options available. Further timecard coding instructions and FAQ’s will be communicated very soon. Questions regarding timecard submission may be directed via email to payroll@uni.edu.

Please continue to monitor prepare.uni.edu for additional updates.