Attendance & Leave

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides certain employees* with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. 

The federally mandated FFCRA benefits expired on December 31, 2020. However, USF leadership has made the decision to voluntarily extend Emergency Paid Sick Leave through September 30, 2021.

How does this change affect you? Beginning April 1, 2021, employees will be able to request Emergency Paid Sick Leave according to the below criteria. With the passing of additional legislation via the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, it resets the 10-day/80-hour limit for emergency paid sick leave. So, an employee who has already exhausted that amount may have an additional 10 days/80 hours available starting April 1.  Emergency FMLA under the FFCRA was not extended.

What am I eligible for?

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to federal, state or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave is available to employees from their first day of employment.

This benefit provides employees with a separate allotment of up to 80 hours of paid sick leave in addition to any accrued paid leave provided under the University’s leave policy. This leave is available for the following reasons:

  1. Employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  1. Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  1. Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  1. Employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in 1 or has been advised as described in 2.
  1. Employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son of daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
  1. Employee is 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.

The duration of this particular leave is 80 hours; part-time employees’ leave is calculated on the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work. Paid leave under this section is provided as follows:

  • For leave related to reasons (1), (2) or (3) above leave is provided at the employee’s regular rate of pay, but no more than $511/day and $5110 in aggregate.
  • For leave related to reasons (4), (5) or (6) above is two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay, but no more than $200/day and $2000 in aggregate.

What is the employee’s notice obligation?

Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave as soon as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time. Should HR not receive completed documentation, and you remain absent from employment with USF, you understand that you may be subject to termination from your position, consistent with USF’s policies and regulations regarding attendance and unexcused absences.

Who should I contact with questions?

For additional information or assistance please contact the employee relations team at employee-relations@usf.edu or your Regional HR Office, or USF Health HR office. 

OTHER QUESTIONS

If I have exhausted leave benefits under the FFCRA, can I use administrative leave while self-isolating or am I required to use accrued leave? 

Please reference Policy 6-040 Title: Return to Regular University Operations In COVID-19 Environment in regards to Administrative Leave under the FFCRA. There may be times when accrued leave may be required.

It remains the case that employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or directed to self-isolate should not be on campus.  Such employees should continue to follow the directions of their healthcare providers and may use accrued leave, if available. 

We understand that there are many burdens on employees who are unable to tele-work and who do not have accrued leave. Human Resources is developing additional guidance regarding leave sources for employees under recently enacted federal legislation in addition to considering potential, internal options.

There are “safer at home” orders issued by my county / city / state.  How does this impact me?

Under the current, state safer at home orders, USF as a State University has the authority to continue operations and determine those employees who need to physically report for work. This includes employees deemed essential or providing mission critical functions that cannot be performed remotely.  All other employees are to remain off campus and work remotely, if their duties allow. Please consult your supervisor if you are in doubt about your status.

It should be remembered that the overriding goal is to minimize contact between individuals to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Employees should stay at home as much as possible and should only come to campus when necessary to perform their designated critical functions.

My position at USF does not earn sick leave.  Do the new requirements give me access to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Benefit?

Possibly.  The benefit applies to certain employees* who meet the qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.

 

Does this emergency paid sick leave impact other sick leave I may have?

No, this leave is additional to any other leave you may have earned.  Employees wishing to apply for emergency paid leave will be required to submit an emergency sick leave form to their HR office or Regional HR office.

Where can I apply and what documentation do I need for the Emergency Sick Leave?

Employees can apply for benefits using self-service in GEMS at USF Employee Leave > Emergency COV19 Leave.  Select from the tabs: Emergency Paid Sick Leave. The request must be sent along with your medical documentation from your health care provider to expeditious processing of your request.

Click here for instructions on applying for Emergency Paid Sick Leave.

*Health Care Providers and First Responders are exempt under this Act.

Please note that this guidance is subject to change and will be updated regularly.