COVID-Related Leave for Academic Employees

updated 11/12/2020 (UC EPAL extended through June 30, 2021)
updated 1/8/21 (FFCRA leaves removed; expired 12/31/20 - EPSL and EFML are no longer available)
updated 3/17/21 (Information on COVID-19 vaccine-related paid time off added)
updated 4/1/21 (Information on 2021 EPSL program added)
updated 7/12/21 (UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) removed; expired 6/30/21)


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Instructional Continuity

The delivery of instruction is an essential university service. Faculty and graduate student instructors who are unable to continue delivering instruction, either temporarily or for an extended time, should immediately notify their department chair. Teaching Assistants who are unable to perform their assigned duties, either temporarily or for an extended time, should immediately notify their faculty supervisors. 

Departments and divisions should look at every situation carefully and, wherever possible, take steps to help their faculty continue to teach their assigned courses. Computers and remote instructional equipment may be available. Additional course support staff may be hired. The Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning (CITL) can advise instructors through the process of reshaping the curriculum to adapt to the circumstances.

When there are technological barriers, a department should discuss the situation with the instructor and offer all available support:

  • Can the division work with ITS to provide a computer?
  • Is the instructor aware of At-home Internet Options for UCSC and UCSC’s Keep Teaching resources? 
  • Can the department or division provide local support, to help the instructor with their remote teaching?

For leave taken for childcare purposes, appointees should provide notice of their need to take such leave as soon as practicable and, when possible, two weeks in advance so that the department can plan for the appointee’s absence.

COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Hourly (non-exempt) academic employees may take up to four hours of paid time to obtain each dose of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine. Employees must provide advance notice to their supervisor.  If an appointee needs more time for this purpose, the appointee may request EPSL (Reason 3-d) for the additional time. 
  • All academic employees can use their available EPSL allotment if they are unable to work due to side effects caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine. 
  • If an appointee has exhausted EPSL or opts not to use it, the appointee would be able to use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, and/or PTO

2021 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) is available for all academic employees, policy-covered and represented, for the six COVID-19-related reasons listed in the table below. The University is providing up to 80 hours of EPSL for full-time employees and the two-week equivalent for part-time employees. EPSL is effective March 29, 2021 through September 20, 2021. (See FAQ 20 for additional information regarding EPSL’s effective dates.) 

The University's 2021 EPSL program was created in response to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which gives employers the option to offer their employees Emergency Paid Sick Leave. The University's 2021 EPSL program is more generous than federal law would require and more generous than California’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave.

Summary Chart

2021 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)

80 hours for full-time appointees or the two-week equivalent for part-time appointees

March 29, 2021 – September 30, 2021 (See COVID Leave FAQ #20 for additional information)

No prior service requirements

May be used consecutively in one block or incrementally. For exempt appointees, leave is recorded in whole days. For hourly appointees, leave taken is entered in hours. (See COVID Leave FAQ #6b for additional information.)

Qualifying reason for EPSL use – unable to work due to:

  1. Quarantine or isolation order: appointee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  2. Self-Quarantine: appointee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  3. Testing, Diagnosis, and/or Immunization:    Appointtee (a) is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis from a health care provider (b) has been exposed to COVID-19 and is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID-19 (c) is awaiting results of a COVID-19 diagnostic test that was requested by the University (d) is obtaining COVID-19 immunization (e) is recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to a COVID-19 immunization
  4. Caring for an Individual: Caring for an individual who is either 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 due to concerns related to COVID-19
  5. Closure of School/Child Care: Caring for child whose school/place of care is closed or child care provider unavailable because of COVID-19.
  6. Other substantially similar condition specified by HHS Secretary**

*Pursuant to APM-715-0(b), "family member" is defined as an appointee's child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner.
**HHS had not identified any such condition as of March 29, 2021.

Interaction with Paid Medical Leave 

If an employee is unable to work due to their own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member, and the absence extends beyond the leave provision, the employee may be eligible for additional paid medical leave in accordance with APM 710-11 (Faculty Medical Leave) or a collective bargaining agreement.

Divisions shall follow existing procedures for processing an extended medical leave for an academic employee, understanding that certification from health care providers may take longer than usual to obtain. Leaves may be approved and processed while medical certification is being obtained. Divisions should also consider that it may be difficult for employees to get appointments with health care providers to verify they are able to return to work.


See Also