COVID-Related Leaves for Academic Employees

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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.

Summary of COVID-19 Leaves for Academic Employees

The University of California has introduced three COVID-19-related leave provisions potentially available to academic employees. Please review the summary below, and more detailed information on Three Types of Leave. When considering options for leaves of absence for reasons related to COVID-19, please note that:

  • Academic employees who are eligible for more than one of these leave options may apply for all and can choose which to take first. 
  • Regardless of whether academic employees have exhausted their administrative and emergency paid leave options, they may use paid leave throughout the current shelter-in-place orders by using any remaining personal time off or vacation. 
  • Academic employees may also use any remaining sick leave balances provided for in the APM or applicable collective bargaining agreement for their qualifying COVID-19 illness or a family member’s qualifying COVID-19 illness.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the University provides job-protected paid leave for specified COVID- 19-related reasons in accordance with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The FFCRA paid leave benefits are effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

FFCRA 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. 

FFCRA Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML) is available for all academic employees, policy-covered and represented, if they have been on the University’s payroll for 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day that their leave would begin. EFML can only be approved when the employee is unable to work (on site or remotely) because they are caring for a child whose school/place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19. The first two weeks of EFML are unpaid unless the appointee elects to use other available paid leave.

UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave 

UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) is available for all academic employees, policy-covered and represented, for the COVID-19-related reasons described in President Napolitano’s March 16, 2020 Executive Order. UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave is effective March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Summary Chart

This chart summarizes the three types of COVID-related leave potentially available to UC academic employees.

UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL)

FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)

FFCRA Expanded Family & Medical Leave (EFML) 

128 hours or 16 days for FTE

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

Up to 12 workweeks for any eligible appointee**

March 1  – December 31, 2020

April 1 – December 31, 2020

April 1 – December 31, 2020

No prior service requirements

No prior service requirements

Must be on payroll for 30 calendar days immediately prior to the leave

May be used consecutively in one block or incrementally

May only be taken in a block of two weeks

May only be taken in blocks of a minimum of two weeks

Qualifying reason for use – unable to work because of:

  1. Appointee’s own COVID-19 related illness or that of a family member*
  2. Appointee directed not to come to worksite for COVID-19 related reasons and/or worksite has COVID-19 related remote work program or is under shelter in place order and it is not operationally feasible for employee to work remotely
  3. COVID-19 related school or daycare closure requires appointee to be at home with child/dependent and not operationally feasible for appointee to work remotely or in conjunction with childcare commitment

The use of EPAL “shall not adversely affect the delivery of essential University services.”

Instruction is an essential service of the University. Instructors are not eligible to take EPAL during their scheduled remote lectures/class sessions for criterion 3 above. 

Qualifying reason for use – unable to work or telework because of:

  1. Quarantine or isolation order
  2. Told by health care provider to self-quarantine
  3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis
  4. Caring for individual subject to quarantine/isolation order or who was told by health care provider to self-quarantine*
  5. Caring for child whose school/place of care is closed or child care provider unavailable b/c of COVID-19*
  6. Other substantially similar condition specified by HHS Secretary

*Health care workers and emergency responders are not eligible to take EPSL for Reasons 4 or 5 above.

Qualifying reason for use – unable to work or telework because of:

  1. Caring for child whose school/place of care is closed or child care provider unavailable b/c of COVID-19 (same as reason #5 under EPSL)

Health care workers and emergency responders are not eligible for EFML.

**First two weeks unpaid unless appointee elects to use other available paid leave.

Use of EFML also counts against 2020 FMLA entitlement for those appointees that are FMLA-eligible.

*Pursuant to APM-715-0(b), "family member" is defined as an appointee's child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner.

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