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COVID-19 FAQ on Leave and Remote Work Provisions for Faculty and Academic Appointees

Last updated October 13, 2020

The University continues to closely monitor the ongoing Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID- 19) outbreak. The health and well-being of our community remains our number one priority. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the University is enacting the following temporary emergency academic leave protocols. The guidance below addresses special considerations for leaves taken by academic appointees as a result of COVID-19. 

This remains a very fluid situation, and the guidance below may be updated at any time. Please provide as much flexibility as is operationally feasible to academic appointees needing to take leave or work remotely. The following guidance replaces the information that was provided in the March 9, 2020 letter from Vice Provost Carlson and Acting Vice President Lloyd as it related to academic appointees and supports President Napolitano’s Executive Order signed on March 16, 2020. This page's most recent updates are in alignment with  the April 27, 2020 (5th Issuance, from UCOP) COVID-19-Related Leave for Academic Appointees: Guidance for Supervisors and the October 12, 2020 (Fourth issuance from UCOP) Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Related Leaves and Job Protections for Academic Personnel.

APM 710 Fall 2020 Exceptions

Q: What are the APM 710 Exceptions UCOP Provost Brown has authorized allowing eligible appointees to request for Fall 2020?

A: On September 10, 2020, UCOP announced two interim exceptions for the APM-710 leave policy to provide additional relief to academic appointees with childrearing responsibilities during the Fall of 2020. These exceptions allow for unrepresented faculty who are not HSCP participants and unrepresented academic appointees covered by APM-710 to request to use their accrued sick leave for time off because their children are not able to physically attend their school or place of care due to COVID-19 precautions or to use a designated increment of paid medical leave forfeiture in exchange for the receipt of one (1) course relief or its equivalent for child care related reasons

Upon request for clarifications on local campus implementations, and after consultation with the Office of General Counsel, on  September 29, 2020 Provost Brown clarified that for each campus, the Chancellor can administer these policy exceptions by putting in place an approval process for the specified uses of sick leave and paid medical leave. The application process and criteria for requesting either of these exceptions are designated on the page linked to below.  No exception requested may extend beyond December 31, 2020.  

Please visit APM 710 Exceptions Procedures and Guidelines for forms and more information.

Donations to the Catastrophic Leave Program

Q: What can I do if I know colleagues may be impacted by longer absences due to COVID-19 complications such as school closures or other circumstances and I'd like to help?

A: Appointees concerned about the impact of COVID-19 for their campus colleagues are invited to make vacation donations to the Catastrophic Leave Program on the behalf of impacted employees who've exhausted paid leave options. 

Any type of leave listed above is eligible for use of this program should the requesting appointee's paid leave provisions be exhausted and adequate funding remains in the Catastrophic Leave Donation Bank.

To apply for catastrophic leave pay or learn about donating vacation leave, see:

Exclusively represented employees who meet the criteria may participate in the program to the extent provided in the applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave under the FFCRA

Q: How do the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) leave provisions work?  

A: Regarding Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the University is a covered employer. Specific guidance regarding eligibility for and implementation of emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19 can be found in the Academic Personnel Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Leaves and Job Protections.  Please see pages 12 and 13 for the updated definition of "healthcare worker" provided by UCOP on October 12, 2020 due to recent Department of Labor changes. A notice from the Department of Labor provides general information on these two entitlements.

Q: What documentation must be provided by the appointee?

A: For Faculty and academic appointees, an ALAS form signed by the appointee is required. The form should designate the leave type "Other," with leave dates and "COVID-19 FFCRA EPSL" or “COVID-19 FFCRA EFML” leave noted. The form must also indicate which of the six COVID-19 related applicable circumstances applies to the leave. Attached to this ALAS should be the COVID-19/UC FFCRA Leave Request Form.  Note: Instructions and applicable circumstances are listed on the form for your reference. 

Q: What documentation is my department or unit asked to provide to the administration at a later date?

A: Departments must keep a record of FFCRA Leaves taken on this UC San Diego COVID-19 Leave Tracking Spreadsheet templateTracking is required for University, federal, and state audit purposes, as well as for potential government reimbursement. 

Q: What is the rate of pay for FFCRA leaves?

A: Pay will be determined by the same terms indicated for UC PAL leaves in UCOP's COVID-19-Related Leave for Academic Appointees: Guidance for Supervisors

Q: In what increments can EPSL and EFML be taken by academic appointees?

A. In most instances, EPSL must be taken as a two week block by eligible appointees, and EFML must be taken in blocks of a minimum of two-weeks duration.  Academic appointees may use EPSL for Reason 5 and/or EFML in blocks shorter than two weeks when their child’s school, place of care, or child care provider is closed or unavailable only on certain days due to their implementation of an alternate day or other hybrid-attendance schedule. 

If leave taken for childcare purposes (EPSL Reason 5 or EFML) is foreseeable, appointees should provide notice of their need to take such leave as soon as practicable and, if possible, two weeks in advance so that the department can plan for the appointee’s absence. See the Academic Personnel Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Leaves and Job Protections, pages 15 and 16, for additional information updated on October 12, 2020.

Q: Some schools are giving parents a choice between having their children attend in person
or participate in a remote learning program. If an academic appointee elects remote
learning for their child, can that appointee use EPSL for Reason 5 and/or EFML while their
child is at home?

A: No. As of guidance added on October 12, 2020, an academic appointee is not eligible to use EPSL for Reason 5 and/or EFML under these circumstances because the child’s school is not “closed” due to COVID-19 reasons; it is open for the appointee’s child to attend. If an appointee’s child is home because the appointee has chosen for the child to remain home, the appointee is not entitled to EPSL
for Reason 5 or EFML.

Q: Who is the authority for these leaves?

A: These leaves (FFCRA) are protected leaves and require signatures on related forms from the candidates and all reviewers that the requested leave's duration/s would normally require, but are "reported" rather than "approved."  Leave eligibility can be considered confirmed after the required verification information has been submitted and processed.  

Q: What is an appointee’s eligibility for EPSL and EFML when they have a concurrent
appointment, one of which is deemed a “health care worker” position?

A: When an appointee holds both a “healthcare worker” position and a non-healthcare
worker position, eligibility for FFCRA is split between the two appointments based on the
appointment percentage, regardless of where the funding comes from or where the
primary duties lie. For example, a faculty member with a concurrent HSCP 75%
appointment in the School of Medicine-Radiology and Adjunct Professor 25% appointment
in the Physics Department would be entitled to EPSL Reasons 1-3 at 100% and EPSL
Reasons 4-5 & EFML at 25%.

Q: Do spouses/partners who are both employed by the University share the 12-workweek EFML entitlement or do they each receive their own 12-workweek entitlement?

The EFMLA does not address whether spouses/partners who work for the same employer are required to share the 12-workweek EFML entitlement. There is a regulation that permits employers to require married couples to share a combined 12 workweeks of FMLA leave when leave is taken for certain reasons, but the University has never opted to do that, and that regulation does not address leave to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. Accordingly, spouses/partners working for the University should each be entitled to 12-workweeks of EFML (assuming they are eligible for EFML and have EFML entitlement remaining).

Other Leaves

Q: Am I able to take other types of leaves with pay, as applicable, during this time?

A: Yes. Campuses retain the ability to provide leave with pay as outlined in the APM.

Q: What documentation is needed when faculty or academic appointees have exhausted Paid Administrative Leave provisions or FFCRA and need other types of leaves?

A: Any academic leaves applied for other than University of California Paid Administrative Leave (UC PAL) or FFCRA Leaves should include the same documentation that such leave requests would normally require, according to standard processing guidelines.

While Paid Administrative Leave is not considered part of an employee's FMLA allotment, any caretaking or medical leave requests that meet FMLA guidelines before or after Paid Administrative Leave will require FMLA paperwork and related documentation; the university will, however, be flexible if documentation is difficult to acquire from remote or if the appointee is unable to receive COVID-19 testing. 

Further, any use of FMLA related leave will impact future EFML leave eligibility duration if or when such leaves are requested, and any prior use of Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitlement in 2020 reduces appointee’s entitlement under EFML. Any use of EFML also reduces FMLA entitlement in 2020 assuming appointee is eligible for FMLA. 

Temporary Remote Work Agreements, Working from Remote

Q: I have heard some academic appointees are required to submit Temporary Remote Work Agreements (COVID-19) if working from remote. From whom are these agreements required?

A: A telecommuting agreement is required from any appointee who:

  • requires a substantial modification of duties due to an appointee in any academic series being unable to travel home from a foreign location, or
  • requires a substantive modification of duties due to an appointee being unable to work in their regular work location or
  • is performing duties remotely from any international location (or territory outside of the continental United States) during the Summer or Fall of 2020.

Q: What is the difference between the requirements for a Change in Work Location and those for a Temporary Remote Work Agreement (COVID-19)?

A: A Change in Work Location is a form of academic leave that involves a faculty member travelling during their service period to accomplish specific research goals unobtainable by summer travel or research in residence, or which must occur at a given particular time (i.e. plant only blooms in second week of April, series of conferences in this field happen only during March of each year etc.). Changes in Work Location only apply to eligible faculty titles and may only be taken during non-teaching quarters for a 60 day maximum duration. A Change in Work location often involves service to the university mission, such as accompaniment by graduate students for career development or field research.

Temporary Remote Work agreements are not academic policy related leaves but instead agreements between an employee and their supervisor as to which duties will be expected from that appointee and what other considerations must be met for an effective remote working arrangement. Temporary Remote Work Agreements are put into place to give structure and definition to the work expected from remote academic appointees and to clarify for departments which employee functions will be done from remote. 

Q: I am a faculty member and sheltering in place locally but teaching my classes from remote. Do I need an Temporary Remote Work Agreement (COVID-19)?

A: You do not need an agreement as your duties are essentially the same. Teaching in a remote format and class meetings conducted by Zoom do not constitute a substantive enough moderation of duties to require a a Temporary Remote Work Agreement.

Q: I am a research (or other non-faculty academic) appointee and sheltering in place locally but can continue to do my work remotely. Do I need an Temporary Remote Work Agreement (COVID-19)?

A: You do not need an agreement as your duties are essentially the same. Transitioning to a remote format while continuing to perform the primary functions of your position does not constitute a substantive enough moderation of duties to require a Temporary Remote Work Agreement.  

Q: I am a faculty member performing my duties from remote during the summer and/or Fall Quarter 2020, but I’m not sheltering in place locally. Are there other considerations you can advise with regard to working outside of California?

A: While we don’t anticipate faculty teaching and performing active service from remote locations will perform substantively different duties than they do locally, all appointees who are working outside of California during the summer and/or fall of 2020 are advised to consult with their tax professionals about income earned outside of the state and must be prepared to report to campus when we resume full on-site operations, potentially as early as Winter 2020. 

As noted above, all faculty working outside of the continental U.S. or from internationally remote locations, however, will require a Temporary Remote Work Agreement.   

Faculty who elect to work outside of California during Summer and/or Fall 2020 and are subsequently unable to report to UC San Diego when their presence is required on campus will be required to take an unpaid leave of absence and may be subject to quarantine periods upon their return. 

UC PAL - Eligibility and Tracking By Series

Q: Under which circumstances may I request Paid Administrative Leave?

A:  You may request Paid Administrative Leave under the following circumstances:

  1. When you are unable to work due to your own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member; or

  2. When you are unable to work because you have been directed not to come to the worksite for COVID-19-related reasons and/or the worksite has implemented a COVID- 19-related remote-work program or you are under a shelter in place order and it is not operationally feasible to work remotely; or

  3. When you are unable to work because a COVID-19-related school or daycare closure requires you to be at home with a child or dependent, and it is not operationally feasible for you to work remotely or in conjunction with the childcare.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible?

A: See below:

  • Paid Administrative Leave is available for all academic appointees, policy-covered and represented, and is available as of March 1, 2020. It is not available for academic appointees with non-paid or without salary appointments.
  • Members of the Health Sciences Compensation Plan (HSCP) and other faculty who deliver clinical services must follow the same general tenets as are presented in this guidance, with the exception that clinical services are considered essential university services. In addition, each campus has the discretion to further define essential and non-essential university services in line with President Napolitano’s Executive Order.
  • See below for additional information on postgraduate trainees, appointees paid on a variable-hours basis, student Work Study workers, and flat-rate employees.

Q: How is this Paid Administrative leave to be processed and documented for faculty and academic appointees?

A. Departments must keep a record of Paid Administrative Leave taken on this UC San Diego COVID-19 Leave Tracking Spreadsheet template. Tracking is required for University, federal, and state audit purposes. For UCPath locations, Job Aids for submitting Paid Administrative Leave to UCPath for tracking are now available on UCPath Online HELP/FAQ. These will be available on the local UCPath site when UCPath goes live.  

Q: Are postgraduate trainees, including Residents and Postdoctoral Scholars also eligible for Paid Administrative Leave and if so, how is the leave for these employees processed?

A: Postgraduate trainees, including Residents and Postdoctoral Scholars, are eligible for Paid Administrative Leave. Trainees that are paid directly by their sponsor (such as Postdoctoral
Scholars-Paid Direct) are eligible for Paid Administrative Leave under the criteria and provisions listed above if their sponsor discontinues payments. In those cases, a paid direct trainee must be entered into the payroll system on a trainee title (such as Postdoctoral Scholar Employee) and will be subject to tax withholding and other deductions.

Q: What about eligibility for and processing guidelines for Paid Administrative Leave for appointees who are paid on a variable-hours basis, such as Readers and TAs?

A: Appointees paid on a variable-hours basis, such as Readers and Tutors, are eligible for
COVID-19-related Paid Administrative Leave with the following provisions:

a. The content of President Napolitano’s Executive Order signed on March 16, 2020,including the criteria for use of Paid Administrative Leave, applies.
b. If criteria for use of COVID-19-related Paid Administrative Leave is met, hours eligible for paid administrative leave are:
o Hours that were scheduled before the appointee met the criteria for use; and/or
o Hours that are offered to the appointee and the appointee is unable to work due to a COVID-related reason covered under President Napolitano’s Executive Order.

c. Hours covered under Paid Administrative Leave must be recorded and submitted through the location’s time and attendance system.

Q: Where do I secure Paid Administrative Leave eligibility information regarding Work Study awards?

A: Contact the campus Career Center Student Employment Office.

Q: What about appointees paid on a by agreement flat-rate?

A: Appointees who are paid a by-agreement flat-rate amount for their work are eligible for
COVID-19-related Paid Administrative Leave under the criteria and provisions listed above
with the following conditions:

  • Any terms of an employment agreement that address the contingent nature of pay shall remain intact. This includes stipulations regarding cancellation of agreements, such as for lack of enrollment.
  • If pay is contingent on work to be rendered and the appointee is unable to provide that work due to COVID-19-related criteria covered under President Napolitano’s Executive Order, then Paid Administrative Leave may be provided for work not finished based on a daily or hourly rate not to exceed 128 hours (16 days) and not to exceed the pay amount established in the terms of the employment agreement. Locations should calculate an hourly or daily rate based on the dollar amount and duration of the employment agreement.

UC PAL - General Provisions for Paid Administrative Leave

Q: What documentation is required from Faculty and Academic Appointees taking Paid Administrative Leave provisions?

A: For Faculty and academic appointees, an ALAS form signed by the appointee is required. The form should designate the leave type "Other," with leave dates and "COVID 19 paid administrative" leave noted. The form must also indicate which of the three COVID-19 related applicable circumstances applies to the leave. Attached to this should be the UCOP Paid Administrative leave form.  

Q: Who has leave approval authority for Faculty and Academic Appointees?

A: Department Chairs may approve Paid Administrative Leaves of up to ten consecutive service days. Any leaves longer than ten consecutive service days will require chair's endorsement and dean's approval.

Q: Are the leaves automatically approved upon request?

A: Use of Paid Administrative Leave is at the request of the appointee, in consultation with the supervisor. Approval processes are determined by the campus; however, use of Paid Administrative leave must not adversely affect the delivery of essential university services. In addition to the clinical services delivered by UC Health, the delivery of instruction is an essential university service. Instructors are not eligible to take PAL during their scheduled remote lectures/class sessions for criterion 3 above. Each campus has the discretion to determine the application of essential university services in individual cases.

Q: How may my accrued leave such as sick leave or vacation leave be used in relationship with this Paid Administrative Leave?

A: Leave accruals such as sick or vacation leave may be used intermittently, before, or after Paid Administrative Leave.

Q: Can my leave be applied retroactively?

A: Paid Administrative Leave for COVID-19 can be applied retroactive to March 1, 2020, the effective date indicated on President Napolitano’s March 16, 2020 Executive Order.

Q: What documentation is my department or unit asked to collect from me and provide to the administration at a later date?

A: The University asks that departments and units maintain leave spreadsheets that report on Paid Administrative Leave usage. Departments are required to keep their records of Paid Administrative Leave taken on the UC San Diego COVID-19 Leave Tracking Spreadsheet template

Q: How much Paid Administrative Leave for COVID-19-related incidents may I take?

A: Paid Administrative Leave is available for up to 16 working days or 128 hours

Q: How is my Leave calculated?

A: See below:

  • For exempt academic employees, use of Paid Administrative Leave is in full-day increments; a day is defined as the regular time that an appointee would have worked on that day regardless of the actual number of hours worked per day. For such exempt employees, there will be up to 16 days on which the Paid Administrative Leave can occur.
  • For hourly appointees, the total number of hours available is prorated to reflect the appointment percentage.
  • Paid Administrative Leave is calculated on the compensation for the appointee’s regular appointment(s) that would have been paid at the time that the leave is taken, including base compensation, off-scale salary components, negotiated “Y” for members of the Health Sciences Compensation Plan (HSCP), negotiated component for participants in the Negotiated Salary Trial Program (NSTP), and stipends. The calculation does not include additional compensation for negotiated bonus payments (such as “Z” payments) and services beyond the appointee’s regular duties that the appointee is unable to perform (for example, overload teaching or honoraria for engagements).

Q: What fund sources should be charged for Paid Administrative Leave?

A: Fund sources that would have been in place at the time that the leave is taken should
be charged for Paid Administrative Leave unless directed otherwise.

Q: What if I am a grant-funded appointee? Is more guidance available anywhere related to grant use at this time?

A: Please consult Guidance from Sponsors and Research Partners Regarding the Impact of COVID-19 on Research on Blink, as well as Office of Research Affairs COVID-19 Continuity of Research for information related to grant funding and use.

Q: Must I take all 16 days (or 128 hours at once)?

A: Paid Administrative Leave can be taken intermittently and is recorded in whole days for exempt academic employees.

Q: Must I first exhaust accrued leave before using Paid Administrative Leave?

A: Accrued leave or paid medical leave does not need to be taken prior to or in conjunction with the use of Paid Administrative Leave.

Q: How long will the COVID-related Paid Administrative Leave be available for use?

A: This Paid Administrative Leave must be used by December 31, 2020 – after that date, Paid Administrative Leave will no longer be available.

Q: Is Paid Administrative Leave available to those hired July 1, 2020?

A: Paid Administrative Leave is available for any new appointees hired during the duration of President Napolitano’s March 16, 2020 Executive Order.

Q: Can I cash out the Paid Leave if I leave the University before December 31, 2020 and have not used the time?

A: See below:

  • An appointee who separates from the employment of the University before December 31, 2020 will lose eligibility for Paid Administrative Leave; there is no “cash-in” value connected to the leave.
  • An appointee who separates from the employment of the University before December 31, 2020 and then returns prior to the expiration date of the Executive Order will have their Paid Administrative Leave eligibility reinstated.

Q: Is Paid Administrative Leave available for employees when there is a lack of work (such as the cancellation of classes or events and there is no other appropriate work)?

A: No. Paid Administrative Leave is not provided for academic appointees when there is a lack of work (such as the cancellation of classes or events and there is no other appropriate alternative work). This is distinct from situations where an appointee is unable to work because it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely. In cases of lack of work, the applicable provisions in the APM and respective collective bargaining agreements apply.

Q: If I need more than 16 days, am I eligible to use leave accruals or personal illness related paid leave toward my or a family member’s illness?

A: Yes. Academic Personnel Manual (APM) and respective academic collective bargaining agreements (Academic Researchers, Postdoctoral Scholars, Academic Student Employees, Non-Senate Instructional Unit, and Librarians) that apply to an appointee’s own illness and will extend to cover a family member’s COVID-19 illness.

In addition to Paid Administrative Leave, Unit 18 Non-Senate Faculty who have an average of 66% or greater appointment for a full academic year are eligible for 22 weeks of Paid Medical Leave during their first 10 years of employment in the bargaining unit and 36 weeks of Paid Medical Leave with 10 or more years of employment in the bargaining unit. Such COVID-19-related leaves due to illness are subject to the parameters covered in this guidance.

These extensions of academic policy are in place for the duration of the President Napolitano’s March 16, 2020 Executive Order.

 

University Benefits Provisions

Q: How will COVID-19 related leaves impact my University benefits?

A: Generally, an employee granted a leave with pay will continue to receive benefits related to employment.  For situations that involve leaves without pay, appointees may consult their local Benefits office for more guidance on the continuation of benefits.