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FAQ on COVID-19 Leave Options, Remote Work Provisions, and Duties Modifications 

Last updated April 8, 2021

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 and President Drake’s Amended Executive Order signed on November 12, 2020. This page's most recent updates are in alignment with the March 31. 2021 (7th Issuance, from UCOP) Expanded Paid Administrative Leave for Academic Appointees and the November 16, 2020 (Fifth issuance from UCOP) Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Related Leaves and Job Protections for Academic Personnel as well as the November 12, 2020 Executive Order update mentioned above.

Please also see the March 31, 2021 issuance of Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Related Leaves

For a one page chart overview of campus offerings, please visit Covid-19 Related UC San Diego Academic Leaves and Duties Modification Programs, provided by the office of Academic Personnel Services.

COVID-Related Caregiver Modified Duties Program

UCOP Provost Brown has approved this campus' proposal for a COVID-Related Caregiver Modified Duties (CCMD) program for a period of two years, from AY 2020-2021 through AY 2021-2022, with a possible adjustment after the first year.  This program was designed to mitigate the struggle of campus faculty caregivers who are under the purview of Academic Personnel Manual 760-28.  Please see COVID-Related Caregiver Modified Duties for more information. The CCMD program remains separate and distinct from systemwide and UC San Diego Active Service Modified Duties policies.

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.

2021 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Q: What may Emergency Paid Sick Leave be used for?

EPSL hours are available to employees who are unable to work or telework for the reasons below:

  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis from a health care provider.
  • The employee 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.
  • The University has requested that the employee obtain a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID-19, and the employee is seeking or awaiting those results.
  • The employee is obtaining immunization related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to obtaining immunization related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is 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.
  • The employee is caring for their child whose school or place of care has closed (or whose child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Q:May an academic appointee elect paid leave related to COVID-19 (i.e., UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave and/or EPSL) past their pre-determined appointment end date?

A: No, consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements and the APM, an academic appointee may not elect paid leave related to COVID-19 past their pre-determined appointment end date.

Q: For what dates may 2021 EPSL be requested and how does it relate to the earlier EPSL provision?

Appointees are able to take 2021 EPSL between March 29, 2021 and September 30, 2021. If an appointee took any leave between January 1, 2021 and March 28, 2021 for one or more of the EPSL qualifying reasons but was not paid as described in FAQ 17, the appointee may request that the University allow them to retroactively use EPSL. Also, any appointee who has an EPSL leave in progress on September 30, 2021, must be permitted to finish taking the amount of EPSL that they are entitled to receive. 

Q: What is the rate of pay for EPSL leave?

A: The University has decided to pay appointees on EPSL at the appointee’s regular rate of pay. Although the law allows employers to place caps on pay for EPSL, the University has decided not to apply these caps.

Q: How are the paid leave entitlements related to COVID-19 (i.e., UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave and/or EPSL) being funded? To which funding source should locations charge time when an academic appointee is determined to be eligible for paid leave?

A: Locations should charge paid leave to an academic appointee’s regular funding source unless instructed otherwise. There is no systemwide central source of funds.

Q: Can extramural funds be used to pay the salaries of academic appointees who cannot work remotely or whose work is limited due to COVID-19?

Please refer to UCOP’s Research and Innovation Office, Research Policy Analysis and Coordination’s webpage with current information from extramural funders and consult with your local Contracts & Grants/Sponsored Projects office.

Q: In what increments can EPSL be taken?

A: Non-exempt employees who are teleworking may take EPSL as a block leave or intermittently in increments of at least one hour.
• Exempt employees who are teleworking may take EPSL as a block leave or intermittently in whole day increments.
• Employees working onsite may take EPSL for any reason as a block leave but may only take EPSL intermittently if taking EPSL for Reason 5. When taking EPSL intermittently for Reason 5, non-exempt employees may take EPSL in increments of at least one hour, and exempt employees may take EPSL in whole day increments. For public health reasons, employees working onsite who are taking EPSL for Reasons 1-4 or 6 must continue using EPSL until the employee either uses the full amount of EPSL or no longer has a qualifying reason for using EPSL.

Q: Will hourly academic appointees receive paid time off to receive the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine?

A: Yes, hourly academic appointees may take up to four hours of paid time to obtain each dose of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine. Appointees 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.

Q: Can academic appointees use EPAL or EPSL if they get sick from side effects of the SARSCoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine?

A: Yes. If an academic appointee who has EPAL available gets the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine and gets sick from side effects of the vaccine and is unable to work for that reason, the appointee would be able to use EPAL for that time. Alternatively, appointees may request EPSL (Reason 3(e)) for that purpose. If an appointee has exhausted EPAL and/or EPSL or opts not to use them, the appointee would be able to use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, and/or PTO.

Q: What documentation must be provided by the appointee for us?

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 EPSL" 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 2021 EPSL 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 all COVID-19 related leaves taken on this UC San Diego COVID-19 Leave Tracking Spreadsheet template. Tracking is required for University, federal, and state audit purposes, as well as for potential government reimbursement.  

Q: Some schools are operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis. The school is open each day, but students alternate between days attending school in person and days participating in remote learning. The school only permits students to attend school on their assigned in-person attendance days. May eligible academic appointees use EPSL for Reason 5 in these circumstances?

Yes, an eligible academic appointee may use EPSL for Reason 5 on days when the school does not permit their child to attend school in person if the appointee is unable to work or telework for that reason. The school is effectively “closed” to the appointee’s child on days that the child cannot attend in person. An eligible appointee may take EPSL on each of their child’s remote learning days. As an example, an eligible academic appointee may take EPSL on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays if the school does not permit their child to attend school in person on those days.

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. An academic appointee is not eligible to use EPSL for Reason 5 under these circumstances because the child’s school is not “closed” or otherwise unavailable 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.

Q: Who is the authority for 2021 EPSL?

A: The authority for EPSL is the same authority for non-exceptional academic leaves of the same duration.

 

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 or UC San Diego PPM.

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

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

Temporary Remote Work Agreements, Working from Remote

Q: Is there a systemwide FAQ from UCOP with guidance regarding academic appointees temporarily teleworking from overseas?

A: Yes. You may access this FAQ here.

All Temporary telework agreements from overseas will end effective September 2021. Please contact Academic Personnel Services with specific questions.

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 were not academic policy related leaves but were instead agreements between an employee and their supervisor as to which duties would be expected from that appointee and what other considerations must be met for an effective remote working arrangement. Temporary Remote Work Agreements were put into place to give structure and definition to the work expected from remote academic appointees while the campus was operating remotely.

Q: I am a faculty member performing my duties from remote while the campus has not resumed full on-site operations, 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 while the campus has not resumed full on-site operations 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. 

Q: What will happen if I am working remotely either internationally or outside of California and am unable to return because of travel or visa restrictions?

If you are unable to report to UC San Diego when your presence is required on campus, you may be required to take an unpaid leave of absence or to defer your start date and will likely be subject to quarantine periods. Please discuss your specific situation with your Dean’s office as soon as possible in advance of being required to be in residence.

UC EPAL - Eligibility and Tracking By Series

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

A: The qualifying reasons an appointee can take this leave due to being unable work or telework:

  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 it is 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.

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 and President Drake’s Amended 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?

  1. 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 and President Drake’s Amended Executive Ordersigned on November 12, 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 and President Drake’s Amended 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 and President Drake’s Amended 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 EPAL - 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 EPAL 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 and President Drake’s Amended Executive Order signed on November 12, 2020.

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 June 30, 2021 – 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 and President Drake’s Amended Executive Order signed on November 12, 2020.

Q: Can I cash out the Paid Leave if I leave the University before June 30, 2021 and have not used the time?

A: See below:

  • An appointee who separates from the employment of the University before June 30, 2021 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 June 30, 2021 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 and President Drake’s Amended Executive Order signed on November 12, 2020. 

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.