New COVID-19 paid time off bank supports faculty and staff

April 2, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

The University of Michigan is providing a new bank of 80 hours of paid time off for COVID-19-related absences as guided by the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

This new time, effective April 1, is in addition to the university’s COVID-19 emergency paid-time-off bank and can be used for child care due to school or day care closure, lack of work associated with COVID-related isolation, personal illness, quarantine or care of an ill or quarantined family member.

Part-time and temporary staff are eligible for a proportional amount of the 80 hours.

For faculty and staff working from home, these banks of time may not be needed. For others with illness or child care needs, or possible reduced work, these time banks provide welcome relief during this stage of the pandemic.

“The past few weeks have brought unprecedented challenges for our teams and prompted dramatic changes in our system. So many of our employees have come through with amazing dedication to caring for our patients and keeping each other safe,” said Deloris Hunt, chief human resources officer for Michigan Medicine. 

Faculty and staff should immediately begin using the new EPSLA time if needed for the approved purposes. Once that time is exhausted, employees can use the remaining balances in their existing COVID-19 PTO bank, as needed.

Michigan Medicine employees in direct patient care roles also have access to a special-use PTO bank of up to 120 hours paid time off for those who need to isolate as a result of contracting COVID-19 while providing direct care for confirmed COVID-19 patients.

If regular faculty or staff members exhaust both banks of time before April 30, the university will provide additional hours to their COVID-19 bank to cover the remainder of time in April needed for COVID-related absences. This also applies to temporary staff for scheduled work hours.

Afterward, if EPSLA and COVID-19 paid time is used up, employees may use approved vacation, sick and PTO according to regular guidelines. The university is still considering plans going forward beyond April.

The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act also provides use of Family Medical Leave for extended absences associated with child care due to school and day care closures. Both paid-time-off benefits expire Dec. 31, 2020.

Details of these paid-time-off policies, timekeeping codes and eligible uses can be found on the University Human Resources website. Employees are encouraged to review the information before completing timesheets to help ensure the correct sequence and coding of time off.

Further guidance will be provided by the end of April. It is likely that the pandemic will cause disruption for months rather than weeks. Judicious use of the available paid time off benefits are recommended given the potential time horizon.

Visit the HR FAQs on Headlines for the latest information about time-off benefits and eligibility, child care resources, and redeployment guidance. Information will be updated regularly. 

“Thank you to our faculty and staff for working together, collaborating on innovative solutions and making sure that the safety of our patients and employees is a top priority,” said Hunt. “Your dedication is a true example of how we are living out our mission of advancing health to serve Michigan and the world.”