New COVID-19 Paid-Time-Off Bank Supports Faculty and Staff

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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 reduced work, illness or child care needs, these time banks provide welcome relief during this stage of the pandemic,” said Rich Holcomb, associate vice president for Human Resources.

Holcomb recognized the dedication and creative problem solving of faculty and staff during the pandemic in an April 1 campus email announcing the new bank of paid time.

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 an additional bank of time.

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.

“You can expect further guidance by the end of April,” Holcomb said. “It is likely that the pandemic will cause disruption for months rather than weeks, so judicious use of the available paid-time-off options is recommended. We will continue to monitor the university impacts, public health advice, and regulatory guidance.”