FAQs: COVID-19 Paid Time Off

Updated 12/9/21

This page contains frequently asked questions about available time off programs for COVID-19-related scenarios. Read Paid Time Off Information During COVID-19 Pandemic for complete information. 

Using Paid Time Off Programs

Q: For what purpose can employees use the university’s COVID-19 paid time off?
A: Paid time off benefits under this program supports pandemic-related absences such as quarantine, isolation or family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure, illness or other related scenarios, such as child care due to public health closure of daycares or on days when schools are offering only virtual instruction. Temporary lack of work related to a public health order or university operational guidance may also be a permitted use. Read about this program
Q: Who is eligible for paid time off under this program?
A: This program applies to faculty and staff on all campuses and in Michigan Medicine. Part-time employees, including student employees, will be eligible for a prorated amount.
Employees hired after June 7, 2020 are not eligible for COVID-19 PTO.  Employees who accepted a voluntary furlough are no longer able to access COVID-PTO.
Q: How much COVID paid time off are part-time staff (including student employees) eligible to receive?
A: COVID-19 PTO offers paid time of up to 80 hours for a full time employee. Part-time employees receive a prorated amount of time based on their appointment effort. Temporary employees receive a proportional amount based on their typical work schedule. Units are responsible for determining the appropriate number of hours of COVID-19 paid time off for their temporary staff. Part-time and temporary employees are encouraged to contact their supervisor to confirm eligibility and the amount of COVID-19 paid time off.
Q: How do I request use of paid time off?
A: Employees should follow their normal process of reporting absence and requesting time off. Faculty who are requesting time off and are unsure of their academic unit's process for requesting sick leave time should consult with their department chair or associate dean to determine how to request and report the time off.
Q: How do I report this time on my timesheet?
A: Employees can report COVID-19 PTO time using the “RPN” code followed by the “PAN” code for tracking. Those that don’t report time in a central time-keeping system will have to track use of the time locally. See a sample timesheet:
A sample timesheet showing use of the RPN and PAN codes
Note: Administrators approving time will see more hours reported than usual because of the two codes being used. The employee will not be overpaid because only RPN is used for payment. 

Child and Family Care

Q: Are employees able to take COVID-19 PTO because their children’s schools are only offering virtual instruction?
A: Yes. When possible, departments are encouraged to allow employees to work remotely and be flexible with arrangements.
If remote work is not possible, employees may use the temporary emergency paid time off banks (up to 80 hours for full-time employees) or existing time off policies.
Q: My child’s school is open, but I’m concerned about safety because of COVID-19. Can I use COVID-19 PTO instead?
A: If the school is open for in-person instruction, you can, request vacation, paid time off, unpaid time off or an unpaid personal leave. If the school schedule alternates between virtual and in-person instruction, you may use COVID-19 PTO on the days with virtual instruction. You might also consider asking for a reduction in your appointment effort if necessary. 
Q: Can grandparents use COVID-19 PTO to care for grandchildren while the parent(s) work and school or daycares are closed or operating virtually?
A: Employees can only use COVID-19 PTO if the grandparent has responsibility for the care of the grandchildren. 

Time Off for Illness

Q: Can employees use COVID-19 PTO to care for a family member who has contracted COVID-19 or is being quarantined?
A: Yes. Once the COVID PTO balance is exhausted, sick time and paid time off (PTO) can be used to care for sick family members. Employees should follow guidelines from local public health departments to protect their safety.
Q: Are employees required to use sick time or paid time off if they are directed to stay home?
A: When possible, departments are encouraged to allow employees to work remotely if they are directed to stay home from work by a healthcare provider or government health agency, or university operational guidance.
For employees who are unable to work remotely, COVID-19 paid time off may be used first before other forms of paid or unpaid time off (e.g. vacation, paid time off or excused time without pay). Employees who are too sick to work may also use COVID-19 PTO before other sick time or paid time off.
For additional information on sick time benefits, reference the staff handbook or applicable collective bargaining agreement.
As of June 17, employees who are idle due to a lack of work can no longer charge that effort to a federal award. Visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects website for more information.
Q: If an employee has a documented health condition (e.g., low immunity or higher risk for complications, etc.) may they request to stay home from work?
A: Employees who wish to work remotely due to a health condition should submit a request to Work Connections and follow the steps outlined on their website.