Understanding Enhanced HR Policies for Employees in Response to COVID-19

UMSL Campus Resources can be found on the Working Well tab on the Human Resources website. If you are unable to attend the Zoom meetings on Wednesday at 12:30, the link will be posted within 24 hours after.

UM System Resources:

On Monday, April 20 there was a webinar in response to Covid-19 & HR Policy 700. Below are questions that were asked and answers.

Please visit Working Through COVID-19 website for the FFCRA form and further information.

Follow-up Question Topics  

  1. The Presidents email indicated that as of April 12thAdministrative Leave was no longer available. Can you please clarify this?

The administrative Leave in the Presidents email was referring to the “temporary measures” from March 23 – April 12th” where administrative leave was previously granted to employees who were unable to work. After April 12, FFCRA paid leave became effective. However, the HR-700 still allows administrative leave for the following:

  • Quarantine or Isolation. Up to 15 days if the University or public health authorities direct an employee to remain away from the worksite because the employee has been exposed or is reasonably believed to have been exposed to the coronavirus causing COVID-19. To the extent remote work is not feasible, the employee will be granted up to 15 days of paid leave. In addition to any FFCRA Paid Sick Leave available under I.C.i, the employee will receive paid administrative leave as needed to cover up to 15 working days. See section C.iii.b. for details.
  • Limited Closure. Up to 30 days. See section F for details.
  1. Can I use interim FFCRA Sick Leave if my workload has decreased while I am teleworking?

It depends. There are several factors that might answer this question.

  • Employees are deemed “unable to work” under the FFCRA regulations if their supervisor has work available and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents them from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at the normal worksite or by means of telework.
  • Employees should work through their individual situation with their supervisor and HR Business Partner/Consultant to determine the reason for the decreased work load. In many situations, it may be due to the stay-at-home orders we are currently experiencing; however, a deeper understanding of the units operations is necessary to know for certain.

 

  1. If an employee uses some or all of the 15 days deficit vacation days, how will these hours be paid back?

When an employee earns vacation, the new accrued hours will pay back the negative vacation balance. Sick/personal days will not be used to pay back the negative vacation balance. If an employee ends employment before accruing sufficient leave to reach a zero or positive balance, the University may withhold an amount equivalent to the value of the negative leave balance from the employee’s compensation to the extent such negative leave balance is not attributable to FFCRA Expanded FMLA Leave. See HR-700 section IV.

 

  1. May probationary employees use vacation days?

Yes. Probationary employees may use accrued vacation and sick leave per HR-700, including the enhanced leave identified in this HR-700 (15 days’ vacation deficit). See HR-700 section D.

 

  1. Does this leave apply to benefit-eligible employees only, or does it also apply to part-time employees?

HR-700 applies to benefit-eligible and part-time employees. However, the policy does not provide additional university paid vacation, sick or personal days to part-time employees. The only additional paid time available to part-time employees is FFCRA leave. Please review HR-700 for details.

 

  1. How is ‘two weeks pay’ determined for FFCRA leave? Is this business days or work days?

FFCRA defines two weeks based on the average number of hours worked over a two workweek period. The University defines a “workweek” as Sunday through Saturday. To calculate how many hours of FFCRA sick leave the employee will receive, a 1.0FTE employee will receive 80 hours of FFCRA Sick Leave to use for approved qualifying reasons. Less than 1.0FTE employees will receive hours based on the average hours worked over the past six-month period.

These hours are then added to a “FFCRA Sick Leave bucket” which the employee may then apply to their timesheet in order to receive pay.

These hours may be used until exhausted, over any period of time which is needed based on the approved qualifying reason.

  1. Can an employee complete the FFCRA form and then not use it?  

Yes. The hours, once approved, are added to a leave bucket for the employee. They are not automatically paid out. It is up to the employee, supervisor or timekeeper to add the hours to the timesheet in order to be paid. If the employee ends up working instead, the FFCRA hours will remain available for future use, based on the previously approved qualifying reason.

  1. For school/day care closures, HR-700 and FFCRA are both available. What factors should an employee choose when making the decision?
  • If you are unable to telework while caring for an immediate family member, you may use accrued sick leave up to 30 days. You may also use vacation, compensatory, or personal days and up to 15 days of unearned vacation leave for this purpose.
  • Under FFCRA, if the family member is your child you may also be eligible for up to 12 weeks of Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave. The first two weeks may be paid by FFCRA Paid Sick Leave at 2/3 pay or you may choose to substitute available University paid leave described above. After the first two weeks, you must use the available University paid leave described above. After that is exhausted, the remaining time will be FFCRA Expanded FMLA Leave at 2/3 pay. FFCRA leave to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed is limited to a maximum of 12 weeks, including FFCRA Paid Sick Leave, FFCRA Expanded FMLA Leave, and University paid leave.
  • The school and daycare closure policy (including FFCRA leave) does not apply to employees in University of Missouri Health Care, employees with job duties involving clinical care operations that are continuing, and other health care providers and emergency responders designated by the University System’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

The factors to decide include when to use your own paid-time-off, which pays at 100% of your regular rate of pay; or use the FFCRA sick leave which pays at 66.7% of your regular rate of pay.

  1. Is Administrative Leave available to use instead of FFCRA?

FFCRA is available for the following qualifying reasons:

Administrative leave is currently available, per HR-700, for the following reasons:

  • Quarantine or Isolation. Up to 15 days if the University or public health authorities direct an employee to remain away from the worksite because the employee has been exposed or is reasonably believed to have been exposed to the coronavirus causing COVID-19. To the extent remote work is not feasible, the employee will be granted up to 15 days of paid leave. In addition to any FFCRA Paid Sick Leave available under I.C.i, the employee will receive paid administrative leave as needed to cover up to 15 working days. See section C.iii.b. for details.
  • Limited Closure. Up to 30 days. See section F for details.

While there may be overlap between the FFCRA qualifying reasons #2 and HR-700 definition of quarantine/isolation, there are also differences.

  • Administrative leave, under the policy requires “the university or public health authority to direct the employee to remain away from the worksite”.
  • Additionally, the policy requires that “any FFCRA Paid Sick Leave available under I.C.i, the employee will receive paid administrative leave as needed to cover up to 15 working days.”
  • In other words, the administrative leave is not in addition to FFCRA sick leave, it is in combination with FFCRA sick leave.
  • See HR-700 C.ii.B
  1. Will regular paycheck deductions occur from FFCRA paid leave?

Yes, an employees regular payroll deductions will continue to occur.

 

  1. Does FFCRA Expanded FMLA provide additional weeks of FMLA, in addition to regular FMLA 12 weeks?

No. FFCRA FMLA does not provide additional weeks. If an employee has already used a portion of their 12-weeks FMLA, they may utilize the remaining FML available if approved. The FFCRA extended family and medical leave does not extend the amount of leave available to employees. The FFCRA extended family and medical leave does, however, provide an additional qualifying reason to be eligible for FMLA.

  1. Can employees apply for unemployment after using FFCRA?

The decision to award unemployment benefits is not the Universities decision. Employees may apply for an eligibility determination to the Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security.

The Department of Labor’s website has information regarding the application process: https://labor.mo.gov/des.