Ohio University

Employee Leave Under the FFCRA

Update:

Please note: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020.

Effective January 1, 2021, FFCRA-designated leave will no longer be available.  Employees with coronavirus-related leave needs may still qualify for traditional leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides leave for various qualifying circumstances including an employee’s own serious illness or medical need or that of a qualifying family member. Employees are also encouraged to use accrued sick, personal, vacation, or compensatory time in accordance with policy as needs arise. University Human Resources continues to encourage employees and supervisors to implement flextime and flexplace arrangements to the extent possible, to ensure business continuity while recognizing and meeting employee needs.

Employees and supervisors with questions are encouraged to reach out to University Human Resources.


Overview

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was signed into law on March 18th and is in effect April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The FFCRA provides additional paid sick time and expands family and medical leave (FML) through the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act as outlined below. This website provides important definitions, an overview of eligibility, process information, tools and guidelines, and frequently asked questions.

For more information, please contact your HR Liaison.

Important Definitions

  • “Emergency sick leave” – means paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). Emergency sick leave is different than any sick time an employee may have accrued with OHIO.

  • “Expanded family and medical leave” – means paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).

Eligibility Overview

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

All eligible employees of Ohio University, regardless of start date or full-time status, are qualified to take up to two-weeks of leave (maximum of 80 hours).  Employees will either receive their regular rate of pay, up to a $511 per day (for a maximum of $5,110 over the two-week period), or 2/3 of their regular pay up to $200 per day (for a maximum of $2,000 over the two-week period), depending on why they take this leave.

Employees will be paid at their regular rate of pay up to a total of $511 per day (for a maximum of $5,110 over the two-week period) under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act if the employee:

  1. is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19; or
  3. is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;

Similarly, employees will be paid at 2/3 their regular rate of pay, up to $200 a day (for a maximum of $2,000 over the two-week period), if the employee:

  1. is caring for an individual subject to an order described in (1) or self-quarantine as described in (2);
  2. is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  3. is experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Expanded Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

Furthermore, eligible employees who have been on payroll for at least 30 days prior to the start of their leave are generally qualified for 12 weeks (or 10 additional weeks following two weeks of emergency sick leave) when the employee is caring for their child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons. This leave period is paid at 2/3 of the employee’s normal rate of pay up to a limit of $200 per day (up to a maximum of $10,000 over the 10-week period or $12,000 over the 12-week period including emergency sick leave). It is important to note that this expansion does not provide more than the 12 weeks of FML already provided within a rolling calendar year and does not eliminate any of the existing coverage for qualified reasons under FML; this expands upon eligible reasons for using such leave and provides for a minimum partial payment under some circumstances.

Process Overview

Employees needing to take leave under FFCRA should:

  1. Notify their immediate supervisor of their leave requirement as soon as possible;
  2. Complete and submit the employee FFCRA Leave Request Form (PDF);
  3. Designate their leave time in Workforce or Absence Management; and
  4. Submit required supporting documentation to University Human Resources within 15 days of the start of the leave period. For information about approved supporting documentation, please refer to the FFCRA leave affidavit.

*PLEASE NOTE: Both Workforce and Absence Management systems have been updated effective 4/7/20 and are ready for leave time entry. Time entry may be retroactive to 4/1/20 as needed.


University Human Resources encourages managers and employees to collaborate to achieve maximum flexibility to meet the needs of both individuals and departmental business needs during this time. While some example scenarios are addressed in the FAQs below, employees and supervisors are encouraged to work with their HR Liaison to address any relevant questions or concerns.

Resources and Forms

What is the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020 and extend through December 31, 2020.

How will OHIO count hours worked by a part-time employee for purposes of emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

A part-time employee is entitled to leave for the average number of work hours in a two-week period. Therefore, OHIO will calculate hours of leave based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work based on their assigned schedule in workforce (for non-exempt hourly employees) or based on the assigned FTE (for exempt employees). For example, a 1.0 FTE employee would be eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency sick leave and an additional 10 weeks at 40 hours per week of expanded emergency FML while a .5 FTE employee (or an employee with a 20-hour standard work schedule in workforce) would be eligible for up to 40 hours of emergency sick leave and an additional 10 weeks at 20 hours per week of expanded emergency FML.

When calculating pay due to employees, will required overtime hours be included?

Yes. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires OHIO  to pay an employee for hours the employee would have been normally scheduled to work even if that is more than 40 hours in a week. 

However, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act requires that emergency sick leave be paid only up to 80 hours over a two-week period. For example, an employee who is scheduled to work 50 hours a week may take 50 hours of emergency sick leave in the first week and 30 hours of emergency sick leave in the second week. In any event, the total number of hours paid under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is capped at 80.

If the employee’s schedule varies from week to week, please see the answer to Question 2, because the calculation of hours for a full-time employee with a varying schedule is the same as that for a part-time employee.

Please keep in mind the daily and aggregate caps placed on any pay for paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave as described in the answer to Question 4.

Please note that pay does not need to include a premium for overtime hours under either the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act or the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

May I use my accrued PTO instead of using leave under the FFCRA?

It depends. If you are taking emergency sick leave, you may substitute any accrued vacation leave, comp time, personal days, or sick leave you have with OHIO.  Please note, however, accrued sick time may not be used for childcare needs due to COVID-19 related closures of your child(ren)’s school, daycare, or childcare provider.

If you are taking expanded family and medical leave, you may take any emergency sick leave you may have remaining for the first ten days of that leave period (paid at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day or $2,000) or you may substitute any accrued vacation leave, comp time, or personal days you have with OHIO. For the following ten weeks of expanded family and medical leave allotted by FFCRA, you will be paid for your leave at 2/3 of your regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day or $10,000 for the additional ten-week period) for the hours you would be normally scheduled to work OR you may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, comp time, or personal days you have accrued with OHIO at your normal rate of pay in lieu of the 2/3 pay allowed under FFCRA.

May I take 80 hours of emergency sick leave for my self-quarantine and then another amount of emergency sick leave for another reason provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act?

No. You may take up to two weeks—or ten days—(80 hours for a full-time employee, or for a part-time employee, the number of hours equal to the average number of hours that the employee works over a typical two-week period) of emergency sick leave for any combination of qualifying reasons. However, the total number of hours for which you receive emergency sick leave is capped at 80 hours under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

If I am home with my child because their school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, do I get emergency sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, or both—how do they interact?

You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only for a total of twelve weeks of paid leave subject to the pay caps outlined above. You may take both emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave at (up to the above noted pay caps for the 2/3 pay rate) if it has not already been taken for another qualifying reason. This period thus covers the first ten workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act unless you elect to use accrued vacation, comp time, personal days, or sick leave under OHIO’s policy. After the first ten workdays have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day or $12,000 for the entire 12-week period) for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent ten weeks under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act OR you may elect to substitute accrued vacation, comp time, or personal days at your regular rate of pay. Normal accrued sick time may not be used in this instance.

Is all leave under the FMLA now paid leave?

No. The only type of family and medical leave that is paid leave is expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act when such leave exceeds ten days. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

Are the emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?

No.

How do I know whether I have “been employed for at least 30 calendar days by OHIO” for purposes of expanded family and medical leave?

You are considered to have been employed by OHIO for at least 30 calendar days if you have been on payroll for the 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day your leave would begin. For example, if you want to take leave on April 1, 2020, you would need to have been on the payroll as of March 2, 2020.

Because of the unique nature of intermittent and temporary employees, including instructional faculty, determination will be made by assessing whether or not the employee has received pay within the last 30 days. Intermittent employees will only be eligible to utilize leave if they have been specifically directed to work but are unable to do so because of a covered reason.

What documents do I need to give University Human Resources to get emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

You are entitled to emergency sick leave if you are unable to work or telework due to a qualifying reason related to COVID-19. To initiate your FFCRA leave of absence (for any of the six reasons noted above), you should notify your immediate supervisor as soon as possible, complete the employee FFCRA leave affidavit (and submit to University Human Resources), and submit supporting documentation to University Human Resources within 15 days of your leave start date.
 

Supporting documentation for your leave may include a copy of the Federal, State or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or written documentation by a health care provider advising you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19, written documentation by a healthcare provider designating you as a qualified caregiver due to concerns related to COVID-19, or written notice of closure from your child(ren)’s daycare provider or school due to COVID-19 related reasons. Need for such notice of closure or unavailability from your child’s school, place of care, or child care provider, may be met by a notice that may have been posted on a government, school, or day care website, published in a newspaper, or emailed to you from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider.
 

University Human Resources must retain this notice or documentation in support of expanded family and medical leave, including while you may be taking unpaid leave that runs concurrently with emergency sick leave if taken for the same reason. Please also note that all existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency sick leave because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA as typically required.

When am I able to telework under the FFCRA?

All employees who can complete all or a portion of their work remotely were instructed to transition to a remote work environment beginning Monday, March 16. Remote work (also referred to as “telework”) is work for which normal wages will be paid and, therefore, is not compensated under the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA. For more information about working remotely, please visit the Managing Flex Arrangements website.

What does it mean to be unable to work, including remote work or telework for COVID-19 related reasons?

You are unable to work if your manager has work for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons set forth in the FFCRA prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.

If you and your manager agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work (paid normally) and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule.

If I am or become unable to telework or work remotely, am I entitled to emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave?

If you are unable to perform the tasks currently assigned to you – including those implemented as part of a telework or remote work agreement – or work the required hours currently assigned to you, because of one of the qualifying reasons for emergency sick leave, then you are entitled to take emergency sick leave. 

Similarly, if you are unable to perform those teleworking tasks or work the required teleworking hours because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, then you are entitled to take expanded family and medical leave. Of course, to the extent you are able to telework while caring for your child, emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave is not available.

May I take my emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave intermittently while working remotely or teleworking?

You may take leave under FFCRA in intermittent, full-day increments if you are unable to telework your normal schedule of hours due to one of the six qualifying reasons. In that situation, you may take emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave intermittently while teleworking. For example, you may work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as normally scheduled while taking Tuesday and Thursday as intermittent emergency sick leave.

That said, University Human Resources encourages managers and employees to collaborate to achieve flexibility and meet mutual needs, and is supportive of such voluntary arrangements that combine telework and intermittent leave as needed. For example, (assuming it works for both supervisor and employee) the supervisor may approve an altered schedule wherein the employee may work 6-10 a.m. and 5-9 p.m. to include a full 8-hour day without needing to use any FFCRA leave. 

Absence management users, please be advised: when taking leave under FFCRA intermittently, please be aware that each incremental instance must be submitted separately. For example, if an employee needs to take three full days, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, that leave must be entered as three separate leave requests in Absence Management. Alternatively, if an employee needs to take leave Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday – while that still totals three days of the ten day allowance – the time may be entered as one, consecutive, three-day request in Absence Management.

May I take my emergency sick leave intermittently while working at my usual worksite (as opposed to teleworking)?

It depends on why you are taking emergency sick leave and whether your manager agrees. Unless you are teleworking, emergency sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments. It cannot be taken intermittently if the leave is being taken because:

  • You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • You are caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or
  • You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Unless you are teleworking, once you begin taking emergency sick leave for one or more of these qualifying reasons, you must continue to take emergency sick leave each day until you either (1) use the full amount of emergency sick leave or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking emergency sick leave. This limit is imposed because if you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of FFCRA is to provide such emergency sick leave as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others. 

If you no longer have a qualifying reason for taking emergency sick leave before you exhaust your emergency sick leave, you may take any remaining emergency sick leave at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.

In contrast, if you and your manager agree, you may take emergency sick leave intermittently if you are taking emergency sick leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons. For example, if your child is at home because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you may take emergency sick leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to care for your child, but work at your normal worksite on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

University Human Resources encourages managers and employees to collaborate to achieve maximum flexibility. Therefore, if managers and employees agree to intermittent leave in full work day increments for employees taking emergency sick leave to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19-related reasons, University Human Resources is supportive of such voluntary arrangements.

May I take my expanded family and medical leave intermittently while my child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if I am not teleworking?

Yes, but as noted above, only with your manager’s permission and in full-day increments. Intermittent expanded family and medical leave should be permitted only when you and your manager agree upon such a schedule. For example, if your manager  and you agree, you may take expanded family and medical leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but work Tuesdays and Thursdays, while your child is at home because your child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, for the duration of your leave.

University Human Resources encourages managers and employees to collaborate to achieve flexibility. Therefore, if managers and employees agree to intermittent leave on a day-by-day basis, University Human Resources supports such voluntary arrangements. See the example provided in the question above for more details.

If I elect to take emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave, will OHIO continue my health coverage?

You are entitled to continued group health coverage, including any family coverage in which you are enrolled, during your expanded family and medical leave on the same terms as if you continued to work. You must continue to make any normal contributions to the cost of your health coverage.

As an employee, may I use OHIO’s pre-existing leave entitlements and my FFCRA emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave concurrently for the same hours?

No. If you are eligible to take emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA, as well as paid leave that is already provided by your employer, you must choose one type of leave to take. You may not simultaneously take both.  You cannot supplement the amount you receive from emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA, up to your normal earnings, with preexisting leave. For example, if you are receiving 2/3 of your normal earnings from emergency sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA you may not use your preexisting employer-provided paid leave to get the additional 1/3 of your normal earnings so that you receive your full normal earnings for each hour.

Who is a son or daughter under FFCRA?

Under the FFCRA, a “son or daughter” is your own child, which includes your biological, adopted, or foster child, your stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom you are standing in loco parentis—someone with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. For additional information about in loco parentis, see Fact Sheet #28B: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for birth, placement, bonding or to care for a child with a serious health condition on the basis of an “in loco parentis” relationship.

In light of Congressional direction to interpret definitions consistently, WHD clarifies that under the FFCRA a “son or daughter” is also an adult son or daughter (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who (1) has a mental or physical disability, and (2) is incapable of self-care because of that disability. For additional information on requirements relating to an adult son or daughter, see Fact Sheet #28K and/or call the Department of Labor toll free information and help line available 8 am–5 pm, 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

If you are an eligible employee, you are entitled to emergency sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA.

Your eligibility for expanded family and medical leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month rolling calendar period used for FMLA. You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA or expanded family and medical leave reasons during a 12-month period. If you have taken some, but not all, 12 workweeks of your leave under FMLA during the current 
12-month period, you may take the remaining portion of leave available. If you have already taken 12 workweeks of FMLA leave during this 12-month period, you may not take additional expanded family and medical leave. 

For example, assume you are eligible for preexisting FMLA leave and took two weeks of such leave in January 2020 to undergo and recover from a surgical procedure. You therefore have 10 weeks of FMLA leave remaining. Because expanded family and medical leave is a type of FMLA leave, you would be entitled to take up to 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave, rather than 12 weeks. And any expanded family and medical leave you take would count against your entitlement to preexisting FMLA leave.

May I take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act over the next 12 months if I used some or all of my expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?

It depends. You may take a total of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month rolling calendar period under the FMLA, including the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. If you take some, but not all 12, workweeks of your expanded family and medical leave by December 31, 2020, you may take the remaining portion of FMLA leave for a serious medical condition, as long as the total time taken does not exceed 12 workweeks in the 12-month period. Please note that expanded family and medical leave is available only until December 31, 2020; after that, you may only take FMLA leave.

For example, assume you take four weeks of Expanded Family and Medical Leave in April 2020 to care for your child whose school is closed due to a COVID-19 related reason. These four weeks count against your entitlement to 12 weeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period. If you are eligible for preexisting FMLA leave and need to take such leave in August 2020 because you need surgery, you would be entitled to take up to eight weeks of FMLA leave.

However, you are entitled to emergency sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA. Paid sick leave is not a form of FMLA leave and therefore does not count toward the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period cap. But please note that if you take emergency sick leave concurrently with the first two weeks of expanded family and medical leave, which may otherwise be unpaid, then those two weeks do count towards the 12 workweeks in the 12-month period.

If I take emergency sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, does that count against other types of emergency sick leave to which I am entitled under State or local law, or OHIO policy?

No. Paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is in addition to other leave provided under Federal, State, or local law; an applicable collective bargaining agreement; or existing OHIO policy.

May I use emergency sick leave and expanded family and medical leave together for any COVID-19 related reasons?

No. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act applies only when you are on leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. However, you can take emergency sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act for numerous other reasons.

Who is a “health care provider” for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for emergency sick leave?

The term “health care provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for emergency sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.

Am I eligible and how much time will I have available under the FFCRA if I am an Instructor, Early Retiree, and or term or temporary salaried administrator?

You will need to contact University Human Resources at 740-593-1636 or uhr@ohio.edu for UHR to determine eligibility and available time under the FFCRA.

My question has not been answered here. Where can I find more information?

Employees are encouraged to contact their HR Liaison with any questions regarding FFCRA. Additional information is also available through the Department of Labor FAQ.