Coronavirus Resources

Federal Leave FAQs

New Federal Employee Paid Sick Leave & Expanded Family and Medical Leave, and UTA Emergency Leave

Beginning on April 1, 2020, UTA will offer COVID-19 employee paid sick leave (EPSL) and expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML) to all eligible UTA employees (excluding health care providers and first responders) pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).[1]  The leave provided under the FFCRA does not modify an employee’s right to use sick, personal, or vacation time, as set forth in our current policies. Rather, these new provisions expand UTA’s employee benefits by requiring that UTA temporarily grant additional leave to certain employees due to COVID-19. To apply, please contact Leave Services at 817-272-5554 or email: Rosa Newman rnewman@uta.edu or Paul Thompson paul.thompson@uta.edu.

[1] This memorandum is subject to change based on forthcoming regulations from the Department of Labor, issued guidance, or other legal authority.

Employee Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Overview

  • 2 weeks (up to 80 hours for FT; prorated for PT)
  • Full pay or 2/3 pay (depending on reason), subject to pay caps
  • 6 different reasons (details below):
    • Ordered quarantine or isolation
    • Self-quarantine or isolation
    • COVID-19 symptoms and seeking diagnosis
    • Caring for individual under quarantine or isolation or with COVID-19 symptoms
    • Caring for own child due to school closure/unavailability of childcare
    • Substantially similar condition determined by Dept. of HHS

Expanded Paid FMLA (EFML) Overview

  • Up to 12 weeks (paid after first 10 days)
    • Weeks 1-2 unpaid unless substitute other paid leave, incl. EPSL
  • Weeks 3-12: 2/3 pay, subject to pay caps
  • 1 reason only:
    • Caring for own child due to school closure/unavailability of childcare

UTA Emergency Leave

Upon recommendation by the Vice President of Human Resources, the President or designate of the University may make a determination on other reasons for emergency leaves and shall grant an emergency leave, when in his/her determination, the employee shows good cause for such leave.

Contact your supervisor if you cannot work remotely and have exhausted all paid leave options including FFCRA (listed above), and wish to apply for Emergency Leave. Your request must include a statement of good cause for taking Emergency Leave, and an affirmation that you intend to return to work at the conclusion of Emergency Leave. Your supervisor will contact the Vice President of Human Resources to submit the request. The Vice President of Human Resources or designee will notify the employee of the decision electronically.

New Federal Employee Paid Sick Leave & Expanded Family and Medical Leave Procedure During The COVID-19 Emergency

Effective Date:  April 1, 2020
Expiration Date:  December 31, 2020

I. Procedure Purpose

This procedure is being implemented at the direction of the U.S. Department of Labor in order to provide temporary leave options for employees affected by the COVID-19 emergency.

II. Applicability

This procedure covers all UTA Staff, Faculty, and Student Employees.

III. Responsibility

Employees are responsible to contact the Office of Human Resources and their supervisor to make them aware of the need for leave. This leave program is available on a temporary basis from April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020. Retaliation against an employee for taking approved leave is prohibited. Payment for this leave will come from the department budget.

IV. Procedure

If you wish to apply, please contact Leave Services by email using the FFCRA Leave Request form (pdf).

FFCRA Leave FAQs

When can eligible employees use EPSL and EFML?

April 1 – December 31, 2020.

Who is an “eligible employee” for EPSL? For EFML?

For EPSL: Employees are eligible from their first day of employment. There is no waiting period. It is immediately available upon hire. Certain Health Care Providers (detailed below) and First Responders may be excluded from coverage.

For EFML: Employees must have been employed with UTA for at least 30 calendar days. Certain Health Care Providers (detailed below) and First Responders may be excluded from coverage.

For both EPSL and EFML: Both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for both types of leave.

What are the reasons that an eligible employee can take EPSL?

An eligible employee who is not a health care provider or first responder and unable to work (or telework) may take EPSL for one of the following reasons:

  1. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and also seeking a medical diagnosis;
  4. The employee is caring for an individual (not required to be a family member) who is subject to an order as described in paragraph 1 or has been advised as described in paragraph 2;
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

What is the reason that an eligible employee can take EFML?

School closure/unavailability of childcare: An eligible employee who is not a health care provider or first responder and unable to work (or telework) may take EFML when an emergency has been declared by a federal, state, or local authority related to COVID-19 and the employee is unable to work (or telework) because the employee must care for a son or daughter under age 18 whose elementary or secondary school or place of care has been closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19.

Who are the excluded “Health Care Providers”?

Due to the ongoing capacity challenges facing our health care system, UTA has made the difficult decision to not extend these leave benefits to certain employee health care providers and first responders. The exemption is expressly authorized by the new law. While we believe it is critical to keep all of our workforce families safe and healthy, we must also continue to deliver vital clinical services and campus safety and security services to our community.

“Health Care Providers” who are excluded from these new leave benefits include employees and residents, who are:

  • doctors of medicine or osteopathy authorized to practice medicine or surgery in Texas and who are performing within the scope of their practice for UTA;
  • clinical psychologists and psychiatrists authorized to practice in Texas and who are performing within the scope of their practice for UTA; or
  • nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, clinical social workers, or physician assistants authorized to practice in Texas and who are performing within the scope of their practice for UTA.

What amount of leave and pay are eligible employees entitled to receive under the EPSL? Under the EFML?

EPSL

  • Eligible full-time employees are entitled to two weeks of paid time off (up to 80 hours total).
  • Eligible part-time employees are entitled to the typical number of hours they are scheduled to work in a two-week period.
  • EPSL payments are subject to the following limitations:
    • If an employee takes EPSL for reasons 1, 2, and 3 above, the paid leave is at the employee’s normal rate of pay, up to $511/day (or $5,110 in the aggregate).
    • If an employee takes EPSL for reasons 4, 5, and 6 above, the paid leave is at 2/3 the employee’s normal rate of pay, up to $200/day (or $2,000 in the aggregate). Employees may supplement the remaining one-third (1/3) regular rate of pay by using accrued state paid leave.

EFML

  • The first 2 weeks (10 days) of EFML are unpaid.
    • An employee may elect to use accrued vacation or compensatory time (including EPSL) to be paid during the first 10 days of EFML. Employees may not elect to use accrued state sick leave, which cannot be used for child care reasons.
  • After the first two weeks, employees are entitled to 10 weeks of EFML paid at two-thirds (2/3) of the employee’s regular rate for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work, subject to a cap of $200/day or $10,000 in the aggregate.
    • Employees may supplement the remaining one-third (1/3) regular rate of pay by using accrued state paid leave.
    • Eligible full-time employees are entitled to 40 hours of pay each week.
    • Eligible part-time employees are entitled to pay for the average number of hours that they would otherwise be normally scheduled to work.
    • If an eligible employee works a varying schedule such that the number of hours the employee would have otherwise worked is not known with certainty, the employee is entitled to the average number of hours the employee was scheduled per day over the prior 6 months or, if the employee did not work over that period, the reasonable expectation at hiring of the average number of hours the employee would work per day.

Does the EFML extend employees’ 12-week traditional FMLA entitlement by an additional 12 weeks?

No. EFML temporarily provides an additional reason to take FMLA leave, but it does not entitle employees to a combined 24 weeks of leave. The combined total leave permitted under the FMLA, including the new reason for leave related to school closures/unavailability of childcare, is subject to the 12-week maximum in any 12-month period. Employees who have already exhausted their FMLA are not eligible to take EFML until the employee has accrued additional FMLA time pursuant to the normal statutory FMLA leave requirements.

How much EPSL and EFML is an employee entitled to due to school closures/unavailability of childcare?

An eligible employee who is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to a declared public health emergency related to COVID-19, is eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid leave, conditioned upon the employee’s available FMLA leave.

This maximum entitlement is calculated by combining two weeks of EPSL with up to subsequent 10 weeks of EFML. However, if an employee exhausts EPSL and does not have other accrued state paid leave (vacation or compensatory time), the first two weeks of EFML will be unpaid.

Summary:

  • First 80 hours/two weeks: unpaid EFML
    • Employees may substitute other accrued paid state leave, such as vacation or comp time, or EPSL school closure/unavailable childcare leave at 2/3 rate of pay; either state leave or EPSL would run concurrently with the first two weeks of EFML.
  • Remaining 10 weeks: paid at 2/3 of employee’s regular rate, for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work; maximum payment of $200/day and $10,000 total.

Does the EFML change an employee’s entitlement to use traditional FMLA if the employee or the employee’s family member becomes sick due to COVID-19?

EFML does not impact an employee’s normal rights under the FMLA. If an employee needs to request leave for a traditional FMLA-qualifying reason, they should contact Human Resources Leave Services or follow the processes set forth in Family and Medical Leave Act policy HR-LA-PR4 .

Will an employee be restored to their position if the employee’s position is eliminated while the employee is out on EFML?

Generally, yes, employees returning from EFML will be restored to their original or an equivalent position.

Are employees required to provide advanced notice of the need for leave?

EPSL: After the first workday (or portion thereof) an employee receives EPSL, the employee must provide advanced notice prior to taking additional leave whenever possible.

EFML: The employee must provide as much notice of leave as is practicable when the need for leave is foreseeable.

What documentation must employees submit to the institution to support the need for leave?

Employees must submit online a completed Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Request Form (pdf).

Employees requesting EPSL for reason 1 may be required to provide the name of the government entity that issued the order. Employees requesting EPSL for reasons 2, 3 and 4 may be required to submit a note from a health care provider to support the leave of absence. Employees requesting EFMLA for reason 5 to request leave to care for your child whose place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, may be required to provide: 1) the name of your child; 2) the name of your school, place of care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable; and 3) A statement that no other suitable person is available to care for your child.

May employees top off or supplement their pay with other state accrued paid leave if they are on EPSL or EFML and receiving less than their regular rate of pay?

Yes. Employees receiving 2/3 pay due to taking EPSL for reasons 4, 5, or 6 or EFML are permitted to supplement their 2/3 rate of pay by using vacation, compensatory, or state sick leave.

Can the institution require employees to exhaust their state accrued paid leave before using EPSL?

No.

May an employee use EPSL or EFML intermittently?

Yes. This answer is subject to change based on DOL guidance.

Can employees carry over unused EPSL beyond December 31, 2020?

No. 

Can employees take EPSL or EFML due to school closure or unavailability of childcare if their son or daughter is not their biological child?

Yes. Children are defined as any biological, adopted, foster, stepchild, legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis (e.g., grandparents caring for grandchildren). The child must be under the age of 18, unless the child is incapable of self-care due to mental or physical disability. 

If an employee can perform their job duties remotely but cannot work due to a COVID-19-related school closure or unavailability of childcare is the employee still eligible to use EPSL or EFML?

Yes, if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child’s childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19.

Are employees paid out for unused EPSL or EFML upon separation or death?

No.

Is EPSL or EFML time credited for TRS and ORP?

Yes. This answer is subject to change based on TRS guidance.

Has the institution posted the official federal government notice regarding the FFCRA?