Working during COVID-19

Expanded Family & Medical Leave Act

Updated October 15, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expands the existing federal Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover child care responsibilities. Between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, employees who have been on UW’s payroll for at least 30 days, are unable to work or telework, and need to provide child care due to a COVID-19 related school or child care closure can apply for Expanded FMLA.

Unable to work or telework

An employee is considered unable to work if UW has work available and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents them from being able to perform that work, either at their normal work location or through telework.

To the extent the employee is able to telework while caring for their child, Expanded FMLA is not available. If both the employee and the department mutually agree that the employee will work their normal number of hours, but outside of their normal work schedule (e.g., working early in the morning or late at night), then the employee is considered able to work and Expanded FMLA is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents them from working that schedule.

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Qualifying criteria

Employees can apply for Expanded FMLA if the UW has work available but the employee is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for a child under 18 years of age because their school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons. A school or place of care is considered closed if the physical location is closed. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or through other learning formats where a child is expected or required to complete assignments.

As part of the application process, employees will need to provide basic information related to their child care situation, including certifying that no other person (such as a co-parent) will be providing child care during the period the employee is receiving FMLA. Employees with a child older than 14 whose care occurs during daylight hours will be asked to attach a statement that special circumstances exist requiring that the employee provide care.

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Eligible employees

Employees paid wages are eligible as long as they have been on the payroll for at least 30 days prior to the date they take Expanded FMLA leave, meet the qualifying criteria above, and have not already exhausted their pre-existing FMLA entitlement if applicable.

As of September 16, 2020, certain positions within the medical centers, Hall Health, Rubenstein Pharmacy, and some positions within the School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy listed on this FFCRA Exempt Job Profile list remain ineligible for Emergency Paid Sick Time Off and Expanded FMLA as they either meet the healthcare provider or emergency responder definition or are critical to maintaining operations during the public health emergency. While ineligible for FFCRA, these positions have access to worker’s compensation and administrative leave for COVID-related reasons.

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Amount and pay

The first 10 days of Expanded FMLA are unpaid, but may be paid through the employee’s Emergency Paid Sick Time Off. Employees are not required to use other paid time off (e.g. UW sick or vacation) before using Expanded FMLA.

The remaining 10 weeks are paid at 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate of pay, up to $200 daily ($10,000 total). For hourly employees, the rate of pay is the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes such leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type OR if the employee didn’t work over such a period, the reasonable expectation of the average number of hours per day that the employee would normally be scheduled to work.

Research Compliance has confirmed that the paid time off taken under Expanded FMLA is an allowable charge on a grant budget.

Top up

Classified staff, FLSA nonexempt professional staff, temporary hourly staff, hourly paid academic student employees, and student hourly employees may use their existing UW sick time off balances concurrently to “top up” to 100 percent of wages. Top up entries do not reflect the amount of time an employee is absent – only the amount of sick time off used to equal the amount of wages used to “top up” above the EFMLA amount, not to exceed 100 percent of wages. For example, for each full-day absence, the EFMLA time off entry reflects the amount of time absent in hours.  The “FFCRA Top Up Sick Time Off (hours)” represents wages only. Together, the hours entered for both EFMLA and top up may exceed the scheduled hours in the day.

Top Up entries are made on a per pay period basis. This Top Up Calculator can be used to figure out the number of sick time off hours to enter per pay period, based on information in an employee’s Earnings and Actuals Report R0100.2  For employees interested in entering top up hours in Workday, ISC has published these instructions.

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Interaction with FMLA and other time offs

If an employee was already FMLA eligible prior to the FFCRA, taking FMLA for the COVID-19 qualifying condition counts against the employee’s existing FMLA entitlement (12 workweeks/480 hours prorated for part time employment). If an employee has previously exhausted their FMLA entitlement, the employee will be ineligible to take COVID-19 related Expanded FMLA.

Employees are not required to use other paid time off (e.g., UW sick or vacation) before using Expanded FMLA, but only classified staff, FLSA nonexempt professional staff, temporary hourly staff, and student hourly employees may use their existing UW sick time off balances concurrently to “top up” to 100 percent of wages.

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Interaction with furlough

Employees are not eligible for Expanded FMLA during a furlough period.

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Intermittent use

When the UW has work available and the employee is teleworking, Expanded FMLA may be used because the employee is unable to work their regular number of hours during telework due to a COVID-19 related reason. In this case, Expanded FMLA may be used in partial days to account for missed work hours.

If an employee’s job requires presence at the workplace, intermittent Expanded FMLA is allowed only when the employee and their department agree upon such a schedule. For example, if the employee and department agree, the employee could take Expanded FMLA on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but come to the workplace on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while their child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

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Duration

If the employee no longer has a qualifying reason for taking Expanded FMLA, it may be used at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if the qualifying reason reoccurs. For example, if an employee’s child returns to school because their school reopens, but their school closes again at a later date, the employee may continue to use Expanded FMLA until their entitlement expires or until December 31, 2020, whichever comes first.

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Requesting Expanded FMLA

Medical center employees: Employees should contact their Leave Specialist directly to request Expanded FMLA.

Campus employees:

  1. Submit your request through Workday, selecting the leave of absence “LOA – General Leave Request – COVID-19 FFCRA Emergency – Family.”
  2. Complete and sign the FFCRA Paid Expanded Family and Medical Leave form FFCRA – Expanded FMLA Request Form (MS Word) and submit to Campus HR Operations by mail, email or fax.
  3. Your leave specialist will review your request and inform you of next steps. Upon approval, you will be placed on “LOA – COVID-19 FFCRA Childcare Emergency (FMLA Approved)” and eligible for FMLA tracking time offs specific to COVID-19 and a paid time off entry for the paid component of FMLA:
    1. “Tracking Time Off – EFMLA COVID-19 FFCRA Childcare Emergency (hours)” (used for the first 10 days of the EFMLA leave of absence).
    2. “Paid Tracking Time Off – COVID-19 FFCRA EFMLA (hours)” (used for the remainder of the EFMLA leave of absence).
  4. Employees are responsible for working with their HR/AHR Partners to ensure they konw the amount of time off used each day. HR/AHR Partners are responsible for entering hours and tracking for each day into Workday.

The FFCRA workplace poster containing employee rights under both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act is available at: hr.uw.edu/workplace-posters/.

Any of the foregoing policies may be revised in accordance with additional federal guidance and/or regulations interpreting the FFCRA.

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Changes to policy

Prior to September 16, 2020, when changes to the definition of health care provider under the FFCRA took effect, all positions within the medical centers and Hall Health and some positions within the School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy were ineligible for Emergency Paid Sick Time Off and Expanded FMLA:

  • “Clinically active” faculty — defined as all faculty who are members or associate members of UWP or CUMG (including MD’s, Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), PA’s).
  • Residents and fellows — defined as members of UWHA.
  • Senior fellows and/or senior fellow trainees in non-ACGME training programs who are credentialed as providers through GME.
  • All classified and professional staff in the Department of Laboratory Medicine.
  • All classified and professional staff in the medical centers.
  • All Hall Health employees.
  • All Rubenstein Pharmacy employees.

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Changes to policy

Prior to September 16, 2020, when changes to the definition of health care provider under FFCRA took effect, all positions within the medical centers and Hall Health and some positions within the School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy were ineligible for Emergency Sick Time Off and Expanded FMLA:

  • “Clinically active” faculty — defined as all faculty who are members or associate members of UWP or CUMG (including MD’s, Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), PA’s).
  • Residents and fellows — defined as members of UWHA.
  • Senior fellows and/or senior fellow trainees in non-ACGME training programs who are credentialed as providers through GME.
  • All classified and professional staff in the Department of Laboratory Medicine.
  • All classified and professional staff in the medical centers.
  • All Hall Health employees.
  • All Rubenstein Pharmacy employees.

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