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Expansion of Permissible Use of Accrued Paid Sick Time Extended Through January 31, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, and in order to support the health, safety, and wellbeing of our university community, the temporary expansion of permissible use of accrued paid sick time for COVID-19 related self-quarantine, school closure, place of child-care closure, or lack of availability of child-care that expired on December 31, 2021, has been extended through January 31, 2022.  

Background

After the expiration of COVID-19 related federal leave entitlements, the university temporarily expanded the reasons for which employees who earn paid sick time may use such time, subject to the criteria below in order to provide greater flexibility and support to our employees in navigating the challenges presented by this pandemic.

Effective January 1, 2022, through January 31, 2022, and subject to supervisor approval, employees may use their accrued paid sick time when unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees may request the use of sick time for self-quarantine, school closure, place of child-care closure, or lack of availability of child-care as outlined below.

Eligibility

Under the revised CDC guidelines, employees diagnosed with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days. Employees who are still symptomatic as of day 5 should continue home isolation for another 5 days, for a total of 10 days. Asymptomatic employees or employees whose symptoms are resolved may return to work, fully masked, following the isolation period.

The CDC recommends that employees who received their second mRNA dose more than six months ago (or more than two months for the J&J vaccine) and have not yet received their vaccine booster quarantine for five days if they have had a Covid-19 suspected close contact or exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shots do not need to quarantine following the exposure.

Employees who are unable to work or telecommute and meet one of the criteria detailed below may, subject to supervisor approval, use accrued paid sick time for the following reasons during the month of January:

  • Self-Quarantine: An employee who is unable to telecommute and has been directed by a government agency or on the advice of a healthcare professional to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19 exposure, may use accrued paid sick time for 5-10 consecutive working days to cover the period of self-quarantine in accordance with the CDC guidelines stipulated above;
  • School Closure, Place of Child-Care Closure, or Lack of Availability of Child-Care: An employee caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care has been closed or whose child-care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions may use accrued paid sick time for absences associated with child-care. In the event of a school closure, the employee may use accrued paid sick time for days in which the child cannot physically attend school due to remote learning requirements. Please note that supervisors are encouraged to be as flexible as possible in approving such sick leave use whenever operationally feasible.

Leave Process

  • Self-Quarantine: Employees who cannot work remotely and have been directed to self-quarantine as detailed above should submit, in writing to their supervisor, a request to use 5 working days of their accrued paid sick time to self-quarantine. If symptoms persist beyond the initial 5 days of quarantine, the employee may request an additional 5 days of their accrued paid sick time to self-quarantine. Where feasible, supervisors should make every attempt to provide flexibility for remote work for the period of self-quarantine. The supervisor will be responsible for approving, monitoring, and timely updating of absence records of such accrued paid sick time use.
  • School Closure, Place of Child-Care Closure, or Lack of Availability of Child-Care: Employees who are unable to work due to a school or child-care closure or lack of availability of child-care may submit a written request to their supervisor to use their accrued paid sick time for purposes of these closures. Paid sick time may be used up to and including January 31, 2022, or until the employee's accrued paid sick time exhausts, whichever comes first.  The request for the use of accrued paid sick time should include the child's name and a statement declaring they have no other child-care options available. Please note that in the case of school closures where hybrid arrangements are available, the employee may only apply accrued paid sick time for days where in-person instruction is not available. Where feasible, given the unit's business needs, supervisors should make every effort to provide flexible work schedules and approve requests for the use of accrued paid sick time associated with school closures or child-care needs. The supervisor will be responsible for approving, monitoring, and timely updating of absence records of such accrued paid sick time use.

Special Notes

  • Working Remotely During the Period of Self-Quarantine: If an employee is under self-quarantine, is asymptomatic, and is otherwise able to work, such employee will be required to work remotely if deemed feasible by the supervisor.
  • Probationary Employees: Approved expansion of the permitted use of accrued paid sick time policy shall not count toward the completion of the probationary period for any qualified employee.
  • Staff members shall not be entitled to use accrued paid sick time for the reasons mentioned above unless satisfactory evidence pertaining to the preceding conditions is furnished upon request.

How to Record Absences

Supervisors will be responsible for approving, monitoring, and timely completion of absence records.

  • Absence Reporting System: Paid sick time should be recorded as "sick time" or "NJESL" (to the extent the employee has such time available) as designated by the employee. The expansion does not affect the amount or accrual of paid sick time or NJESL time to which an employee is otherwise entitled.
  • Academic Employees for Whom Sick Time Use is Recorded at the Departmental Level: Paid sick time absences should be tracked and recorded by units in accordance with the processes currently used by each department.

Additional Information

Please note that the temporary expansion of permissible use of accrued paid sick time for COVID-19 related self-quarantine, school closure, place of child-care closure, or lack of availability of child-care does not impact any other leave policies or entitlements.

We would like to recognize again and thank our supervisors and department heads for supporting our employees through continued flexibility, understanding, and compassionate leadership during this global health crisis.

If you have any questions, please contact OneSource Rutgers Faculty and Staff Service Center at 745-7378 (SERV).

Sincerely,

Vivian Fernández
Senior Vice President for Human Resources