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Temporary Expansion of Permissible Use of Accrued Paid Sick Time

Dear Colleagues,

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 set to expire on May 31, 2021 has been extended through December 31, 2021.

BACKGROUND

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“E-FMLA”) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) expired on December 31, 2020. In recognition of the continued need to navigate this global public health emergency, to increase public safety, and to protect employees and the university community as much as possible, the university temporarily expanded the reasons for which employees who earn paid sick time may use such time, subject to the criteria below.

Effective January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 and subject to supervisor approval, employees may use their accrued paid sick time when unable to work or telecommute due to COVID-19 for reasons of self-quarantine, school closure, place of child care closure, or lack of availability of child care as outlined below. Please note that this temporary expansion of permissible use of accrued paid sick time use may be revisited prior to December 31, 2021 should legislation be passed which provides for other COVID-19-related leave entitlements.

EXPANDED USE OF ACCRUED PAID SICK TIME

Eligibility:

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:

  1. 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, pursuant to COVID-19 exposure, may use accrued paid sick time for up to 10 consecutive working days to cover the period of self-quarantine;
  2. 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 is not able to physically attend school due to remote learning requirements. Please note that supervisors are encouraged to be as flexible as possible in approval of such sick leave use whenever operationally feasible.

Leave Process:

  • Self-Quarantine - Employees who are unable to work remotely and have been directed to self-quarantine as detailed above should submit in writing, to their supervisor, a request to use up to 10 working days of their accrued paid sick time for purpose of 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 the approval, monitoring, and timely update 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 should submit in writing, to their supervisor, a request to use their accrued paid sick time for purposes of school closure up to and including December 31, 2021 or until the employee’s accrued paid sick time exhausts, whichever comes first.
  • The request for use of accrued paid sick time should include the name of the child 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 business needs of the unit, supervisors should make every effort to provide flexible work schedules and approve requests for use of accrued paid sick time associated with school closures or child care needs. The supervisor will be responsible for the approval, monitoring, and timely update of absence records of such accrued paid sick time use.

Special Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. Probationary Employees - Approved expansion of the permitted used of accrued paid sick time policy shall not count toward the completion of the probationary period for any qualified employee.
  3. Staff members shall not be entitled to use accrued paid sick time for the reasons indicated above unless satisfactory evidence pertaining to the preceding conditions is furnished upon request.

How to Record Absences:

  • Supervisors will be responsible for the approval, 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 Which 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 unit.

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 again recognize 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