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Frequently Asked Questions - E-FMLA and EPSLA

Effective May 9, 2020

  1. What is the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”)?

    The Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) created the Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which provides paid time off for certain COVID-19-related absences through December 31, 2020.

  2. How much leave am I entitled to under the EPSLA and at what rate of pay?

    Eligible employees who are unable to work or telecommute and meet one of the criteria detailed in Question 3, below, may be provided with up to 80 hours (prorated for part-time employees) of EPSLA leave at their regular rate of pay.Such leave is available through December 31, 2020.

    Please note that under the EPSLA, employers are only required to provide paid leave to employees up to certain daily pay limits set forth in the statute, which vary depending on the reason for which the employee is taking leave. Rutgers has elected to pay employees taking EPSLA leave their full regular rate of pay, which may exceed the amount required to be paid by this law.

  3. For what reasons can I take paid leave under the EPSLA?

    Eligible employees may request EPSLA leave under the following circumstances:

    • The employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
    • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been directed to self-quarantine by a government agency;
    • The employee is under self-quarantine or isolation due to concerns related to COVID-19 based on the advice of a health care provider or pursuant to public health assessment recommendations concerning suspected exposure to COVID-19;
    • The employee is providing care to an immediate family member or other individual with whom the employee has a similar relationship (such as an individual with whom the employee resides or an individual with whom the employee has a close relationship and who expects and depends on the employee’s care) who is subject to the provisions above;
    • The employee is 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.
  4. Who is eligible to take leave under the EPSLA?

    All employees are eligible to take leave under the EPSLA. However, certain healthcare providers and emergency responders are not permitted to take EPSLA leave to care for their son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable, absent extraordinary circumstances. See Questions 18, 19, and 20 below.

  5. Who should I contact if I wish to utilize the paid leave available to me under the EPSLA?

    On or after May 9th, you should contact OneSource and forward appropriate documentation within five (5) business days of your initial absence. You should also let your supervisor know that you will be absent and will charge EPSLA time for the absence.

    Employees transitioning from Rutgers COVID-19 Paid Leave (CPL) to EPSLA will have until May 22nd to apply for EPSLA and provide supporting documentation without an interruption in leave or the requirement to charge other accrued paid time off.

    Please note, you are not required to disclose your medical diagnosis to your supervisor. Diagnosed employees are advised to stay home and follow medical direction regarding treatment and absence from work.

  6. How soon can I submit my request for EPSLA and/or E-FMLA to OneSource?

    You may submit your request for EPSLA and/or EFMLA to OneSource on or after May 9, 2020.

  7. If I currently have an approved COVID-19 Paid Leave (CPL), will it automatically transition to leave under EPSLA and/or E-FMLA?

    If you are currently on CPL and need leave beyond May 8, 2020 for one of the COVID-19 related reasons listed in question three (3), you will need to submit a new request to OneSource.

  8. What is the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“E-FMLA”)?

    As part of the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the E-FMLA allows employees to utilize up to 12 weeks of leave when the employee is unable to work (or telecommute) because of the closure or unavailability of their son or daughter’s school, place of care or child care provider. Under the E-FMLA, employees may be entitled to paid leave taken for this purpose, subject to the limit set forth in the statute.

  9. Who is eligible to take leave under the E-FMLA?

    All employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days are eligible to take leave under the E-FMLA. However, certain healthcare providers and emergency responders are not permitted to take E-FMLA leave absent extraordinary circumstances. See Questions 18, 19, and 20 below.

  10. For what reasons can I take leave under the E-FMLA?

    Eligible employees may request leave under the E-FMLA where they are unable to work (or telecommute) due to closure or unavailability of their son or daughter’s school, place of care or child care provider.

  11. How much leave may I take under the E-FMLA?

    Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave under the FMLA in a 12-month period. Through December 31, 2020, eligible employees may use their existing leave entitlement under the FMLA when unable to work due to the unavailability of their son or daughter’s school, place of care, or child care provider. Leave taken for this purpose will count towards the employee’s 12-week leave entitlement under the FMLA.

    All other terms of FMLA leave shall be followed, except that, for the purpose of E-FMLA, the university will apply the leave prospectively and not deduct previous FMLA time. However, E-FMLA shall count as FMLA leave prospectively.

  12. Will I be paid while on E-FMLA leave and, if so, at what rate of pay?

    Under the E-FMLA, up to 12 weeks of leave may be taken due to the unavailability of their son or daughter’s school, place of care, or child care provider, and the employee is entitled to paid leave during this period. The first two weeks of E-FMLA are unpaid except that the employee may elect to apply their available EPSLA time or other accrued paid time off (Vacation, Administrative Leave, Personal Holiday, Mandatory Leave (RBHS only), or New Jersey Earned Sick Leave (“NJESL”)) to be charged concurrently with the first two (2) weeks of leave taken under the E-FMLA.

    For the remaining period of up to ten (10) additional weeks of the employee’s E-FMLA leave entitlement, employees may choose either (i) to receive 2/3 their regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day, or (ii) charge available accrued paid time off to receive their full regular rate of pay (Vacation, Administrative Leave, Personal Holiday, Mandatory Leave (RBHS only), or New Jersey Earned Sick Leave “NJESL”). Employees who exhaust accrued Vacation, Administrative Leave, Personal Holiday, Mandatory Leave (RBHS only), or New Jersey Earned Sick Leave (“NJESL”) shall then receive 2/3 their regular daily rate of pay or up to $200 per day for the remaining period of their E-FMLA leave entitlement.

  13. Who should I contact if I wish to utilize the leave available to me under the E-FMLA?

    On or after May 9th, the employee should contact OneSource and forward appropriate documentation verifying the closure of their son or daughter’s school or place of care or the unavailability of a child care provider. Such documentation should be submitted to OneSource. You should also notify your supervisor that you will not be reporting to work.

  14. What type of documentation will I be required to submit?

    Employees seeking to take leave under the EPSLA or E-FMLA must submit documentation that reflects the following: (1) The employee's name; (2) the date(s) for which leave is requested; (3) the COVID-19 qualifying reason for leave; and (4) a statement representing that the employee is unable to work or telecommute because of the COVID-19 qualifying reason.

    In addition, depending on the basis of the employee’s request for leave, the employee must submit the following additional information:
     

    1. If you are requesting paid sick leave under the EPSLA because you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are seeking a diagnosis of COVID-19, you should provide documentation from your health care provider or complete the COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS CERTIFICATION FORM if you had consulted with a health care provider via telemedical consultation.
    2. If you are requesting paid sick leave under the EPSLA because you are self-quarantining or self-isolating, you must provide
      1. the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which you are subject or
      2. the name of the health care provider who advised you to self-quarantine for COVID-19 related reasons.
    3. If you are requesting paid sick leave under to care for an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is self-quarantining or self-isolating at the direction of a government entity or on the advice of a healthcare provider, you must provide documentation that identifies either:
      1. the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order to which the individual is subject or;
      2. the name of the health care provider who advised the individual to self-quarantine or;
      3. complete the COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS CERTIFICATION FORM if the individual for whom you are caring for had consulted with a health care provider via telemedical consultation.
      4. If you are requesting to take EPSLA or E-FMLA leave to care for your child, you must provide the following information:
        1. The name of the child being care for;
        2. the name of the school, place of care, or child care provider that closed or became unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons; and
        3. a statement representing that no other suitable person is available to care for the child during the period of requested leave.
  15. What is the time frame to submit appropriate documentation to OneSource?

    Appropriate documentation must be received by OneSource within five (5) business days of the initial absence, if feasible.

    If such documentation is not received within two (2) weeks from the initial date of the absence, the employee will be required to charge applicable accrued paid time off (Sick and Sick Leave (excluding for E-FMLA), Vacation, Administrative Leave, Personal Holiday, Mandatory Leave (RBHS Only), or New Jersey Earned Sick Leave (“NJESL”)) for the absence.

    Employees transitioning from Rutgers COVID-19 Paid Leave (CPL) to EPSLA will have until May 22nd to apply for EPSLA and provide supporting documentation without an interruption in leave or the requirement to charge other accrued paid time off.

  16. Who is a son or daughter for purposes of the FFCRA?

    A “son or daughter” is 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 who is (i) under 18 or (ii) 18 years of age or older and has a mental or physical disability, and is incapable of self-care because of that disability.

  17. Can I take EPSLA and/or E-FMLA intermittently?

    You may request to take intermittent EPSLA and/or E-FMLA leave however, upon initiating your request with OneSource, you will be required to provide a standard workweek schedule which you have identified days you will be working (or telecommuting) and the days for which you will charge against your EPSLA and/or E-FMLA entitlement.

    OneSource will update the Absence Record System (ARS) for staff taking EPSLA and/or E-FMLA intermittently, based on the days for which you identified you will be charging EPSLA and/or E-FMLA. Please note, any leave time charged against your EPSLA and/or E-FMLA entitlement will be applied as full-day increments.

    If you only require a partial leave day, you may use another applicable type of available leave (Sick and Sick Leave (excluding for E-FMLA), Vacation, Administrative Leave, Personal Holiday, Mandatory Leave (RBHS only), or New Jersey Earned Sick Leave (“NJESL”)).

  18. Who is considered to be a “health care provider” who may not be eligible to take leave under the EPSLA or E-FMLA to care for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable?

    For the purposes of the EPSLA and/or E-FMLA, a “health care provider” is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, Employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions.

    This definition includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of these institutions described above to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility where that individual’s services support the operation of the facility. This also includes anyone employed by any entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments.

  19. Who is an “emergency responder” who may not be eligible to take leave under the EPSLA or E-FMLA to care for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable?

    For the purposes of the EPSLA and/or E-FMLA, an emergency responder is anyone necessary for the provision of transport, care, healthcare, comfort and nutrition of such patients, or others needed for the response to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, child welfare workers and service providers, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency, as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility.

  20. What is the process for Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders to request an exception for EPSLA and/or E-FMLA to care for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable?

    Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders should submit their requests to OneSource in accordance with Questions 18 and 19 above.

    OneSource will review the information provided by the employee and work with the employee’s department to determine if an exception based on the extraordinary circumstances can be granted. OneSource will advise the employee of the outcome of this review.

  21. Will I need to provide documentation to return to work after being on EPSLA?

    You will need to provide a release note from a health care provider or complete the COVID-19 RETURN TO WORK CERTIFICATION FORM and submit the form to OneSource if you were on leave for any of the following reasons:

    1. You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
    2. You have been providing care to an immediate family member or other individual with whom you have a similar relationship (such as an individual with whom the employee resides or an individual with whom the employee has a close relationship and who expects and depends on the employee’s care);
    3. You have been advised that your symptoms are highly suspected to be a diagnosis of COVID-19; or,
    4. An immediate family member or other individual for whom you are providing care has been advised that his/her symptoms are highly suspected to be a diagnosis of COVID-19.
  22. Will unused paid leave available under the EPSLA or E-FMLA be paid out upon separation of employment?

    Paid leave provided under the EPSLA and E-FMLA is not paid out upon separation of employment.

  23. What should I do if I need to remain out and I have exhausted my EPSLA entitlement?

    Employees who have exhausted EPSLA time but are still in need of additional leave should contact OneSource to explore whether other forms of leave may be available, such as leave under university policy and/or the terms of applicable collective negotiations agreements, accrued and available paid time off, or leave as a disability-related accommodation.

  24. Is the probationary period for probationary employees affected by E-FLMA and/or EPSLA?

    Approved E-FMLA and EPSLA shall not count toward the completion of the probationary period for any qualified employee.

  25. Are Casual and Student Employees eligible for E-FMLA and/or EPSLA?

    Casual and Student employees who are unable to report to scheduled work shifts due to circumstances provided above may also be eligible for E-FMLA and/or EPSLA. In addition, Casual and Student employees may be eligible to charge earned New Jersey Earned Sick Leave (“NJESL”) for such absences.