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Guidance on taking leave

Given that the situation is evolving, updates may be forthcoming as circumstances change. All decisions will be made with the health and safety of UF’s community in mind and with the guidance of public health authorities.

Unless faced with an exceptional circumstance, faculty and staff should continue to follow their department’s standard practices for requesting time off.

College- and unit-level HR offices may refer to this chart when considering leave requests in light of current complexities such as potential exposure. If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact your HR office for assistance.

We recognize there may be times when employees require additional support that our current policies do not address. If you confront a particularly difficult circumstance, please contact Employee Relations at (352) 392-1072.

In addition to the leave options outlined below, leave-accruing employees may use accrued sick leave, vacation leave or a combination of both for reasons related to COVID-19.

Employees feeling sick

Employees who are feeling unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, should stay home until they recover. Employees may also schedule a COVID test, or vaccine appointment, through their ONE.UF account.


LEAVE QUESTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19

We know these are challenging times for everyone, and we will all benefit from extending flexibility to one another when we are able to do so. Here are some commonly asked questions about how to navigate some personal situations that may arise.

 

I need to stay home to care for my underage child (i.e., under 18-years old) who has been withheld from school. Can I work remotely?

Just as we allow employees who are withheld to work from home if their jobs allow, flexibility may be available to employees if their children are withheld from school—that is, depending upon the employee’s role, it may be possible for an employee to work from home when their child is withheld from school.

If the time required to work from home is for 14 days or fewer (continuous calendar days), the Alternate Work Location approval form is not required, but approval from the employee’s supervisor still is.

If an employee needs to work from home for longer than 14 days, UF’s Alternate Work Location (AWL) policy may be available depending upon your position and assignment. You should discuss with your supervisor the possibility of submitting an AWL request.

If you are an instructor, please see the question below under “teaching remotely” for additional details.

For those jobs that do not lend themselves to working from home, faculty and staff may wish to discuss options for adjusting their schedules with their supervisors. Employees who are unable to report for work and unable to work remotely must use their accrued sick time. Employees who have exhausted all of their personally accrued leave may be eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Leave Donation Plan as outlined in the Emergency Paid Sick Leave section below.

 

Are the COVID-related ADA procedures for requesting an accommodation still in effect?

Faculty and staff may apply for ADA accommodations as they did prior to the pandemic. However, the special circumstances for COVID-related issues that formerly justified waivers in the Spring 2021 semester are not in effect at this time. Please refer to the ADA Office website for more information.

 

Is there any recourse for faculty or staff who are ineligible for the ADA waiver but feel that due to their health, age or family situation would rather not work face-to-face?

Please see the below links regarding leave options.

 

How should I handle taking leave if I am withheld because I tested positive?

You should use your personally accrued leave if you are symptomatic and unable to work remotely. If you exhaust all of your personally accrued leave, you may be eligible to apply for additional leave through the university’s leave donation program that was established at the beginning of the pandemic.

 

Can I apply for paid family leave if I am out for more than ten days?

Paid family leave is only available for major life events and only after 80 hours of sick leave have been used. Unless your situation meets this requirement, you do not qualify for paid family leave.

 

I have the ability to work from home, but my supervisor will not allow me to do so. Can I be required to use leave?

Employees can be required to use leave, and supervisors are also not obligated to allow someone to work from home. It is expected that employees who are ill take sick leave.

 

Should I apply for FMLA leave each time I am withheld?

If your health condition meets the definition of a serious health condition under FMLA, as documented through a certification by a health care provider, then it may be appropriate; however, being withheld from work with no symptoms would not qualify.

 

I am fully vaccinated and have had no known exposure but I am withheld from campus. Why? What should I do?

Please contact UF Health Screen, Test & Protect at (352) 273-9790. Individuals are withheld for many reasons which could include contact tracing. Clearance after being withheld is granted based on a myriad of factors related to your specific case and/or exposure, in combination with your vaccination status. The Screen, Test & Protect team will have the necessary information to advise you on when you may be cleared for campus or if any further action is required.

 


TEACHING REMOTELY

 

I was recently withheld from campus; can I teach remotely?

Yes, provided that you are not sick, your chair/director approves and the total number of days you teach remotely is 14 or fewer consecutive days (not business days). If you are sick, you must take sick leave and inform your chair, who will find alternative means to provide instruction. All chairs/directors will receive an email from UF Health Screen, Test & Protect (STP) if a faculty member is withheld from campus by STP.

 

I need to stay home to care for my underage child (i.e., under 18-years old) who has been withheld from school. Can I teach remotely?

Yes, provided that the total time is 14 or fewer consecutive days (not business days) and your chair/director approves. Otherwise, you must take sick leave and inform your chair, who will find alternative means to provide instruction. If a child is withheld from school for more than 14 contiguous days, you must submit an AWL request to continue teaching remotely.

 

I am currently sick but not withheld from campus. Can I teach remotely?

No. Illness requires you to take sick leave, and teaching is not allowed (face-to-face or remotely) while on sick leave. However, in some circumstances of temporary disability (e.g., a broken leg), an ADA accommodation can be requested and may be granted to allow remote instruction.

 


Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Emergency paid sick leave that was provided with the passing of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act has expired as of December 31, 2020. Please visit the DoL’s Wage and Hour Division’s FFCRA Questions and Answers page to learn more about workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities after this date.

Employees who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have exhausted all their personally accrued leave, may use the COVID-19 Leave Donation Plan by completing a leave request application. An employee is adversely affected if the disaster has caused severe hardship to the employee or to their immediate family members and requires the employee to be absent from work.