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3.1.49 COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence

The University recognizes the unique challenges presented by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact it has on the ability of faculty and staff to return to campus. In response, the University has developed the COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence to address those situations when an employee may wish to postpone their return but the basis for that postponement does not qualify the employee for a leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA, see policies 3.1.12a and 3.1.48). 

Eligibility

This additional leave of absence option, specifically related to COVID-19, is available from 06/15/2020 through 12/31/2020 for the following employment types: 

  • Tenure track faculty
  • NTT faculty
  • Graduate Assistants 
  • Faculty associates, continuous and non-continuous 
  • Administrative Professional employees, continuous and non-continuous 
  • Civil Service employees (does not include temporary, student, or extra help appointments)

Employees are not automatically eligible for a COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence. To be eligible for a COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence, the employee's department must have determined that full-time remote work is not available, and the employee must: 

  • Have documentation from a medical professional consistent with guidelines established by the CDC that returning to work on campus between June and December is not recommended because: 
    1. The employee is included in the group identified at higher risk for severe illness if exposed to COVID-19; or
    2. A member of the employee's household is included in the group identified at higher risk for severe illness if exposed to COVID-19; or
    3. Someone for whom the employee is responsible for care is included in the group identified at higher risk for severe illness if exposed to COVID-19; OR
    4. The employee is unavailable for full-time work on campus because the employee is caring for:
      • The employee's child under the age of 18, 
      • A child under the age of 18 for whom the employee has legal guardianship, 
      • A child who has been placed with the employee for foster care, or 
      • The employee's child who is over the age of 18 but requires assistance with activities of daily living as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act

due to closure of the child's school or place of care, change in school schedule and/or method of instruction, or if the childcare provider is unavailable for COVID-19 reasons. 

Leave Increment and Requirements

 

Leave Requested for Reasons #1 through #3

Given the nature of a COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence for Reasons #1 through #3, such leaves will be permitted only on a continuous basis.  An employee using leave for these reasons will not be permitted to work intermittently on campus during the approved leave of absence time period; however, employees may, with the approval of their department, be allowed to work a continuous reduced schedule to perform those limited duties that can be accomplished remotely.  Civil service and administrative professional employees working remotely with a reduced schedule will be required to complete the Temporary Work at Home agreement as provided for in the Redbird Return Plan.

Leave Requested for Reason #4

COVID-19 Related Leaves of Absence requested for Reason #4 will be allowed on a continuous or intermittent basis.  Employees requesting leave to work an intermittent or reduced schedule either on campus or remotely must receive supervisor agreement and Human Resources approval for the proposed schedule. Civil Service or administrative professional employees working remotely, either intermittently or on a reduced schedule, will be required to complete the Temporary Work at Home agreement as provided for in the Redbird Return Plan. 

Payable Time Usage and Benefit Implications

Employees will be required to use any available benefit time during this leave of absence. Payable benefit time includes sick (including sick leave earned prior to 12/31/97), vacation, personal days (faculty associates only), and compensatory time. 

Employees approved for a COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence, regardless of the reason, will also be granted temporary access to the Extended Illness benefit which is normally reserved for an employee's own serious health condition or Parental Leave. 

During the time that the employee remains in a paid status with Illinois State University, the employee will continue to accrue sick, and, if applicable, vacation time as well as have normal payroll deductions for insurance and other benefits. 

If the employee does not accrue benefit time or if the COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence continues beyond the exhaustion of all available benefit time, the employee will be automatically moved to an unpaid leave of absence and benefit accruals will cease. Concurrently, if the employee is enrolled in the State of Illinois Group Insurance Program, the employee will be placed on a Personal Leave with the State of Illinois Group Insurance Division and will be direct billed by the State of Illinois for insurance premiums.  As required by CMS, the employee is ineligible for the State-contribution of premium costs and will, therefore, be responsible for the entire cost of any insurance coverage in place during the Personal Leave. Failure to submit payment to the State of Illinois for premiums may result in cancellation of coverage. 

Notification of Leave and Required Documentation 

When the need for leave is foreseeable, employees should notify Human Resources of the request for leave at least 15 days prior to the proposed start date of leave. 

Employees will be held to the begin and end dates indicated on the leave application form. A request to begin or end a leave on a date other than the original date may be subject to the availability of suitable work based on the department's need at the time of the request. 

Employees requesting a leave must complete the application form found on the Human Resources website and send it to hrbenefits@ilstu.edu or return the form to Human Resources at 101 Nelson Smith Building, Campus Box 1300. 

Required documentation, as described below, must be provided to Human Resources within 15 calendar days, absent extenuating circumstances, from the proposed start date of leave. 

Documentation for leaves requested for reasons #1 through #3

Employee must provide written documentation from a medical provider substantiating the need for the leave of absence. 

Documentation for leave requested for reason #4

Employee must provide the name and age of the child (or children) to be cared for, the name of the school that has closed, altered its normal schedule, or changed its method of instruction or the place of care that is unavailable, and a representation that the employee's presence is necessary to provide care for the child (or children) during the period for which the employee is receiving a COVID-19 Related Leave of Absence.  With respect to the need to provide care for a child older than fourteen during daylight hours, a statement in support of the need for care will be required. 

If an employee is found to have falsified the need for leave, the employee may be denied the leave and/or may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. 

Your Rights/Appeal

If you have been denied leave and choose to appeal, please forward your written appeal to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources at 101 Nelson Smith Building, Campus Box 1300 or via email to covid19_hrquestions@ilstu.edu within 15 days from the date of your denial. 

Initiating body: Vice President for Finance & Planning

Contact: Associate Vice President for Human Resources  (309-438-8311)

Implemented on: 07/2020


2020-07-09T10:11:32.139-05:00 2020
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