Human Resources FAQs
What resources are available for online instruction?
Instructional Design Services has developed a website and a brochure packed with helpful information, guides, links to help, and online assistance. To visit the website, go to www.athens.edu/keepteaching. To download a copy of the brochure, please click here.
What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The Department’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations pursuant to this new law, effective April 1, 2020.
To comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and to assist employees of Athens State University affected by the COVID-19 outbreak with job-protected leave and emergency paid sick leave, Athens State has developed FFCRA guidelines for employees.
The FFCRA created, among other things, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act temporarily amends and expands the traditional Family and Medical Leave Act until December 31, 2020, to provide job-protected leave to both full-time and part-time employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days by Athens State University. An employee may be entitled to a combined maximum of 12 weeks, including any additional federal FMLA the employee may have taken during the 12-month rolling leave year as defined by Athens State University Policy Number: IV.20.
Who is eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL), and what are the qualifying reasons to use EPSL?
All full-time and part-time employees are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons (as shown below). Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave for reason #5 below (see Emergency Family and Medical Leave, below).
An employee is entitled to take leave related to COVID-19 if the employee is unable to work, including unable to telework, because the employee:
- is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
- is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- is caring for an individual subject to an order described in 1 or 2 above
- is caring for his or her child whose school or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
- is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the secretary of health and human services in consultation with the secretary of the treasury and the secretary of labor.
How much leave can be used as Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?
Eligible full-time employees will have up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave available to use for qualifying reasons. Eligible part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours worked, on average, over a two-week period.
Can I use other forms of paid leave with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?
Yes, employees may use emergency paid sick leave under these guidelines (PDF) before using any other accrued paid time off for the qualifying reasons outlined.
Employees on expanded FMLA leave under this policy may use emergency paid sick leave during the first two weeks of normally unpaid FMLA leave.
An employee may select to supplement the 2/3 pay rate by using accrued and available paid leave (annual, sick, or personal leave) concurrently with EPSL.
How do I request Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)?
Employees must notify the Office of Human Resources of the need and specific reason for leave under the policy. The FFCRA leave request form (DOC) must be completed to officially request this leave; verbal notification will be accepted until practicable to provide written notice.
Will Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) carry over to the following year if I do not use it?
In accordance with EPSLA, the emergency paid sick leave will not extend past December 31, 2020. Any unused emergency paid sick leave will not carry over to the next year or be paid out to employees.
Who is eligible for leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, and what are reasons to use this leave?
All employees who have been employed by Athens State University for at least 30 days may be eligible for Expanded Family and Medical Leave. Eligible employees may take this leave if he or she is unable to work due to a need for leave to care for the employee’s child if the child’s school or childcare provider has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 (reason #5 of qualifying reasons for EPSL).
Defined as it relates to this policy, “Child” means a biological, adopted, or foster child; a stepchild; a legal ward; or a child of a person standing in loco parentis; who is:
- under 18 years of age; or
- 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
“Childcare provider” means a provider who receives compensation for providing childcare services on a regular basis, including:
- A center-based childcare provider
- A group home childcare provider
- A family childcare provider (one individual who provides childcare services for fewer than 24 hours per day, as the sole caregiver, and in a private residence)
- Other licensed providers of childcare services for compensation
- A childcare provider that is 18 years of age or older who provides childcare services to children who are either the grandchild, great-grandchild, sibling (if such provider lives in a separate residence), niece, or nephew of such provider, at the direction of the parent.
(“School” means an elementary or secondary school.)
My child’s school or place of care has moved to online instruction or to another model in which children are expected or required to complete assignments at home. Is it “closed?”
Yes. If the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is “closed” for purposes of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as “distance learning,” your child is still expected or required to complete assignments.
How long can I use leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act?
Eligible full-time and part-time employees are entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave under FMLA/FFCRA. The first two weeks of the 12 weeks’ job-protected leave will be unpaid unless the employee has another form of paid leave available and elects to use that paid leave (such as Emergency Paid Sick Leave).
- After the first two weeks of unpaid leave, the following 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave will be paid at 2/3 the regular rate of pay, for up to a maximum of $200 daily and $10,000 aggregate.
- An employee may supplement the 2/3 pay rate to 100% of the regular rate of pay by using accrued and available paid leave (annual, sick, personal) concurrently with emergency FMLA leave for the remaining 1/3 pay. (Employee may not earn more than 100% of their salary.)
Is all leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) now paid leave?
No. This includes only leave taken because the employee must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or a child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Am I able to telework under the FFCRA?
If feasible and on a case-by-case basis, Athens State University permits employees to telework in lieu of leave under the FFCRA while they are at home or at a location other than their normal workplace. Telework is work for which normal wages must be paid in accordance with FLSA regulations.
What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework, for COVID-19 related reasons?
You are unable to work if there is work available for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of telework.
Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?
You may be eligible for both types of leave but only for a total of 12 weeks of paid leave. You may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
If I take paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Act, does that count against other types of paid sick leave to which I have accrued?
No, paid sick leave as part of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act is in addition to other leave provided.
For more information on resources from Human Resources, visit the COVID-19 Resources for Employees site.