The University of Michigan has established an emergency paid-time-off policy for faculty and staff to help minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employees.

Effective immediately, employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of paid time to be used in the case of quarantine, isolation and family care needs related to COVID-19 exposure, illness or other related scenarios, such as a temporary lack of work.

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The emergency policy window is time-limited with an end date to be determined when more is known about the evolving pandemic and associated public health risk.

This policy applies to faculty and staff on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses and in Michigan Medicine. Additional paid time is available for Michigan Medicine employees who need quarantine as a result of caring for confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Part-time employees are eligible for a prorated amount of time based on their appointment fraction. Temporary employees, including student temporaries, are also eligible for a prorated amount of time based on typical hours worked.

Employees should use this COVID-19 paid time off, when the absence is for one of the approved reasons, before any other paid or unpaid time off.

In the event that an employee’s emergency COVID-19 paid time off is exhausted, normal university time off policies will apply for additional time off needs.

Using the new time off

To use this new COVID-19 paid time off, employees should follow their normal process of reporting absence and requesting time off. It should be reported on employee timesheets using the new “RPN” code, followed by the new tracking code “PAN.”

Those that don’t report time in a central time-keeping system will have to track use of the time locally.

Employees on paid time off are currently required to use five days of PTO before accessing extended sick. This new time can be used as that bridge for COVID-related illness rather than their PTO balance during the emergency policy window.

The time can be used intermittently as needed and approved. It does not renew, carry-over or pay-out when the emergency policy window closes.

Employees covered by collective bargaining units also are eligible for this new temporary paid time off. Union members should consult their contracts for eligibility of other paid-time-off benefits.

Managers are encouraged to approve employee requests for time off due to COVID-19. Requests may be denied if a unit is unable to maintain minimally required levels of staffing.

Encouraging remote work and flexibility

There might be situations where a faculty or staff member is not sick but directed to stay at home to quarantine, or needs to provide child care as a result of the statewide school closures. In these cases, departments are encouraged to support remote work arrangements for employees whose duties can be performed off-site before requiring employees to use time off.

Options for remote work arrangements include full-time work off-site as well as alternating between remote and on-site locations. For example, an employee may have supervisor approval to work remotely Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and work on-site Tuesday and Thursday.

In his recent message to the university, President Mark Schlissel asked managers to provide opportunities for employees to work remotely when possible, encouraging flexibility and creativity.

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