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The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML) from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. UNC-Chapel Hill implemented the FFCRA policy effective May 1, 2020. FFCRA benefits only apply when employees have work available but cannot work or telework due to Reasons 1 – 6 under the FFCRA.

As permitted by the FFCRA, the University has made the decision to exempt UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine employees, under the “health care providers” exemption, and certain other groups of designated employees, under the “emergency responders” exemption, from both EPSL and EFML provisions because their skills and services are deemed critically necessary to fulfill the University’s mission in combating the COVID-19 pandemic at this crucial time.

EFML & EPSL Comparison

EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE (EPSL) EXPANDED FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE (EFML)
Does this provide medical leave for an employee? Yes No
Does this provide medical leave to care for a family member? Yes No
Is this leave available to take care of a minor child whose school or daycare is closed? Yes Yes
How much leave does it provide? Up to 80 hours (Prorated for part-time) Up to 12 weeks (Pro-rated for part-time)
Is this leave paid? Yes (Can also be used during first 2 weeks of EFML) After the first 80 hrs.
What is the cap on leave paid? 100% of regular pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total if taken to care for self 2/3 of regular pay, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total if taken to care for family member or for childcare purposes First 80 hrs. of leave are unpaid (Employee may use other eligible paid leave) The remaining 480 hrs. are paid at 2/3 of regular pay, up to $200 daily and $10,000 total
Can I take this leave for smaller increments than eight hours in a day? No Yes
Is my job protected when taking this leave? Yes Yes
What is the minimum period of employment before I am eligible for this benefit? None 30 calendar days
Are part-time employees covered? Yes Yes
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is a new federal law which requires certain employers, including public entities like UNC-Chapel Hill to provide eligible employees with emergency paid sick leave (under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)) and expanded family and medical leave (under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)), for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new paid leave provisions, and the agency website remains the best source of information related to the FFCRA.

The FFCRA became effective April 1, 2020 and applies to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020.
All employees, including student workers, who are not deemed exempt are eligible if they meet the specific criteria for each type of leave. As permitted by the FFCRA, the University has made the decision to exempt UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine employees, under the “health care providers” exemption, and certain other groups of designated employees, under the “emergency responders” exemption, from both EPSL and EFML provisions because their skills and services are deemed essential to fulfill the University’s mission in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic at this critical time.

No. FFCRA leave benefits are only applicable when employees have work available but are unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 circumstances. Employees who are not expected to report to a University worksite but cannot telework because their position and duties cannot be performed remotely, and because reasonable alternate remote work is not feasible or productive, must use their accrued leave or accrued paid time off for hours not worked.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL)

All types of University employees (full-time, part-time, and temporary) are eligible for the immediate use of the paid sick leave provided by the EPSLA for qualifying reasons. There is no length of service requirement for this benefit. EPSL is available only through Dec. 31, 2020, however.
Employees are eligible for EPSL regardless of how long they have worked for the University.

An employee is entitled to EPSL when the employee is unable to work because:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19. The advice to self-quarantine must be based on the health care provider’s belief that the employee has COVID-19, may have COVID-19, or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. Symptoms that could trigger this are fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, and other COVID-19 symptoms identified by the Center for Disease Control. An employee experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may take paid sick leave for time spent making, waiting for, or attending an appointment to take a test; but not for self-quarantining without a medical diagnosis. An employee may continue to take leave while experiencing these symptoms, and after testing positive, if a health care provider advises self-quarantine.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in paragraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2). The employee must have a genuine need to care for the individual and must have a personal relationship with that individual. The individual being cared for must be an immediate family member, roommate, or other similar person with whom the employer has a relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if he or she self-quarantined or was quarantined. 
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions. An employee may take paid sick leave to care for the child only when the employee needs to, and is, caring for his or her child. Generally, an employee does not need to take such leave if another individual – such as a co-parent, co-guardian, or the usual childcare provider – is available to provide the care the child needs. 
  6. The employee 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. As of April 21, 2020, there were no other conditions specified by the Secretary of HHS, Treasury or Labor to qualify under this provision. 

The Department of Labor has explained in its regulations that for these purposes, an employee is able to telework, and therefore may not take paid sick leave, if the employer has work for the employee to perform, the employer permits the employee to perform that work from the location where the employee is located, and there are no extenuating circumstances (such as serious COVID-19 symptoms) that prevent the employee from performing that work. 

Eligible full-time employees receive 80 hours of EPSL. Eligible part-time employees receive the number of hours that the employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.
No. EPSL must be used on a continuous basis and cannot be taken intermittently.
No. An eligible employee may take a maximum of two weeks – 80 hours for full-time employees (prorated for part-time employees) of EPSL for any combination of continuous qualifying reasons.
Yes. EPSL limits emergency paid sick leave to 80 hours over a 2-week period.  As an example, an employee who is scheduled to work 50 hours a week may take 50 hours of EPSL in the first week and 30 hours of EPSL in the second week. In any event, the total number of hours paid under EPSL is capped at 80 hours.
It depends on your normal work schedule and the qualifying reason for requesting EPSL. Please refer to the Summary of FFCRA Leave Provisions.

Part-time employees are entitled to EPSL based on the average number of hours the employee typically works in a 2-week period. If the normal work schedule is unknown, or if the employee schedule varies, the calculation would be based on a six-month average to determine the average daily hours. The employee would then be eligible to take EPSL for this number of hours per day up to a 2-week period.

In cases where this calculation cannot be made because an employee has not been employed with the University for at least six months, the calculation would be based on the number of hours the employee and University agreed that employee would work, on average, each calendar day.

Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML)

Eligible employees may take EFML because they are unable to work due to a need to care for their child whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, for reasons related to COVID-19. Eligible employees have a need to take this leave for this purpose only if no suitable person is available to care for their child during the period of such leave. See the implementing regulation, 29 C.F.R. § 826.10, for definitions of “child,” “childcare provider,” “school,” “place of care” and other terms.

An eligible employee may not take EFML to care of their child unless, but for a need to care for the individual, the employee would be able to perform work for his or her employer, either at the eligible employee’s normal workplace or by telework.

All employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days are eligible for EFML. An employee is considered to have been employed for at least 30 calendar days if the employee has been on UNC-CH’s payroll for the 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day the employee’s leave would begin. It applies to full-time, part-time, temporary, SHRA, EHRA, and EHRA-Non-Faculty position types.

Under the FFCRA, a “son or daughter” is your own child, which includes 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. For additional information about in loco parentis, see DOL Fact Sheet #28B: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for birth, placement, and bonding or to care for a child with a serious health condition based on an “in loco parentis” relationship. 
 
Also, under the FFCRA, a “son or daughter” is also an adult son or daughter (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who has a mental or physical disability, and is incapable of self-care because of that disability. For additional information on requirements relating to an adult son or daughter, see DOL Fact Sheet #28K.

Employees may use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) or any other existing paid leave to receive full pay during the first 80 hours of unpaid EFML. If an employee exceeds the FFCRA daily rate caps, COVID-19 paid administrative leave will be provided to bring the employee to two-thirds pay. The employee is responsible for further supplementing the difference between their normal pay and what is covered by the combination of FFCRA and PAL by using their own accrued leave and/or other accrued paid time off.

Yes. EFML may be used intermittently. Employees who need to intermittent EFML should discuss their proposed work schedules with their supervisor.
No, elder care is not covered under the FFCRA. For elder care needs due to COVID-19-related elder care facility closings, permanent employees may receive COVID-19 paid administrative leave at two-thirds of the employee’s pay for the period of scheduled time they are unavailable due to providing elder care. This leave is provided equivalent to the same compensation rules and eligibility requirements applied to FFCRA for childcare. This also means that the maximum elder care benefit for an employee is 12 weeks (or fewer, depending on the employee’s FMLA eligibility). Once all FFCRA-equivalent leave is exhausted, employees must use their accrued leave or accrued paid time off for hours not worked.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) & Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML)

You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only up to a total of twelve weeks of paid leave. You may take both EPSL and EFML if you are unable to work or telework, despite work being available, to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

The EPSL provides an initial 80 hours (pro-rated for part-time employees) of paid leave. This period can cover the first 80 hours of EFML, which are otherwise unpaid under the EFML, unless you elect to use existing accrued leave.

After the first 80 hours of EFML have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular pay, up to a maximum of $200 per day, for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent remaining weeks under EFML.

Please note that you can only receive the additional weeks of EFML for leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.

No. EPSL and EFML are effective from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
Yes, both EPSL and EFML qualify for regular retirement contributions, including deductions from the employee’s pay and employer-related contributions.

Requesting & Using Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

Let your supervisor know that you need leave for a qualifying reason under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Complete the FFCRA Request Form and submit the form to the Office of Human Resources. Please email the form to leave@unc.edu or fax it (919) 962-6010.  The Benefits & Leave Administration unit will review your form and communicate with you and your department regarding the status of your request for EPSL and/or EFML. Should you have any questions or need assistance, you may call the Benefits & Leave Administration unit at 919-962-3071 or email leave@unc.edu.
Employees will need to coordinate with their TIM Administrator for proper record keeping and reporting of these hours for payment.  The TIM Administrator will enter this information on the employee’s timecard, for this to roll into Payroll for proper payment.

Coordination with Other Policies

Once FFCRA leave is exhausted, employees must use their accrued leave or accrued paid time off for hours not worked due to FFCRA reasons; however, once a permanent employee has exhausted all of their accrued leave and paid time off, for absences due to reasons outlined in the FFCRA to qualify for EPSL Reasons 1 – 3 (subject to quarantine/isolation order, advised to self-quarantine, or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting a diagnosis), the employee will receive COVID-19 paid administrative leave at 100% of the employee’s pay, up to 160 hours.
You may be eligible for leave under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Please contact the Benefits and Leave Administration unit at 919-962-3071 or at leave@unc.edu for guidance.
No. The only type of family and medical leave that provides paid leave is Expanded Family Medical Leave (EFML) when such leave exceeds 80 hours. EFML provides paid leave for eligible employees who are unable to work or telework because they must care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Yes. EFML is an expansion of the FMLA. If you are eligible for leave under the FMLA, any EFML taken will count towards your 12 weeks of FMLA leave for the current 12-month period.
No. EFML is an expansion of the FMLA. Under the FMLA, an eligible employee is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of job-protected leave. Once those 12 weeks are exhausted, the employee is no longer eligible for the protections afforded by the FMLA.