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Dear Faculty and Staff,

I write with the update I promised at the close of 2020 about leave and benefit provisions for the new year. While several leave options remain in place, some, like the Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), have expired. Those employees who need to use leave for either COVID-19-related illness or caregiving should exercise these other options and seek help from the Benefits and Leave Administration Support Center in the Office of Human Resources as necessary. We are ready and available to help.

The list below outlines each benefit or leave provision and the status to date. These provisions are effective Jan. 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021. Any updates to these offerings will be documented on the COVID-19 Leave and Benefits information page.

Key updates include:

  • FFCRA: These provisions expired on Dec. 31, 2020 and are no longer available.
  • COVID-19 Shared Leave Bank: The shared leave bank program has been extended through March 31, 2021. Employees who need leave for COVID-19-related reasons and who have used all paid leave may be covered under the COVID-19 Shared Leave Bank program.
  • Interchangeability of Leave: Through March 31, 2021, employees may use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, and bonus leave interchangeably for COVID-19-related absences only (child/elder care, cannot telework, etc.); however, this paid leave cannot be used to cover hours during which an employee is on emergency temporary furlough. This provision does not allow interchangeability of leave usage for the leave options provided in state policy for retirement, transfer, or separation.
  • COVID-19 Paid Administrative Leave (PAL): Subject to the allocation rules outlined below, up to 160 hours total of COVID-19 PAL is available to permanent employees from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2021 for the following reasons:
    • The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order, has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider or public health official; or
    • The employee has had exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and is awaiting a diagnosis.
  • Allocation of COVID-19 PAL
    • Eligible employees may receive up to 80 hours before exhausting their own paid leave.
    • Once the first 80 hours have been exhausted, the employee must use their paid leave for the absences.
    • After the employee has exhausted their paid leave, then the employee may receive an additional 80 hours of COVID-19 PAL for the absences.Note: If an employee used Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) under the FFCRA in 2020 for any of the reasons listed above, then those hours must be deducted from any remaining COVID-19 PAL available through March 31, 2021.

If you need leave for one of the reasons listed above, please notify your supervisor and contact your departmental HR Representative for assistance.

HR Representatives and TIM Administrators: Please contact the Benefits and Leave Administration Support Center at leave@unc.edu to verify an employee’s eligibility for PAL before entering the hours in TIM.

  • Expanded Community Service Leave (CSL):
    • COVID-19 CSL: Unused CSL hours allocated in 2020 for COVID-19-related volunteer activities were forfeited as of Dec. 31, 2020. A new allocation of 80 hours, effective Jan. 1, 2021, has been provided. These hours are accounted for separately from an employee’s regular annual allotment of traditional CSL.
    • Tutoring and Mentoring CSL: Use of CSL for tutoring and mentoring continues to allow for broader use of the 36 hours to provide more flexibility to include activities with an employee’s own child(ren).
    • For additional information, please visit the Expanded CSL page.

If you have questions about any of these updated provisions, please contact the Benefits and Leave Administration Support Center at 919-962-3071 or leave@unc.edu.

Thank you all for your continued service to Carolina. Stay healthy and stay well.

Sincerely,

Becci Menghini
Vice Chancellor
Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance

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