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A150 - FMLA Leave Expansion and Emergency Paid Sick Leave (Coronavirus) in compliance with Families First Coronavirus Response Act

 


DATE: March 31, 2020

SUBJECT: FMLA Leave Expansion and Emergency Paid Sick Leave (Coronavirus) in compliance with
Families First Coronavirus Response Act

FROM: Superintendent Larry Bergeson and Human Resource Executive Director Lyle Cox

 

Purpose

To comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and to assist employees affected by the COVID-19 outbreak with job-protected leave and emergency paid sick leave. This policy will be in effect from April 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020. Policy 1332 FMLA, ADA, and District Sick Leave, still applies to all other reasons for leave outside of this administrative letter.

Expanded FMLA Leave

Employee Eligibility

All employees who have been employed with Washington County School District for at least 30 days.

Reason for Leave

Eligible employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for their child when the school or place of care has been closed, or the regular childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19.

“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-

(A) under 18 years of age; or

(B) 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 provider 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.

“Individual” means an Employee's immediate family member, a person who regularly resides in the Employee's home, or a similar person with whom the Employee has a relationship that creates an expectation that the Employee would care for the person if he or she were quarantined or self-quarantined. For this purpose, “individual” does not include persons with whom the Employee has no personal relationship.

Duration of Leave

Employees will have up to 12 weeks of leave to use from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020, for the purposes stated above. This time is included in and not in addition to the total FMLA leave entitlement of 12 weeks in a 12-month period as described in Policy 1332. 

For example, if an employee has already taken 6 weeks of FMLA leave under District Policy 1332, that employee would be eligible for another 6 weeks of FMLA leave under this administrative letter.

Pay During Leave

Leave will be unpaid for the first 10 days of leave; however, employees may use any accrued paid vacation, sick or personal leave during this time. The employee may also elect to use the paid leave provided under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, as further explained below. After the first 10 days, leave will be paid at two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work. Pay will not exceed $200 per day, and $10,000 in total. Any unused portion of this pay will not carry over to the next year. 

For employees with varying hours, one of two methods for computing the number of hours paid will be used:

  • The average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type. Or, 
  • If the employee has worked less than 6 months, the expected number of hours to be scheduled per day at the time of hire. 

Employee Status and Benefits During Leave

While an employee is on leave, the Washington County School District will continue the employee's health benefits during the leave period at the same level and under the same conditions as if the employee had continued to work. While on paid leave, WCSD will continue to make payroll deductions to collect the employee's share of the premium. During any unpaid portions of leave, the employee must continue to make this payment per instructions from the HR department.

If the employee contributes to a life insurance or disability plan, WCSD will continue making payroll deductions while the employee is on paid leave. During any portion of unpaid leave, the employee may request continuation of such benefits and pay his or her portion of the premiums. If the employee does not continue these payments, WCSD may discontinue coverage during the leave. 

Procedure for Requesting Leave

All employees requesting FMLA leave must provide written notice, where possible, of the need for leave to the District Benefits and ADA Coordinator by email to: ada_coordinator@washk12.org as soon as practicable. Verbal notice will otherwise be accepted until written notice can be provided. Within five business days after the employee has provided this notice, the HR Benefits Coordinator will complete and provide the employee with any Department of Labor (DOL) required notices. 

The notice the employee provides should include a brief statement as to the reason for leave, and if possible, the expected duration.   

On a basis that does not discriminate against employees on FMLA leave, the District may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on the employee's status and intent to return to work.

Documentation Required to Support Leave

Employees must submit documentation to the HR Department in support of Expanded FMLA leave taken to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons within 15 days of requesting leave. For example, this requirement may be satisfied with a notice of closure or unavailability from the child’s school, place of care, or child care provider, including a notice that may have been posted on a government, school, or day care website, published in a newspaper, or emailed from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider. The District will retain this notice or documentation in support of Expanded FMLA Leave, including while employees may be taking unpaid leave that runs concurrently with Emergency Paid Sick Leave if taken for the same reason.

Employee Status After Leave

Generally, an employee who takes FMLA leave will be able to return to the same position or a position with equivalent status, pay, benefits and other employment terms. If the position the employee held before leave started no longer exists due to economic conditions or operational changes that are made because of the public health emergency, and no equivalent position is available, the employee will not be returned to employment. However, for the period of one year after qualifying leave under this policy ends, Washington County School District will make reasonable efforts to contact the employee if an equivalent position becomes available.

Please contact the District Benefits and ADA Coordinator a:  ada_coordinator@washk12.org with any questions. 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave 

Eligibility

All full- and part-time employees unable to work (or telework) due to one of the following reasons for leave:

  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.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to either number 1 or 2 above.
  5. The employee is caring for his or her child if the school or place of care of the child has been closed, or the childcare provider of such child is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions.
  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.

“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-

(A) under 18 years of age; or

(B) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Amount of Paid Sick Leave

All eligible full-time employees will have up to 80 hours of paid sick leave available to use for the qualifying reasons above. Eligible part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours worked, on average, over a two-week period.  

For employees with varying hours, one of two methods for computing the number of hours paid will be used:

  • The average number of hours that the employee was scheduled per day over the 6-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes leave, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type. Or, 
  • If the employee has worked less than 6 months, the expected number of hours to be scheduled per day at the time of hire. 

Rate of Pay

Paid emergency sick leave will be paid at the employee's regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater, for leave taken for reasons 1-3 above.  Employees taking leave for reasons 4-6 will be compensated at two-thirds their regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater. Pay will not exceed:

  • $511 per day and $5,110 in total for leave taken for reasons 1-3 above;
  • $200 per day and $2,000 in total for leave taken for reasons 4-6 above.

Interaction with Other Paid Leave

The employee may use emergency paid sick leave under this policy before using any other accrued paid time off for the qualifying reasons stated above. 

Employees on expanded FMLA leave under this policy may use emergency paid sick leave during the first 10 days of normally unpaid FMLA leave. 

Procedure for Requesting Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Employees must notify the ADA-Benefits Manager at ada_coordinator@washk12.org of the need and specific reason for leave under this policy. Verbal notification will be accepted until practicable to provide written notice.

Once emergency paid sick leave has begun; the employee and his or her principal/manager must determine reasonable procedures for the employee to report periodically on the employee’s status.  Any change must be reported immediately to HR and the payroll department .

Documentation Required to Support Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Employees must submit documentation in support of the reasons for Emergency Paid Sick Leave within 15 days of requesting leave.  Documentation must include a signed statement containing the following information: (1) The employee's name; (2) the date(s) for which leave is requested; (3) the COVID-19 qualifying reason for leave; and (4) a statement representing that the employee is unable to work or telework because of the COVID-19 qualifying reason.  These documents may include a copy of the Federal, State or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or written documentation by a health care provider advising you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.  All existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if an employee is taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if an employee takes leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because of a medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition.  Employees must continue to provide medical certifications.

Carryover

Paid emergency sick leave under this policy will not be provided beyond December 31, 2020. Any unused paid sick leave will not carry over to the next year or be paid out to employees. 

Job Protections

No employee who appropriately utilizes emergency paid sick leave under this policy will be discharged, disciplined or discriminated against for work time missed due to this leave. 

Unemployment Benefits

Employees receiving leave under any part of this policy are considered employed by the District and are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Please contact the HR department with any questions. 

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