Coronavirus

UNC System announces COVID-19 work-leave provisions for April

The UNC System Office provided to all Chancellors new faculty and staff work and leave provisions for the time period between April 1 and April 30.

The Old Well

Dear UNC-Chapel Hill employees,

Late yesterday, the UNC System Office provided to all Chancellors new faculty and staff work and leave provisions for the time period between April 1 and April 30. These provisions supersede all regular policies and replace any previous guidance issued.

  • Permanent employees who are working remotely are expected to continue doing so. They will continue to be paid as normal and should continue to document their time in TIM as required.
  • For those employees currently receiving paid administrative leave, either in full or in part, this guidance extends that benefit through the end of April, but does include additional restrictions.
  • For undergraduate or graduate student employees, this guidance allows the University to continue to provide either paid remote work opportunities, or paid administrative leave, as determined by their supervisor. This guidance ensures those provisions remain in effect at least through April 30.
  • For work-study students, the guidance currently in effect does not change.

For non-student temporary employees, this guidance provides discretion to the Chancellors, and by extension, the units to offer full or partial special leave provisions based on available funds and operational needs, to discontinue positions, or to place employees in inactive status, as deemed appropriate. Temporary employees designated as mandatory will not be eligible for time and a half pay except in very limited circumstances.

  • Finally, for those employees designated as COVID-19 Mandatory Employees who are required to work on-site, this guidance provides further information about pay provisions and the University discretion around special leave provisions.

Specific elements of the guidance are below and more details will be included in the HR FAQ, which will be available early next week. We continue to work to understand the implications of this guidance on our community, and remain at the ready to assist as employees, supervisors, and units navigate the days ahead.

  1. Special Provisions for Mandatory Employees

Mandatory employees are those employees who are directed by their supervisor to work at specific dates and times at a designated University worksite other than their personal residence and in most circumstances are not eligible for telework options. Such employees have been deemed essential to work on‐site during the COVID‐19 event and include, but are not limited to, positions that relate to: public health and patient care; public safety; operation of critical infrastructure and facilities; operation and safety of sensitive research labs; supporting the humane care of laboratory research animals; the care of persons or property for whom the University has a duty to continue to serve; and remaining on-site student and instructional support services.

Special Leave Provisions for Mandatory Employees

SHRA and EHRA mandatory permanent employees will receive added compensation for hours required to be at work at a designated University worksite other than their personal residence, and only for those specific dates and times that such on‐site work is required. Off‐site (teleworking) hours will not be subject to these added special compensation provisions.

  • Hourly (FLSA non-exempt) mandatory employeeswill receive 1.5 times their hourly pay rate for all hours worked on-site. Those employees who work in excess of 40 hours per workweek will also receive overtime compensatory time off at 1.5 hours for each hour worked over 40, per federal overtime rules.
  • Salaried (FLSA exempt) mandatory employees will receive 1.5 times their hourly pay rate for up to 40 hours worked on-site in a workweek.
  • Several positions, even if designated mandatory, are excluded from these special compensation provisions including, but not limited to: Tier I and Tier II senior academic and administrative officers, faculty, physicians, directors and deputy directors of major institution‐wide or school-wide functions and centers, department heads, division heads, research and academic department administrators, clinical and academic department administrators, clinical division administrators, and coaches and athletic administrators.
  • The leadership at the division, school or college level in each academic or administrative unit will have the discretion to award added compensation or equivalent compensatory time resulting from COVID-19 as a lump sum payment, as a series of payments, as paid leave, or in any combination, within 12 months of the date of accrual. COVID-19 compensatory time is paid out based on the employee’s hourly rate of pay.
  • At the Chancellor’s discretion, temporary employees (including retirees and students) designated as mandatory may be paid time and a half for all hours required to work on-site or alternatively receive an adjusted higher hourly pay rate. However, such employees are not eligible for COVID-19 compensatory time.

Special Leave Provisions for Permanent and Graduate and Undergraduate Student Employees 

Note: While every possible consideration will be given to individual personal circumstances, management has the discretion to defer special leave provisions (below) for mandatory employees whose presence is determined necessary to address urgent public health, public safety, or critical infrastructure needs.

  • Employees who cannot work because they have childcare or eldercare needs due to COVID-19-related facility closing may receive paid administrative leave for the period of time they are unavailable. If more than one person in the household is a state employee, then the employees are expected to work with their supervisors to detremine how to allocate paid administrative leave to avoid inappropriate overlap of leave usage.
  • Employees may receive paid administrative leave if they cannot telework because their position and duties cannot be performed remotely, and reasonable alternate remote work is not feasible or productive.
  • Employees who are sick due to symptoms of a cold, flu, or COVID-19 or who are caring for a dependent with such symptoms may receive paid administrative leave. All other absences will utilize regular forms of leave such as sick, vacation, and bonus leave, or shared leave if approved.
  • Employees who were on other pre‐approved leave, choose not to work, or are unavailable for reasons other than provided for in the special COVID-19 provisions must use available and applicable leave types; e.g. vacation leave, parental leave, bonus leave, compensatory leave, or take leave without pay.
  • For part-time employees with fluctuating schedules, paid administrative leave may be applied, but consideration should be given to the employee’s average hours per week over the course of a month. In no case shall paid administrative leave exceed 40 hours per week.
  1. Discretionary Special Leave Provisions for Non-Student Temporary Employees  
  • The University, and by extension, the units have the discretion to continue to offer full or partial special leave provisions to temporary employees based on available funds and operational needs; to discontinue such temporary employees; or to place them in inactive status, as deemed appropriate.
  • The Chancellor of each constituent institution has the discretion to offer telework to any temporary employees and/or to designate such employees as mandatory to address critical operational needs.

Note: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law by President Trump on March 18, 2020. This legislation is intended to help workers, businesses, and the healthcare sector in their response to the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. The law provides Emergency Family and Medical Leave and Emergency Paid Sick Leave. The University is currently reviewing the new legislation and will issue some additional provisions before the new law goes into effect on April 2, 2020.

Sincerely,

Becci Menghini
Vice Chancellor
Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill