New COVID-19 time off options available in 2021

Faculty and staff will continue to have additional time off options for absences related to COVID-19 under a new set of policies that went into effect Jan. 1.

The university established the time off programs in response to the Dec. 31 expiration of expanded time off and paid leave options created under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal COVID-19 relief bill passed in March, vice president for university human resources Kristi Darr said in a Dec. 18 message sent to employees.  

Under the new program, full-time employees have up to 80 hours of paid sick time off to use if they or a family member contracts COVID-19 or is forced to isolate or quarantine. This bank of time off is separate from and in addition to an employee's other accrued time off balances.

Full-time employees also will be able to use up to 80 hours of their existing bank of accrued sick time off to care for their children if COVID-19 causes disruptions to their school or child care. A similar program was in place from Sept. 1 through the end of 2020. Sick time off used in 2020 for child care or school closures doesn't count against the 80 hours available in 2021.

The amount of time off available under both programs will be prorated for part-time employees. The options are available through June 30, but are subject to change based on new information from the state Board of Regents, the enactment of a new federal time off program or the state of Iowa no longer being in a state of emergency.

Hourly student employees and temporary and seasonal employees also are eligible for up to 20 hours of paid time off under the policies effective Jan. 1. Time off is available to employees unable to work their scheduled hours due to COVID-19 illness, isolation or quarantine.

Employees and supervisors who have questions about the new time off options should contact their human resources delivery team.