Operational Modifications

Auburn University continues to prioritize the health and safety of the entire campus community by monitoring and adhering to guidance from public health officials.

Leave Guidelines

COVID-19 LEAVE FORM

AUBURN POLICY

Emergency COVID-19 Administrative Leave (ECAL) (UPDATED ON JAN. 29, 2021)

IMPORTANT: Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, the university modified Emergency COVID-19 Administrative Leave (ECAL) and extended it through the end of May.

  • Eligible employees have a maximum of four weeks (20 working days) of ECAL available through the end of May that can be used for all six qualifying reasons listed under the current Families First Coronavirus Response Act. 

  • ECAL is available for eligible employees to use when childcare or on-site learning is not available due to COVID-19 related issues. 

  • ECAL is not applicable in instances where childcare or on-site learning is available but the parent chooses not to participate.

  • Although eligible employees have four weeks of ECAL available to use if necessary, unused ECAL will not carry over into the summer.

  • If the government extends or replaces FFCRA leave, the university reserves the right to terminate ECAL at any time.


Feeling Uncomfortable Coming to Campus

Employees who wish to take leave because they feel uncomfortable coming to campus due to COVID-19 do not qualify for leave under ECAL. Such employees will be permitted to use accrued annual leave. Upon exhaustion of all accrued annual leave, employees will be permitted either to use accrued sick leave, accrued comp time, or to enter leave without pay status.

Additional Leave Guidelines

  • The FFCRA and the leave guidelines outlined on this page apply to all employees, whether working remotely or on the jobsite.

  • Any employee, whether working remotely or on the jobsite, who needs to be away from his/her work for any reason other than a Qualifying Reason may take accrued leave in accordance with normal University policies, including supervisor approval for use of annual leave.

  • In order to be eligible for ECAL, employees must submit the COVID-19 leave form, identifying the reason for the employee’s absence. This is required to ensure that leave is documented appropriately in compliance with Auburn policies and other applicable law. Except for situations where the need for leave is unknown, employees should submit their COVID-19 leave form no later than 4:45 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the applicable work week.
  • TES employees do not accrue sick or annual leave under Auburn policies but do qualify for ECAL as outlined above.

  • Nine-month faculty do not accrue annual leave under Auburn policies but do qualify for ECAL as outlined above.

Qualifying Reasons for ECAL

ECAL may be used when an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave because the employee is:

  1. Subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

  2. Under self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 based on the advice of a health care provider;

  3. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;

  4. Caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in (1) or who has been advised as described in (2);

  5. Caring for a son or daughter of any age whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or

  6. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretaries of Treasury and Labor. 

COVID-19 Leave Form

The COVID-19 Leave Form is hosted in the Auburn University Facilities Request Portal.

Basic Questions and Answers

Important: Unless noted, information on this page is current until Feb. 7, 2021. If you have a question that is not addressed in this section or on this page, please email univhr@auburn.edu with the subject line "Employee question". Please include your title and department in the email. HR will respond to your question as soon as possible. 

  • ECAL was modified on Jan. 4, 2021 and has been extended until May 31, 2021. (Additional information is at the top of this page.)

  • The FFCRA’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (FMLA+) expired on Dec. 31, 2020.

Employees, including non-benefits eligible and some student employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days, may be eligible for ECAL for qualifying reasons 1-6 above. ECAL is paid at 100 percent of the employee’s normal compensation rate.  

  • You are considered to have been employed by Auburn University for at least 30 calendar days if you have been on payroll for the 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day your leave would begin.

  • For example, if you wanted to take leave on Feb. 1, 2021, you would need to have been on the payroll as of Jan 2, 2021.

  • Under ECAL, 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 Fact Sheet #28B: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for birth, placement, bonding or to care for a child with a serious health condition on the basis of an “in loco parentis” relationship.

  • In light of Congressional direction to interpret definitions consistently, WHD clarifies that under ECAL a “son or daughter” is also an adult son or daughter (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who (1) has a mental or physical disability, and (2) is incapable of self-care because of that disability. For additional information on requirements relating to an adult son or daughter, see Fact Sheet #28K and/or call the Department of Labor toll free information and help line available 8 a.m.–5 p.m., 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).

Qualifying Reason 2 applies when a health care provider has advised the employee to isolate/self-quarantine because the employee has COVID-19, may have COVID-19, or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and following the advice of the health care provider prevents the employee from working, either at the worksite on by telework.  

The “symptoms of COVID-19” for purposes of qualifying reason (3) are dry cough, shortness of breath, fever or any other symptoms identified by the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). “Seeking a medical diagnosis” means that the employee is “taking affirmative steps to obtain a medical diagnosis, such as making, waiting for, or attending an appointment for a test for COVID-19.”

To initiate your leave of absence (for any of the six reasons noted above), you should notify your immediate supervisor as soon as possible and complete the COVID-19 Leave Request Form.

Leave and Pay Questions and Answers

You are unable to work if your manager or supervisor has work for you and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons set forth in ECAL prevents you from being able to perform that work, either under normal circumstances at your normal worksite or by means of working remotely.

If you and your manager agree that you will work your normal number of hours, but outside of your normally scheduled hours (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work (paid normally) and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents you from working that schedule.

If you are unable to perform the tasks currently assigned to you because of one of the qualifying reasons 1-6 above, then you are entitled to take ECAL (up to 160 hours, until May 31, 2021).

Similarly, if you are unable to perform those remote working tasks or work the required remote working hours because you need to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, then you are entitled to take ECAL. 

In general, no, unless you were able to return to light duty before taking leave. If you receive OJI or salary continuation benefits because you are unable to work, you may not take ECAL. However, if you were able to return to regular or light duty and a qualifying reason prevents you from working, you may take ECAL, as the situation warrants.

No. Only hours worked will be counted towards the 40 hours in a workweek for purposes of overtime calculations. 

Yes. An employee’s regular rate of pay will include shift differential pay.

Yes. You will be able to continued group health coverage, including any family coverage in which you are enrolled.

  • A part-time employee is entitled to leave for the average number of work hours in a two-week period.

  • Part-time employee leave hours will be calculated based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work based on their assigned schedule in workforce (for non-exempt hourly employees) or based on the assigned FTE (for exempt employees).

  • For example, a 1.0 FTE employee would be eligible for up to 80 hours of ECALand an additional 10 weeks at 40 hours per week of ECAL while a .5 FTE employee (or an employee with a 20-hour standard work schedule in workforce) would be eligible for up to 40 hours of ECALand an additional 10 weeks at 20 hours per week of ECAL.

  • If the normal hours scheduled are unknown or varies, we will use a six-month average to calculate the average hours.  

  • If this calculation cannot be made because you have not been employed for at least six months, we will use the number of hours that you and your supervisor agreed that you would work upon hiring. If there is no such agreement, we will calculate the appropriate number of hours of leave based on the average hours per day you were scheduled to work over the entire term of your employment.

  • Please note that if seasonal employees are not scheduled to work, they are not eligible.

Yes, you may substitute any accrued vacation leave, sick leave, or comp time, you have accrued.  Please note, however, accrued sick time may not be used for childcare needs due to COVID-19 related closures of your child(ren)’s school, daycare, or childcare provider.

It depends on why you are taking the leave. It cannot be taken intermittently if the leave is being taken because:

  • You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;

  • You are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;

  • You are caring for an individual who either is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or

  • You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Once you begin taking ECAL for one or more of these qualifying reasons, you must continue to take ECAL each day until you either (1) use the full amount of ECAL or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking ECAL. This limit is imposed because if you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of ECAL is to provide such emergency leave as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others.

In contrast, if you and your manager agree, you may take ECAL intermittently if you are taking emergency leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons. For example, if your child is at home because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you may take emergency sick leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to care for your child, but work at your normal worksite on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Supervisor Information

Important: Unless noted, information on this page is current through Feb. 7, 2021. If you have a question that is not addressed in this section or on this page, please email univhr@auburn.edu with the subject line "Supervisor question". Please include your title and department in the email. HR will respond to your question as soon as possible. 
  1. We will strive to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff first and foremost.

  2. We will strive to ensure the achievement of the mission of the University.

  3. We will do these things through shared governance.

The following are some guidelines for bringing employees back onto campus to work.

  • Determine if modified work schedules, with flexible start and stop times, can encourage physical distancing and provide for a safer work environment.

  • Consider staggered or alternating assignments to accommodate multiple employees and to encourage physical distancing.

  • You may temporarily reassign employees to work outside their usual classifications/responsibilities to the extent they are qualified and can safely perform the work.

  • Compressed work schedules may also be an option.

  • Meal and rest break policies adjusted to stagger times and processes implemented to encourage physical distancing.

  • TES employees must work or be eligible for ECAL in order to be paid.

  • Students must work or be eligible for ECAL in order to be paid.
Employees who need to take time off for non-COVID-19 reasons may do so by using their own personal sick and annual leave and with supervisor approval.
An electronic form has been created to allow employees to request ECAL. This form will be the only required documentation to request the new leave benefits.
As a reminder, information regarding an employee’s medical condition must be kept confidential.

For More Information

If you have questions that are not addressed on this page, please email univhr@auburn.edu.
Last updated: 02/01/2021