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Public Health Emergency Leave

It is the policy of the Commonwealth to protect the health of state employees and the public and to provide continuity of services to the citizens of the Commonwealth during times of pandemic illness. 

This policy permits or requires eligible employees to attend to the medical needs of self and immediate family members by providing up to 160 hours of paid leave per leave year when Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat conditions have been declared.  (Normally, 80 hours of leave is provided.  This amount was doubled for the COVID-19 emergency.)  The employee receives the equivalent of four weeks leave and the exact number of hours depends on the number of hours normally worked by the employee.  For example, an employee whose normal schedule is to work 20 hours per week is eligible for 80 hours.  An employee whose normal schedule is to work 40 hours per week is eligible for 160 hours. 

Under normal circumstances, the leave is taken in four consecutive weeks.  For the COVID-19 emergency, the leave may be taken intermittently if an employee does not have adequate work or training assignments to work his/her full schedule.  For example, an employee works in the Student Health Center and the center is closed due to students not being on campus.  The employee usually works 40 hours per week, but currently only has 30 hours of work and training assignments available.  The employee may use 10 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave per week in order to reach the employee’s normal 40 hours. 

For W&M staff and faculty, this leave may be used in the following situations:  to cover periods of self-quarantine due to a potential COVID-19 exposure when the person is not able to work remotely; when an employee’s office is closed and there is not appropriate work for the employee to perform remotely or through other alternative means; to care for himself/herself when sick with a diagnosed case of COVID-19; or to care for an immediate family member (as defined by policy) when that person is sick with a diagnosed case of COVID-19. In addition, W&M staff and faculty may use 24 hours of Public Health Emergency Leave to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19; and to make alternative child and/or elder care arrangements. 

Staff is defined as classified, operational, and professional employees.  Immediate family includes parents, step-parents or persons who stood in place of the parent and performed parental duties and responsibilities; a spouse; children, including step-children, foster children, and legal wards; and siblings, including step-siblings.

For the COVID-19 emergency, hourly employees and adjunct faculty are also authorized to receive this type of leave.  For hourly employees, the hours used counts towards their 1,400 hour maximum in the period between May 1 and April 30.  As stated above, the hourly employee or adjunct faculty member may use the equivalent of four weeks leave and the exact number of hours depends on the number of hours normally worked by the employee.  For example, an employee whose normal schedule is to work 20 hours per week is eligible for 80 hours.  An employee whose normal schedule is to work 10 hours per week is eligible for 40 hours.  Under normal circumstances, the leave is taken in four consecutive weeks, but it may be used intermittently as outlined above.

An employee must have authorization from a Cabinet member or the Cabinet member’s direct report to utilize this type of leave.  A supervisor should not approve an employee’s timesheet with this type of leave without having that approval first.