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Public Health Emergency Leave

William & Mary Guidelines
Public Health Emergency Leave
Effective September 1, 2021

Introduction

The state’s Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) policy permits eligible employees to attend to the medical needs of themselves and immediate family members by providing up to 80 hours of paid leave per leave year when Communicable Disease of Public Health Threat conditions have been declared.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor declared a Public Health Emergency in Virginia. As a result, state employees were granted access to PHEL. The Public Health Emergency Declaration expired on June 30, 2021 and employees were no longer able to access PHEL.  The Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) reinstated PHEL effective September 1, 2021.  PHEL is not available retroactively.

Eligibility

All staff (operational and professional), faculty (including adjuncts), and hourly employees are eligible for Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL).

Amount of Leave

Full-time employees are eligible to receive up to 80 hours of PHEL.  The PHEL allotment is prorated for employees working than less full-time.  For example, an employee whose normal schedule is to work 20 hours per week is eligible for 40 hours.

Employees who used less than 80 hours of PHEL during the current leave year that started on January 10, 2021, may use the remaining balance of PHEL for the below criteria.  Employees who used 80 hours of PHEL within the current leave year do not receive an additional PHEL allotment.

Once the allotment of PHEL is used, employees may use appropriate and available accrued leave (i.e., sick leave, family personal leave, annual leave, comp time, overtime leave, etc.) or Leave without Pay.  Access to and expiration of PHEL is determined by DHRM.  PHEL is not paid out upon separation or in any other situation and may only be used under the conditions specified below.

Criteria

PHEL may be used for the following reasons:

  • When the employee has a positive test result for COVID-19 and the employee is experiencing symptoms; and/or when the employee has a positive test result for COVID-19, is required to self-quarantine, and is not able to perform his/her job remotely. Medical documentation is required and, for employees in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP), they must initiate a case through Reed Group, the VSDP provider.
  • When the employee’s immediate family member has a positive test result for COVID-19, is experiencing symptoms, and is unable to care for himself/herself. (An immediate family member is defined as an employee's spouse, son, daughter or parent as defined in the Family and Medical Leave Act)  Medical documentation is required.
  • Up to 8 hours of PHEL may be used to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and/or recover from the side-effects of the vaccine. For obtaining the vaccine, the amount of time that may be used includes the time to receive the actual shot and reasonable travel time.

How to Request PHEL

To request PHEL due to an employee’s own or an immediate family member’s positive test result for COVID-19 based on the above criteria, the employee needs to complete and sign the request form located here.  After completing the form, the employee needs to provide medical documentation to the Office at Human Resources by either sending it to AskHR@wm.edu, faxing it to (757) 221-7724, or dropping it off at Bell Hall.  Once Human Resources confirms eligibility for use of PHEL, the leave will be added to the employee’s leave balances in Banner.  The employee may then utilize the leave when submitting his/her timesheet.  For 9-month faculty who do not normally complete a timesheet, HR will notify their chair of the approval to use PHEL.  The use of PHEL is in addition to the requirement that employees who test positive for COVID-19 or are required to isolate as a close contact will report their status for case management purposes using ReportCOVID.

To request PHEL to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine and/or recover from its side-effects, the employee should send a request to his/her supervisor.  The supervisor then sends the request to AskHR@wm.edu with the subject line of “PHEL request”.  The supervisor should include the employee’s name and Banner identification number with the request.  Once Human Resources confirms eligibility for use of PHEL, the leave will be added to the employee’s leave balances in Banner.  The employee may then utilize the leave when submitting his/her timesheet.  For 9-month faculty who do not normally complete a timesheet, HR will notify their chair of the approval to use PHEL.

Any questions about PHEL should be sent to AskHR@wm.edu.