Managing Workplace Adjustments and Accommodations During Covid-19 Pandemic for Faculty and other Academic Appointees

Effective June 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020

The scenarios presented below provide guidance on how to manage various situations when an academic appointee does not want to return to work.

Note: If the appropriate response has been provided to the academic appointee addressing their concern(s), and they are required to report to work, their failure to do so may result in appropriate corrective action. The supervisor shall consult with Academic Personnel prior to taking any corrective action.

Scenarios

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1. The academic appointee has a health condition related to COVID-19.
  • A health condition is determined to be related to COVID-19 by the academic appointee’s healthcare provider. If an academic appointee cites a related condition (not directly COVID-19), the academic appointee shall submit certification from their healthcare provider stating that the condition is related to COVID-19.
  • If the academic appointee is sick, they should not be required to work.
  • The academic appointee may use either or both of the following leave options:
    • UC’s COVID-19 ExpandedPaid Administrative Leave (EPAL) of 128 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Supervisor to approve before use; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) of 80 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Academic appointee to request usage via EPSL request form; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
    • If the academic appointee is off work more than 3 days, the academic appointee’s designated department representative should send the academic appointee a standard FMLA packet with the academic appointee’s eligibility, rights/responsibilities, and healthcare provider certification form (if eligible).
  • If the academic appointee requires leave longer than what EPAL and EPSL provides, the academic appointee should follow regular FMLA options, including usage of their leave accruals (sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off) and filing for short-term disability.
  • Additionally, the supervisor and the academic appointee’s designated department representative should ensure an interactive process upon resumption of work duties. The Disability Management Consultant shall be consulted if the academic appointee has any restrictions.
  • If the academic appointee has COVID-19, the supervisor with their designated department representative should follow the COVID-19 reporting procedures.
  • If the academic appointee is believed to have contracted COVID-19 in the course of carrying out their job responsibilities, then the worker’s compensation process should also be followed, as outlined in the COVID-19 reporting procedures.

2. The academic appointee has a health condition NOT related to COVID-19.

  • If the academic appointee is sick, they should not be required to work.
  • The academic appointee may use their regular leave options, such as sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off.
  • If the academic appointee is off work more than 3 days, send academic appointee a standard FMLA packet with the academic appointee’s eligibility, rights/responsibilities, and healthcare provider certification form (if eligible).
  • The academic appointee may be eligible to file for short-term disability.
  • Additionally, the supervisor and the academic appointee’s school/department representative should ensure an interactive process upon resumption of work duties. The Disability Management Consultant shall be consulted if the academic appointee has any restrictions.

3. The academic appointee’s family member has a health condition related to COVID-19.

  • A health condition is determined to be related to COVID-19 by the academic appointee’s family member’s healthcare provider. If a related condition (not directly COVID-19) is cited, the academic appointee shall submit certification from their family member’s healthcare provider stating that the condition is related to COVID-19.
  • If telecommuting is operationally feasible (as determined by the supervisor) and is consistent with the needs of the academic appointee’s family member, the academic appointee may telecommute.
  • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible, the academic appointee may use either or both of the following leave options:
    • UC’s COVID-19 Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) of 128 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Supervisor to approve before use; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) of 80 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Academic appointee is to request usage via EPSL request form; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
  • If the academic appointee is expected to be off work more than 3 days, the academic appointee’s school/department representative should send the academic appointee a standard FMLA packet with the academic appointee’s eligibility, rights/responsibilities, declaration of relationship, and healthcare provider certification form (if eligible).
  • If the academic appointee requires leave longer than what EPAL and EPSL provides, the academic appointee should follow regular FMLA options, including usage of their leave accruals (sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off).
  • The use of EPAL shall not adversely affect the delivery of essential University services. Additionally, health care workers and emergency responders are not eligible for use of EPSL to care for a family member. In these situations, the supervisor should consult the Office of Academic Personnel.

4. The academic appointee’s family member has a health condition NOT related to COVID-19.

  • If telecommuting is operationally feasible (as determined by the supervisor) and is consistent with the needs of the academic appointee’s family member, the academic appointee may telecommute.
  • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible:
    • If the academic appointee is off work 3 days or less, the academic appointee should use their leave accruals (sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off).
    • If the academic appointee is expected to be off work more than 3 days, the academic appointee’s designated department representative should send the academic appointee a standard FMLA packet with the academic appointee’s eligibility, rights/responsibilities, and declaration of relationship, healthcare provider certification form (if eligible). The academic appointee should follow regular FMLA options, including usage of their leave accruals (sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off).
5. The academic appointee is identified as having elevated risk for contracting COVID-19 and does not want to return to work due to risk of exposure.
  • The elevated-risk population is defined as 60 years or older, people with certain health conditions (e.g. heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune system), or people who are pregnant.
  • If operationally feasible, the academic appointee should continue telecommuting.
  • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible, the supervisor should work with their designated department Representative and the Disability Management Consultant to go through the following steps:
    • Follow the interactive process under the regular FMLA/disability accommodation process.
    • The academic appointee may be eligible for different leaves, including UC Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) or Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL).

6. The academic appointee’s family member is identified as having elevated risk for contracting COVID-19 and the academic appointee does not want to return to work in risk of exposing family member.

  • The elevated-risk population is defined as 60 years or older, people with certain health conditions (e.g. heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and weakened immune system), or people who are pregnant.
  • If telecommuting is operationally feasible (as determined by the supervisor) and is consistent with the needs of the academic appointee’s family member, the academic appointee may telecommute.
  • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible and the if the academic appointee is not needed to care for family member (e.g. they are just concern for their family member’s exposure), then the supervisor should follow these steps:
    • The supervisor should discuss additional safety accommodations in the workplace, where feasible, such as moving workstations and/or providing additional personal protective equipment.
    • If the academic appointee is still concerned, then the academic appointee may request a personal leave (sick, vacation, PTO, compensatory time off, or leave without pay), subject to normal approval process by supervisor
  • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible and the academic appointee is needed to provide care to the family member, the supervisor should work with their designated department representative to go through the following steps:
    • The academic appointee may use either or both of the following leave options:
      • UC’s COVID-19 Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) of 128 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Supervisor to approve before use; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
      • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) of 80 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Academic Appointee is to request usage via EPSL request form; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
      • The use of EPAL shall not adversely affect the delivery of essential University services. Additionally, health care workers and emergency responders are not eligible for use of EPSL to care for a family member. In these situations, the supervisor should consult the Office of Academic Personnel.
    • If the academic appointee is expected to be off work more than 3 days, the academic appointee’s designated department representative should send the academic appointee a standard FMLA packet with the academic appointee’s eligibility, rights/responsibilities, declaration of relationship, and healthcare provider certification form (if eligible).
    • If the academic appointee requires leave longer than what EPAL and EPSL provides, the academic appointee should follow regular FMLA options, including usage of their leave accruals (sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off).
      1. Discuss additional safety accommodations in the workplace where feasible, such as moving workstations and/or providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to address academic appointee’s concerns
      2. If still concerned personal leave (PTO/vacation/sick/leave without pay), subject to normal approval process by supervisor

7. The academic appointee has been exposed to an individual that has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and exposure was outside of work.

  • The supervisor should advise the academic appointee not to come to work and refer the academic appointee to consult by phone one of the following:
    • Academic appointees that work on campus:
      • Academic appointee’s own healthcare provider
      • UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH)
    • Academic appointees that work at medical center:
      • UCI Medical Center Occupational Health
  • If a healthcare provider determines that the academic appointee should be quarantined, and:
    • If telecommuting is operationally feasible, then the academic appointee should telecommute.
    • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible, then the academic appointee may use either or both of the following:
      • UC’s COVID-19 Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) of 128 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Supervisor to approve before use; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
      • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) of 80 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Academic appointee is to request usage via EPSL request form; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
  • The supervisor should work with their designated department representative to report the potential case for tracking at UCI.

8. The academic appointee has been exposed to an individual that has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and exposure was through carrying out their job responsibilities at work.

  • The supervisor should advise the academic appointee not to come to work and refer the academic appointee to consult by phone one of the following:
    • Academic appointees that work on campus:
      • Academic appointee’s own healthcare provider
      • UCI Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH)
    • Academic appointees that work at medical center:
      • UCI Medical Center Occupational Health
  • If a healthcare provider determines that the academic appointee should be quarantined, and:
    • If telecommuting is operationally feasible, then the academic appointee should telecommute.
    • If telecommuting is not operationally feasible, then the academic appointee may use either or both of the following:
      • UC’s COVID-19 Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) of 128 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Supervisor to approve before use; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
      • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) of 80 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Academic appointee is to request usage via EPSL request form; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
  • The supervisor should work with their designated department representative to report the potential case for tracking at UCI.

9. The academic appointee is fearful of contracting COVID-19 at work.

  • We face unprecedented times which can be concerning for many of our academic appointees. It is understandable that academic appointees may be fearful of resuming their regular daily lives. Supervisors should encourage academic appointees to reach out to UCI’s Employee Assistance Program to discuss their concerns in a confidential setting.
  • The supervisor should also provide information to the academic appointee about the steps UCI and their department are taking to ensure a safe workplace.
  • However, the academic appointee is still required to report to work. The academic appointee may be eligible, with supervisor approval, for a personal leave (utilizing vacation, PTO, compensatory time off, or leave without pay).
  • The academic appointee may have an underlying medical condition. If the academic appointee provides a medical certification from their healthcare provider, the supervisor and their designated department representative should follow the FMLA process and/or the disability accommodation interactive process. Additionally, the Disability Management Consultant shall be consulted.
  • If the academic appointee continues to refuse to report to work (and has not requested a personal leave or provided a medical certification), then consult the Office of Academic Personnel to determine the appropriate action.

10. The academic appointee believes that the department is not following appropriate safety/cleaning procedures and/or providing academic appointees with proper safety equipment.

  • We face unprecedented times which can be concerning for many of our academic appointees. It is understandable that academic appointees may be fearful of resuming their regular daily lives. Supervisors should encourage academic appointees to reach out to UCI’s Employee Assistance Program to discuss their concerns in a confidential setting.
  • The supervisor should ensure that the standard UCI safety procedures are being followed.
  • If standards are being met, the supervisor should then provide information to the academic appointee about the steps UCI and their department are taking to ensure a safe workplace. The academic appointee is still required to report to work.
  • The supervisor and/or department facilities lead consults with EH&S if standards are not able to be met, or specific concerns not addressed.
  • If academic appointee continues to refuse to report to work, consult the Office of Academic Personnel regarding the appropriate action.

11. The academic appointee prefers to telecommute.

  • Telecommuting determinations will be based primarily on considerations related to attributes of the position.
  • For academic appointees that have a desire to telecommute (other than for a reason of medical condition or disability accommodation), they may request permanent or an extended period of telecommuting from their supervisor.
  • Academic appointees will not be granted the ability to telecommute based solely on the notion that they were telecommuting during the COVID-19 response.
  • Some considerations the supervisor with use to evaluate potential telecommuting include:
    • Job responsibilities and nature of the work: Determination of whether the job responsibilities and nature of the work lend itself to telecommuting. Jobs that entail working alone or working with equipment that can be kept at the alternate work site may be suitable for telecommuting. However, jobs that require physical presence to perform effectively are normally not suitable for telecommuting.
    • Academic appointee suitability: Assessment of the needs and work habits of the academic appointee, compared to those customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters, such as ability to work independently and meet deadlines.
    • Alternative worksite: Consideration of whether the proposed alternative worksite would be a safe, ergonomically sound, and secure work environment. Review of the physical workspace needs and proposed alternative worksite.
    • Equipment: Evaluation of equipment needs and how they can be addressed if the academic appointee is telecommuting. Review of any specialty equipment needed to perform work.
    • Security: Ability to ensure the protection of proprietary, private, and sensitive information accessible from the alternative worksite
    • Scheduling: Determination of whether the academic appointee would be available during normal business hours and/or when the department is in need of contact.

12. The academic appointee’s normal childcare/school has not reopened.

  • If operationally feasible, the academic appointee may continue telecommuting.
  • If not operationally feasible, the academic appointee may use one or more of the following leave options:
    • UC’s COVID-19 Expanded Paid Administrative Leave (EPAL) of 128 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Supervisor to approve before use; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) of 80 hours (or equivalent amount if part-time). Academic appointee is to request usage via EPSL request form; report in Time Reporting System (TRS).
    • Expanded Family & Medical Leave (EFML) of up to 10 workweeks paid (12 workweeks of job protection with the first two workweeks being unpaid).
  • If the academic appointee requires leave longer than what EPAL and EPSL provides, the academic appointee may use their leave accruals (sick, vacation, PTO, or compensatory time off) or leave without pay.
  • Health care workers and emergency responders are not eligible for leave related to childcare/school closures. The supervisor should consult the Office of Academic Personnel for assistance.

13. The academic appointee’s normal childcare/school is open, but the academic appointee is NOT comfortable sending children to childcare/school.

  • We face unprecedented times which can be concerning for many of our academic appointees. It is understandable that academic appointees may be fearful of resuming their regular daily lives. Supervisors should encourage academic appointees to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program to discuss their concerns in a confidential setting.
  • However, if the academic appointee’s childcare/school has reopened, the academic appointee is required to report to work.
  • The academic appointee may request personal leave (vacation, PTO, compensatory time off, or leave without pay), subject to normal approval process by supervisor
  • At the department and supervisor’s discretion, telecommuting for a period of time may be considered, if operationally feasible.

14. The academic appointee believes the requiring of wearing a mask and/or following other required safety procedures is in violation of their “rights” and, therefore, refuses to come to work.

The supervisor should consult the Office of Academic Personnel.

Resources

COVID-19 Guidance for Academics
COVID-19 Related Leaves for all Academic Appointees
COVID-19 Reporting Procedures
Benefits Representative/Employee Experience Center
Employee Assistance Program  (844) 824-3273
ComPsych Guidance Resources (Web ID: UCIEAP3)
Center for Occupational and Environmental Health:

    • UCI Health Location
      (949) 824-8685
      19722 MacArthur Blvd, Irvine, CA 92612
    • UC Irvine Medical Center
      (714) 456-8300
      Pavilion III, Building 29. 101 The City Drive South
      Orange, CA 92868

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