Skip to:

COVID-19 FAQs

FAQs

How does the FFCRA help employees?

What leave benefits does the EPSLA provide?

What is the effective date of the FFCRA, which includes EPSL and the EFMLA?

Are EPSL and EFMLA requirements retroactive?

How do I count hours worked by a part-time employee for purposes of EPSL or EFMLA?

Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under FMLA?

May I take 80 hours of Paid Sick Leave for my self-quarantine and then another amount of Paid Sick Leave for another reason provided under the EPSLA?

When am I eligible for Paid Sick Leave to self-quarantine?

When am I eligible for Paid Sick Leave to care for someone who is self-quarantining?

For purposes of EPSL, can an employee supplement the remaining one-third of the employee’s regular rate of pay with other accrued leave?

For purposes of EPSL and EFMLA, can an employee supplement the remaining one-third of the employee’s regular rate of pay with donated leave?

I become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, decide to quarantine myself for two weeks, and then return to work. I do not seek a medical diagnosis or the advice of a Health Care Provider. Can I get paid for those two weeks under the FFCRA?

Do we have specific documentation requirements for employees to request EPSL and EFMLA?

Are employees required to communicate with the supervisor to continue to receive EPSL?

When am I eligible for Paid Sick Leave based on a “substantially similar condition” specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services?

How long will it take to be approved for EPSL or EFMLA?

If I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, do I get Paid Sick Leave, Expanded Family and Medical Leave, or both—how do they interact?

May I take my Paid Sick Leave intermittently while working?

May I take my EFMLA intermittently while my child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if I am not teleworking?

May I take leave under the FMLA over the next 12 months if I used some or all of my EFMLA under the EFMLEA?

May I take Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave to care for my children because their child care provider or school is closed for summer vacation?

Under what circumstances do I need a Telework Agreement?

Is Administrative Leave available?

How do I request to Telework if I have a medical condition that is considered to be high risk for severe illness from COVID-19?

What if I have a medical condition that is not on the CDC Guidelines?

What should an employee do if they have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to a person believed to have COVID-19?

What should a Supervisor do if contacted that their employee has COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has been exposed to a person believed to have COVID-19?

How does the FFCRA help employees?

Congress passed the FFCRA which (1) amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to provide expanded paid family leave benefits, called Expanded Family and Medical Leave (“EFML”); and (2) provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefits, called Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”).

Back to top

What leave benefits does the EPSLA provide?

The EPSLA states that covered employers are required to provide employees, exempt and non-exempt, with Paid Sick Leave to the extent the employee is unable to work or telework due to any of the following reason(s):

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a Health Care Provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19, or an individual who has been advised by a Health Care Provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19.
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor.

Back to top

What is the effective date of the FFCRA, which includes EPSL and the EFMLA?

The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Back to top

Are EPSL and EFMLA requirements retroactive?

This leave is available on or after June 15, 2020.

Back to top

How do I count hours worked by a part-time employee for purposes of EPSL or EFMLA?

A part-time employee is entitled to leave for his or her average number of work hours in a two-week period. Therefore, you calculate hours of leave based on the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work.

Back to top

Do I qualify for leave for a COVID-19 related reason even if I have already used some or all of my leave under FMLA?

If you are an eligible employee, you are entitled to Paid Sick Leave under EPSL regardless of how much leave you have taken under the FMLA.

However, your eligibility for Expanded Family and Medical Leave depends on how much leave you have already taken during the 12-month period for FMLA leave. You may take a total of 12 workweeks for FMLA, including EFMLA, during a 12-month period (July 1 – June 30).

Back to top

May I take 80 hours of Paid Sick Leave for my self-quarantine and then another amount of Paid Sick Leave for another reason provided under the EPSLA?

No. You may take up to two weeks, or ten days (80 hours for a full-time employee, or for a part-time employee, a pro-rated amount) of Paid Sick Leave for any combination of qualifying reasons. However, the total number of hours for which you receive Paid Sick Leave is capped at 80 hours under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.

Back to top

When am I eligible for Paid Sick Leave to self-quarantine?

You are eligible for Paid Sick Leave if a Health Care Provider directs or advises you to stay home or otherwise quarantine yourself because the Health Care Provider believes that you may have COVID-19 or are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, and quarantining yourself based upon that advice prevents you from working (or teleworking).

Back to top

When am I eligible for Paid Sick Leave to care for someone who is self-quarantining?

You may take Paid Sick Leave to care for a self-quarantining individual if a Health Care Provider has advised that individual to stay home or otherwise quarantine him or herself because he or she may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and provision of care to that individual prevents you from working (or teleworking).

Back to top

For purposes of EPSL, can an employee supplement the remaining one-third of the employee’s regular rate of pay with other accrued leave?

EPSL taken for reasons #1-3 is paid at 100% of an employee’s regular rate of pay. Therefore, leave will not need to be supplemented.

EPSL taken for reasons #4 – 6 is paid at 2/3 an employee’s regular rate of pay. An employee may elect to use accrued personal leave (for reason #5) or major medical leave (for reason #4 or #6), or compensatory time, if applicable, to receive an additional one-third of the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Back to top

For purposes of EPSL and EFMLA, can an employee supplement the remaining one-third of the employee’s regular rate of pay with donated leave?

No, donated leave is not available to use for this purpose.

Back to top

I become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, decide to quarantine myself for two weeks, and then return to work. I do not seek a medical diagnosis or the advice of a Health Care Provider. Can I get paid for those two weeks under the FFCRA?

Generally, no. If you become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, you may take Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA only to seek a medical diagnosis or if a Health Care Provider otherwise advises you to self-quarantine. If you test positive for the virus associated with COVID-19 or are advised by a Health Care Provider to self-quarantine, you may continue to take Paid Sick Leave. You may not take Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA if you unilaterally decide to self-quarantine for an illness without medical advice, even if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Note that you may not take Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA if you become ill with an illness not related to COVID-19. Depending on your supervisor’s expectations and your condition, however, you may be able to telework during your period of quarantine.

Back to top

Do we have specific documentation requirements for employees to request EPSL and EFMLA?

Yes, an employee must complete the following forms to request leave.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Request Form - FFCRA Emergency Paid Sick Leave Request Form.

Expanded Family and Medical Leave Request Form - FFCRA Expanded Family and Medical Leave Request Form.

Back to top

Are employees required to communicate with the supervisor to continue to receive EPSL?

Yes. After the first workday (or portion thereof) that an employee receives Paid Sick Leave under the EPSLA, the employee should give reasonable notice to continue receiving such Paid Sick Leave. The leave ends with termination of the need for leave for any of the reasons set forth above.

Back to top

When am I eligible for Paid Sick Leave based on a “substantially similar condition” specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not yet identified any “substantially similar condition” that would allow an employee to take Paid Sick Leave. If HHS does identify any such condition, the Department of Labor will issue guidance explaining when you may take Paid Sick Leave on the basis of a “substantially similar condition.”

Back to top

How long will it take to be approved for EPSL or EFMLA?

HRM will determine eligibility and respond to all requests via email within five business days and ask employees to submit required documentation within 15 calendar days. Once documentation is received, HRM will approve or deny the request in approximately five business days. If approved, an employee’s leave request will be retroactive back to the date the request form was submitted.

Back to top

If I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, do I get Paid Sick Leave, Expanded Family and Medical Leave, or both—how do they interact?

If you are unable to work for a portion of the day because you have children at home, you should consider taking Expanded Family Medical leave for those hours that you need to care for your children. For more information, please visit www.hrm.msstate.edu/benefits/leave/additional.php.

Some employees may be able to work flexible hours and/or complete some portion of their duties by telework. If you believe that this is an option for you, please discuss this with your supervisor and visit www.hrm.msstate.edu/benefits/leave/trp.php

Back to top

May I take my Paid Sick Leave intermittently while working?

It depends on why you are taking Paid Sick Leave and whether your supervisor agrees. Paid Sick Leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 may be taken intermittently if the employee is able to telework.

If the employee is unable to telework, Paid Sick Leave 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.

Unless you are teleworking, once you begin taking Paid Sick Leave for one or more of these qualifying reasons, you must continue to take Paid Sick Leave each day until you either (1) use the full amount of Paid Sick Leave or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking Paid Sick Leave. 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 FFCRA is to provide such Paid Sick Leave as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others.

If you no longer have a qualifying reason for taking Paid Sick Leave before you exhaust your Paid Sick Leave, you may take any remaining Paid Sick Leave at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.

Back to top

May I take my EFMLA intermittently while my child’s school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, if I am not teleworking?

Yes, but only with your supervisor’s permission.

Back to top

May I take leave under the FMLA over the next 12 months if I used some or all of my EFMLA under the EFMLEA?

It depends. You may take a total of 12 workweeks of leave during a 12-month period under the FMLA, including the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. If you take some, but not all 12 workweeks of your Expanded Family and Medical Leave by December 31, 2020, you may take the remaining portion of FMLA leave for a serious medical condition, as long as the total time taken does not exceed 12 workweeks in the 12-month period. The 12-month period for MSU is July 1 – June 30.

Back to top

May I take Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave to care for my children because their child care provider or school is closed for summer vacation?

The employee may be able to take leave if his or her child’s care provider during the summer—a camp or other program(s) in which the employee’s child is enrolled—is closed or unavailable for a COVID-19 related reason.

Back to top

Under what circumstances do I need a Telework Agreement?

Beginning on July 6, all employees who are teleworking for any portion of their regular work schedule from a remote location will need a Telework Agreement on file in their department and HRM. Telework agreements are NOT required for 9-month faculty members, regardless of whether they are teaching classes this summer. It must be signed by both the employee and the Department Head/Director. The purpose of the telework agreement is to ensure that the employee and Department Head/Director both agree that the essential functions of the employee’s job can and will be performed from a remote location. The form is located at www.hrm.msstate.edu/covid19

Back to top

Is Administrative Leave available?

Employees whose job functions cannot be performed currently due a COVID related reason or reduction in University operations may request Administrative Leave; all others should report to work if their work cannot be done remotely.

To remain on or take Administrative Leave for a Covid-19 related reason, the employee must submit a leave request via eForms, indicating that there is no work that can be performed at this time or other reason that Administrative Leave is needed. The Director/Department Head will approve, if appropriate.

Back to top

How do I request to Telework if I have a medical condition that is considered to be high risk for severe illness from COVID-19?

Employees that are at a high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 under the CDC Guidelines may request an accommodation. Please see Telework Request Process for more information.

Back to top

What if I have a medical condition that is not on the CDC Guidelines?

Other medical conditions may also be declared high risk by an employee’s Health Care Provider. Please see Telework Request Process for more information or the ADA Reasonable Accommodation Request

Back to top

What should an employee do if they have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to a person believed to have COVID-19?

Employees should contact University Health Services at 662-325-2055 and alert their supervisor. Employees may seek testing or treatment from another health care provider.

Employee must provide a release to Human Resources Management from the health care provider prior to returning to work. The release can be sent to leave@hrm.msstate.edu, through campus mail, or faxed to HRM at 662-325-8395

Back to top

What should a Supervisor do if contacted that their employee has COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has been exposed to a person believed to have COVID-19?

Supervisors should contact Brent Crocker, Emergency Manager, at 662-325-4521. Supervisors must not disclose the health status of the affected employee to others.

Back to top


Definitions

Child Care Provider

A “child care provider” is someone who cares for your child. This includes individuals paid to provide child care, like nannies, au pairs, and babysitters. It also includes individuals who provide child care at no cost and without a license on a regular basis, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors.

Son or Daughter

The term “Son or Daughter” has the meaning given such term in section 101 of the FMLA (29 U.S.C. 2611). Accordingly, the term means a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is under 18 years of age; or 18 years of age or older who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Place of Care

The term “Place of Care” means a physical location in which care is provided for the employee's child while the employee works for the employer. The physical location does not have to be solely dedicated to such care. Examples include day care facilities, preschools, before and after school care programs, schools, homes, summer camps, summer enrichment programs, and respite care programs.

School

The term “School” means an “elementary school” or “secondary school” as such terms are defined below, in accordance with section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801). “Elementary school” means a nonprofit institutional day or residential school, including a public elementary charter school that provides elementary education, as determined under State law. “Secondary school” means a nonprofit institutional day or residential school, including a public secondary charter school that provides secondary education, as determined under State law, except that the term does not include any education beyond grade 12.

EPSLA

The term “EPSLA” means the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, Division E of the FFCRA. Provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for employees who are unable to work* (including those who are unable to work remotely) AND who meet one of the six qualifying reasons related to COVID-19.

Paid Sick Leave

The term “Paid Sick Leave” refers to paid leave provided under the EPSLA.

EFMLEA

The term “EFMLEA” means the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, Division C of the FFCRA. EFMLA amends and expands the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), on a temporary basis (provides 12 weeks of job protected leave) due to the need to care for the employee’s child (under 18 years of age) when the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19

Expanded Family and Medical Leave

The term “Expanded Family and Medical Leave” refers to paid leave under the EFMLEA.

Eligible Employee

For the purposes of the EFMLEA, the term “Eligible Employee” refers to all regular full-time and part-time benefits eligible employees at MSU.

Telework

The term “Telework” means work the employer permits or allows an employee to perform while the employee is at home or at a location other than the employee's normal workplace. An employee is able to Telework with Supervisor and Department Head/Director approval.

Health Care Provider

The term “Health Care Provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for Paid Sick Leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other Health Care Provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA.

Intermittent Leave

“Intermittent Leave” taken in separate blocks of time must be taken in full day increments.