In December, we communicated that the University of Illinois System would continue the paid leave provisions of FFCRA until more information was available from the federal government about the continuation or termination of this benefit. These provisions for time off, which an employee may need because of qualifying reasons related to COVID-19, are extended through March 31, 2021.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 encouraged employers to voluntarily extend access to Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave through March 31, 2021.
If an employee needs to utilize FFCRA COVID-related leave time:
- Employees must meet eligibility requirements to qualify.
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave: The timeframe is extended for using the original amount of leave that was available. This means, from January 1 - March 31, 2021, eligible employees are entitled only to any remaining paid emergency sick leave time left from the original allotment of leave that was made available on April 1, 2020.
- Expanded Family and Medical Leave: This expanded leave time also does not start over, but continues to be based on an employee’s FMLA event date and usage.
An employee should contact their HR representative if they did not exhaust their FFCRA leave and they need to continue their leave under the voluntary extension. FFCRA leave for a new reason requires a new Employee Certification Form.
Employee Certification Form
FMLA/VESSA Usage Report for Units
If an employee has already exhausted leave time available under the FFCRA, but has a COVID-19 related absence, please consider whether another type of time off is available (either paid or unpaid) for which the employee may be eligible. Possible leave options may include:
- Shared Benefits Leave pool
- For a COVID-19 related absence, an employee must meet all eligibility requirements for Shared Benefits pool leave, except that an otherwise eligible employee does not need to have a SURS disability claim pending in order to apply for or be approved.
- Shared Benefits leave is for the employee’s own condition or illness, as defined by an appropriate qualifying reason for FFCRA leave.
- An employee must have already donated to the Shared Benefits pool, and have exhausted their sick leave, or both sick and vacation leave, depending on their donation method.
- Leave must be used in full day increments (no partial days).
- Leave time as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if applicable.
- Special Leave for Civil Service Employees
- Other programs that may be available, such as those for healthcare workers or other specialized needs
For questions or assistance with any unique circumstances, please contact your HR office:
For those employees who are represented by a union, this will be implemented through the collective bargaining process.