Alternative Flexible Work Arrangement for Employees with an Immunocompromised Resident Household Member

A temporary Alternative Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) is available for employees with individuals residing in their household with certain immunocompromised medical conditions. This arrangement is not the same as requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or requesting an accommodation for an employee’s own health condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Please review the information below and the FAQs to determine if you are eligible before submitting applications.

Process for Staff

Staff Step One: Review Eligibility Criteria

An Alternative FWA is only available to staff with individuals residing in their household who have been advised to limit their exposure to others due to the increased risk of infection with COVID-19, and who have one of the following medical conditions:

  • Solid organ transplants or stem cell transplants;
  • Currently in cycle for chemotherapy or cancers associated with immune deficiency (leukemias and lymphomas);
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases treated with systemic corticosteroid therapy > 20mg prednisone daily, immunomodulator medications, and/or biologic agents;
  • Primary immune deficiency disorders;
  • Immune deficiencies due to HIV infection;
  • Sickle cell disease; or
  • Surgical asplenia

Some jobs cannot be performed remotely; therefore, not all requests will be approved even when a household member has a medical condition listed above. If a job has previously been assessed and determined not suitable for remote work options, this process is not applicable and there is no added benefit to the employee in proceeding with the request.

Employees not approved for an Alternative FWA may use their own available paid leave accruals in accordance with university policy. Employees who exhaust their available paid leave accruals may apply for a temporary unpaid leave of absence through their department.

Staff Step Two: Immunocompromised Resident Household Member Certification

The Immunocompromised Resident Household Member Certification document must be completed in its entirety by your resident household member’s healthcare provider and uploaded as an attachment to the Staff Request for Alternative Work Arrangement form described in step three below. Failure to provide a complete and sufficient medical certification within 15 days of your request date may result in the delay or denial of your Alternative FWA request. 

Please note that there are different forms for Faculty and Staff. Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), Teaching Assistants (TAs), and non-academic student employees should complete the staff version of the forms. Assistant Instructors (AIs) should complete the AI version of the forms.

Staff Step Three: Request for Alternative Work Arrangement

The third step is to submit a Staff Request for Alternative Work Arrangement form with the completed Immunocompromised Resident Household Member Certification form uploaded or attached to it.

The request form may be completed online via Qualtrics (preferred) or via a fillable PDF.

HR Benefits will assess the medical eligibility and HR SWS will route requests meeting eligibly requirements to the employee’s college, school, or unit (CSU) to make a final determination on the application. A resident household member’s medical condition will not be shared with the CSU.

Process for Faculty and AI's

Faculty Step One: Review Eligibility Criteria

A temporary Flexible Teaching Modality Arrangement is only available to faculty and Assistant Instructors (AIs) with individuals residing in their household who have been advised to limit their exposure to others due to the increased risk of infection with COVID-19, and who have one of the following medical conditions:

  • Solid organ transplants or stem cell transplants;
  • Currently in cycle for chemotherapy or cancers associated with immune deficiency (leukemias and lymphomas);
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases treated with systemic corticosteroid therapy > 20mg prednisone daily, immunomodulator medications, and/or biologic agents;
  • Primary immune deficiency disorders;
  • Immune deficiencies due to HIV infection;
  • Sickle cell disease; or
  • Surgical asplenia

Faculty not approved for a Flexible Teaching Modality Arrangement may discuss their options with Faculty Affairs. AIs not approved should discuss their options with their CSU.

Faculty Step Two: Request for Flexible Teaching Modality Arrangement

The second step is to submit a Request for Flexible Teaching Modality Arrangement form.

The request form may be completed online via Qualtrics.

Faculty Step Three: Immunocompromised Resident Household Member Certification

Once your request for a Flexible Teaching Modality Arrangement has been received by Faculty Affairs, you will receive an email with further instructions, including a request to complete an Immunocompromised Resident Household Member Certification document. Failure to provide a complete and sufficient medical certification may result in the delay or denial of your Flexible Teaching Modality Arrangement request. A resident household member’s medical condition will not be shared with the CSU.

Faculty Affairs will assess the medical eligibility and rout requests meeting eligibly requirements to the employee’s college, school, or unit (CSU) to discuss the feasibility of adjusting the teaching modality.

FAQS:

Who is eligible to apply for an Alternative Flexible Work Arrangement?

This arrangement is only available for employees with individuals residing in their household who have been advised to limit their exposure to others due to the increased risk of infection with COVID-19, and who have one of the following medical conditions:

  • Solid organ transplants or stem cell transplants;
  • Currently in cycle for chemotherapy or cancers associated with immune deficiency (leukemias and lymphomas);
  • Chronic inflammatory diseases treated with systemic corticosteroid therapy > 20mg prednisone daily, immunomodulator medications, and/or biologic agents;
  • Primary immune deficiency disorders;
  • immune deficiencies due to HIV infection;
  • Sickle cell disease; or
  • Surgical asplenia

However, an employee’s job duties must be able to be performed remotely and your college, school, or unit agrees that the job functions can be performed 100% remotely in support of the organizational goals of the position. Not all job duties for all positions can be performed remotely.

Who makes the final decisions about approving requests?

HR Benefits and Faculty Affairs will certify the documentation. Colleges, Schools, and Units (CSUs) will make the final determination to approve or decline a request.

How long do the Alternative FWA or Teaching Modality Arrangement last?

These temporary arrangements are for the fall 2021 semester.

How is privacy handled through this process?

The University of Texas at Austin maintains records and documents created for this arrangement as confidential and in separate files from the department personnel files.

How did the university determine the conditions that are included in this process?

The university worked with an interdisciplinary group of healthcare providers to identify what we would recognize as immunocompromised household members for purposes of this program. The university will continue to assess and adjust this process as necessary.

What if I am the one with the medical condition and not a household member?

Immunocompromised individuals are most at risk from COVID-19. Individual faculty and staff members should submit their requests for workplace accommodations for their own medical conditions through the ADA accommodation process.

What happens if my request is declined?

Staff who are not approved for an Alternative FWA, may use their own available paid leave accruals in accordance with university policy. Faculty who are not approved may consult with their College/School supervisor to investigate whether an in-person course they are teaching may be moved online until September 17, 2021.

Staff and Faculty without paid leave options may apply for an unpaid leave of absence through their department in accordance with applicable university policies.

Academic Graduate Student Employees should discuss their work options with their CSU.

What forms should student employees submit?

Assistant Instructors (AIs) should complete the AI version of the forms. Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), Teaching Assistants (TAs) and non-academic student employees should complete the Staff version of the forms.