American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Paid Leave

October 1, 2021 - Expiration of ARPA Paid Leave Options

The paid leave option under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) expired on September 30, 2021.  For timekeeping purposes, you may continue to use the time codes associated with this leave through September 30, 2021, but it will not be available for use after that date. 

  • If you or someone in your household is ill/unwell, then you should use your available sick time off accruals.  Once you have exhausted your available sick time off, you should use your other paid time off accruals.  Once you have exhausted all of your available paid time off accruals, then you may be eligible for Sick Leave Pool, Family Leave Pool, or Sick Leave Donation. 
  • If you are well and have been directed to self-quarantine due to a community/family related exposure, then you should first speak to your supervisor about the possibility of working from home.  If you are unable to work from home, then you should use your available sick time off accruals.  Once you have exhausted your available sick time off, you should use your other paid time off accruals.

Overview

On March 11, 2021, the US Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  Included in the law is a provision that allows the university to provide additional paid leave to employees impacted by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) between May 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.

Eligibility

All UT employees, including non-benefits eligible and student employees, are eligible for up to two weeks (80 hours for full-time; prorated for part-time) of Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) if they are unable to work their scheduled weekly hours either on campus or remotely because they:

  1. are obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine;

  2. are recovering from an illness, injury, or condition related to the COVID-19 vaccine;

  3. are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

  4. have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;

  5. are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis;

  6. are caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order as described in (3), or has been advised to self-isolate as described in (4);

  7. are caring for their child(ren) whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons; or

  8. are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Employees will receive 100% pay for all time taken under the EPSL, regardless of the qualifying reason. The university reserves the right to exclude healthcare workers and first responders from this new leave option should the nature of the COVID-19 response warrant such action on a future date. 

Usage and Timekeeping

Intermittent Use

Employees who are working remotely, and who are unable to work their normal scheduled weekly hours due to a qualifying reason, may take leave intermittently. If the need for leave is foreseeable, then employees are strongly encouraged to work with their departments to schedule that leave if at all possible. If the need for leave is not foreseeable, then employees are required to follow their department’s normal call in procedures.

Employees whose duties require them to work on campus, and who are unable to work their normal scheduled weekly hours either on campus or remotely, may not take leave intermittently unless they are doing so to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, or care for their child(ren) whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons. For additional explanation of this restriction, please refer to the FAQs below.

Additional Usage and Timekeeping Processes

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) will be added to all employees paid time off balances as of May 18, 2021. Employees may use this time by selecting the appropriate time off code on their timesheets. No application is necessary.

The usage scenarios below provide guidance on how to use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) for various absences related to COVID-19. For specific instructions about how to complete your timesheet, please refer to the Enter EPSL - Workday Instructional Guide​. For questions additional questions about your particular time off needs, please contact your department’s human resources contact or timekeeper.

EPSL Usage Scenarios for Employees

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work because I am receiving a COVID-19 vaccine

What do I do about my time?
  • Work with your supervisor to schedule your absence in advance if possible.
  • You may use Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) for the time it takes to travel to the vaccination site, receive your vaccination, and travel back to your jobsite.                                            
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Self) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work due to an injury, illness, or other condition related to the COVID-19 vaccine

What do I do about my time?
  • If you feel well enough to work remotely, then you may ask your supervisor about flexible work arrangements that will allow you to do so.
  • If you are unable able to work remotely, or unable to work all of your scheduled weekly hours remotely, then you may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to account for the hours you are unable to work.
  • If you exhaust your ten days of EPSL, then you should use your paid time off accruals (vacation, compensatory time, or floating holiday) as appropriate.
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Self) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work due to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19

What do I do about my time?
  • Ask your supervisor about flexible work arrangements that will allow you to work remotely.
  • If you are unable able to work remotely, or unable to work all of your scheduled weekly hours remotely, then you may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to account for the hours you are unable to work.
  • If you exhaust your ten days of EPSL, then you should use your paid time off accruals (vacation, compensatory time, or floating holiday) as appropriate.
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Self) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work because I have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19

What do I do about my time?
  • Ask your supervisor about flexible work arrangements that will allow you to work remotely.
  • If you are unable able to work remotely, or unable to work all of your scheduled weekly hours remotely, then you may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to account for the hours you are unable to work.
  • If you exhaust your ten days of EPSL, then you should use your paid time off accruals (vacation, compensatory time, or floating holiday) as appropriate.
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Self) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work because I am experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and I am seeking a medical diagnosis

What do I do about my time?
  • If you feel well enough to work remotely, then you may ask your supervisor about flexible work arrangements that will allow you to do so.
  • If you are unable able to work remotely, or unable to work all of your scheduled weekly hours remotely, then you may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to account for the hours you are unable to work.
  • If you exhaust your ten days of EPSL, then you should use your available paid time off accruals (sick, vacation, compensatory time, or floating holiday) as appropriate.
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Self) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work because I am caring for someone who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order, or has been advised to self quarantine by a healthcare provider

What do I do about my time?
  • Ask your supervisor about flexible working arrangements that will allow you to work remotely.
  • If you are unable able to work remotely, or unable to work all of your scheduled weekly hours remotely, then you may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to account for the hours you are unable to work.
  • If you exhaust your ten days of EPSL, then you should use your available paid time off accruals (sick, vacation, compensatory time, or floating holiday) as appropriate.
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Other) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

I am a UT Employee who is unable to work because I am caring for my child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons

What do I do about my time?
  • Ask your supervisor about flexible work arrangements that will allow you to work on site or remotely.
  • If you are unable able to work, or unable to work all of your scheduled weekly hours, then you may take Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) to account for the hours you are unable to work.
  • If you have exhausted your 10 days of EPSL, then you should use your available paid time off accruals (vacation, compensatory time, or floating holiday)                                          
Which time code do I use?
  • Use EPSL (Care for Other) for Emergency Paid Sick Time
  • Use regular time codes for other paid time off

EPSL Frequently Asked Questions

Is the EPSL provision retroactive?

Yes, leave will be retroactively available for use between May 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021.

Which employees are eligible for EPSL?

All employees, including non-benefits eligible and student employees are eligible for EPSL if they are unable to work either on campus or remotely because they:

  1. are receiving a COVID-19 vaccination
  2. are recovering from an illness, injury, or other condition related to the COVID-19 vaccine;
  3. are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  4. have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19;
  5. are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a medical diagnosis;
  6. are caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order as described in (3), or has been advised to self-isolate as described in (4);
  7. are unable to work their scheduled weekly hours either on campus or remotely because they need to care for their child(ren) whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons; or
  8. are experiencing any other substantially-similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
May I take EPSL intermittently if I am working remotely?

Yes, if you are unable to work your normal scheduled weekly hours due to a qualifying reason, then you may take either leave intermittently. If the need for leave is foreseeable, then you are strongly encouraged to work with your department to schedule that leave if at all possible. If your need for leave is not foreseeable, then you are required to follow your department’s normal call in procedures.

May I take EPSL intermittently if I am working on university property (as opposed to working remotely)?

It depends on why you are taking EPSL and whether your department has work for you to do remotely. Unless you are able to work remotely, EPSL for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments. It cannot be taken intermittently if the leave is being taken because:

  • You are recovering from an illness, injury, or other condition related to the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • 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 able to work remotely, 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 EPSL is to provide such paid sick leave as is necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others. There may be exceptions to this practice for critical employees in accordance with the CDC’s Return to Work Guidance for Critical Infrastructure Workers

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 September 30, 2021 if another qualifying reason occurs.

In contrast, you may take paid sick leave intermittently if you are taking paid sick leave to receive a vaccine, or to care for your child(ren) whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons.

How much will I be paid while on EPSL?

While taking EPSL, you will receive 100% of your regular pay, regardless of the qualifying reason.

My child(ren)’s school is giving me a choice between having my child(ren) attend in person or participate in a remote learning program for the fall. I signed up for the remote learning alternative because, for example, I worry that my child(ren) might contract COVID-19 and bring it home to the family. Since my child(ren) will be at home, may I take EPSL in these circumstances?

No, you are not eligible to take EPSL because your child(ren)’s school is not “closed” due to COVID–19 related reasons; it is open for your child(ren) to attend. If, however, your child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine due to COVID-10, then you may be eligible to take EPSL to care for them.

My child(ren)’s school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis. The school is open each day, but students alternate between days attending school in person and days participating in remote learning. They are permitted to attend school only on their allotted in-person attendance days. May I take EPSL in these circumstances?

Yes, you are eligible to take EPSL on days when your child is not permitted to attend school in person and must instead engage in remote learning, as long as you need the leave to actually care for your child during that time, and only if no other suitable person is available to do so. For purposes of the EPSL and its implementing regulations, the school is effectively “closed” to your child on days that they cannot attend in person. You may take EPSL on each of your child’s remote-learning days.

My child(ren)’s school is currently under a remote learning program out of concern for COVID-19, but has announced it will continue to evaluate local circumstances and make a decision about reopening for in-person attendance later in the school year. May I take EPSL in these circumstances?

Yes, you are eligible to take EPSL while your child(ren)’s school remains closed. If your child(ren)'s school reopens, the availability of EPSL will depend on the particulars of the school’s operations.

What documents do I have to submit to get EPSL?

No documentation is required. You must, however, follow your department’s normal procedure for requesting time off if your need for leave is foreseeable, and your department’s normal call in procedure if it is not.

What does it mean to be unable to work, including telework for COVID-19 related reasons?

You are unable to work if your department has work for you, and one of the COVID-19 qualifying reasons prevents you from being able to do so either on campus or remotely.

If you and your department agree to flexible working arrangements that allow you to work all of your scheduled weekly hours outside of your normal workday (for instance early in the morning or late at night), then you are able to work, and leave is not necessary.

Who is a child?

For purposes of EPSL, a “child” is your own child, which includes your biological, adopted, or foster child, your stepchild, a legal ward, or a child for whom you are standing in loco parentis—someone with day-to-day responsibilities to care for or financially support a child. For additional information about in loco parentis, see Fact Sheet #28B: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for birth, placement, bonding or to care for a child with a serious health condition on the basis of an “in loco parentis” relationship.

In light of Congressional direction to interpret definitions consistently, a “child” is also an adult child (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who (1) has a mental or physical disability, and (2) is incapable of self-care because of that disability. For additional information on requirements relating to an adult child, see Fact Sheet #28K.

Do I have a right to return to work if I am taking EPSL?

Generally, yes.  In most instances, you are entitled to be restored to the same or an equivalent position upon return from EPSL. 

However, you are not protected from employment actions, such as layoffs, that would have affected you regardless of whether you took leave. This means the university can lay you off for legitimate business reasons, but the university must be able to demonstrate that you would have been laid off even if you had not taken leave.

Do I qualify for EPSL if I have already used some or all of my leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

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