In an email sent to campus on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, NU President Ted Carter aprovided updates to a policy originally announced in March that allows for emergency administrative leave to account for time needed related to the COVID-19 epidemic.
In this updated policy University of Nebraska employees, with supervisor approval, will be able to take up to 160 hours of admnistrative leave, through June 30, 2021, in the event in the event of self-quarantine; quarantine or care of an immediate family member; childcare resulting from school closures; or other scenarios related to COVID-19.
If an employee has already made use of a these hours, but not in an amount that reaches the 160-hour limit, any remaining hours from the original pool of hours will carry over into 2021 through the new deadline date. Originally, the university's policy was scheduled to expire on Dec. 31 of this year.
As before, the emergency administrative leave is available to all employees, including student and temporary workers. Part-time employees will be eligible for a prorated amount of time.
Additionally, vacation hours that would have been earned by employees at the 280-hour limit will be banked into the university's crisis leave fund, rather than going unused.
Carter's Dec. 17 email is included below, in its entirity, as well as the earlier emails regarding this policy from March.
A FAQ guide is also available for those needing additional information.
One of our highest priorities in responding to COVID-19 has been creating as much flexibility as possible for faculty and staff to continue the important work of the University while balancing challenges presented by the pandemic.
As you remember, in March we created a policy granting up to 160 hours of paid emergency administrative leave for employees in response to COVID-19. Under the policy, all employees, including student, part-time and temporary workers, may take paid emergency leave for self-quarantine, quarantine or care of an immediate family member, childcare resulting from school closures, or other scenarios related to COVID-19.
Our policy was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides additional options for paid leave related to COVID-19, is also set to expire on Dec. 31, and Congress has not yet extended it.
Given the ongoing uncertainties related to the pandemic, we have decided to extend our emergency administrative leave policy through June 30, 2021. The emergency leave pool will remain at 160 hours; in other words, if you have already used a portion of the leave, your remaining “balance” will simply carry over into 2021. We hope this extension creates additional peace of mind as we continue to navigate our COVID-19 world.
As a reminder, flexible work schedules are our first line of defense. Supervisors are expected to create as much flexibility as possible for employees to do their jobs, for example through alternative work schedules or work sites. If those are not possible, our emergency paid leave policy applies. Employees who have exhausted the 160-hour limit may use other leave options if necessary, including vacation leave, sick leave or crisis leave.
Finally, employees wishing to donate to the university’s crisis leave bank may contact their campus human resources office.
An updated FAQ regarding our leave options is available here.
Thank you again for all that you do to serve our 52,000 students and the State of Nebraska.
President, University of Nebraska
As many of us transition to remote work and prepare to welcome students back to a dramatically different learning environment, we continue to be humbled by your commitment to the vital mission of the University of Nebraska.
While the University remains open, and remote and flexible work arrangements remain our expectation and first line of defense, we realize not every job can be performed at home. We have heard from many of you that the emergency paid administrative leave policy we announced earlier this month has been a source of relief and peace of mind as you care for your families and attend to your own health.
Hundreds of you have used the emergency administrative leave already, and we expect that to grow as we settle into our “new normal” of balancing work, the care and education of children whose schools are closed, and other personal responsibilities.
To provide you with additional flexibility as you plan for the weeks ahead, we are extending the emergency administrative leave policy, effective immediately. With supervisor approval, University of Nebraska employees now may take up to 160 hours of administrative paid leave (up from the previous 80 hours) in the event of self-quarantine, quarantine or care of an immediate family member, childcare resulting from school closures, or other scenarios related to COVID-19. As before, the emergency administrative leave is available to all employees, including student and temporary workers. Part-time employees will be eligible for a prorated amount of time.
This extension will give us time to analyze related actions being taken at the federal level and talk with our peer institutions, most of whom are in the same position as us. More importantly, we hope the additional leave helps you manage what we can all agree are unprecedented challenges while continuing the important work of the University.
Finally, many of you have asked how you can help colleagues in need. As you know, employees may earn a maximum of 280 hours of vacation leave. Effective immediately and until further notice, vacation hours that would have been earned by employees if they were not at the 280-hour limit will be calculated and added to the university’s crisis leave bank.
In other words, if you’re at the 280-hour maximum and you take no vacation next month, we will deposit 16 vacation hours into our crisis bank. This simple strategy, requiring no action on your part, will build a larger cushion for colleagues in crisis. And it aligns with our goal to take care of each other in a difficult time.
In addition, if you’d like to donate any of your existing vacation leave to our crisis bank to help others who may need assistance, we encourage you to do so.
Updated FAQs regarding our updated policies are available here.
Thank you again for all you are doing to serve our 51,000 students and move our University forward. This work is not easy, but our strengths as a University system are shining through.
President, University of Nebraska
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Doug Kristensen, J.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney
As the spread of the coronavirus continues to disrupt many of our personal and professional lives, we find ourselves in a period of unique challenge and uncertainty.
The chancellors and I, together with colleagues across the University of Nebraska system, are in daily communication about the impact of the virus on our community and what we can do to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.
We hope to create as much stability as we can for members of our community through this rapidly changing situation. Many of us will face challenges in the days, weeks and months ahead, whether related to our own health, the health of a family member, or care for our children. I know the closings of Lincoln and Omaha schools, among others, has many of our families scrambling right now.
To provide you with greater flexibility to manage these challenges, I have created an emergency paid administrative leave policy related to COVID-19. Effective immediately and subject to supervisor approval, University of Nebraska employees may take up to 80 hours of administrative paid leave in the event of self-quarantine, quarantine or care of an immediate family member, childcare resulting from school closures, or other related scenarios. The emergency leave is available to all employees, including temporary and student workers; part-time employees will be eligible for a prorated amount of time.
This temporary administrative leave policy can be used during the current pandemic, and we will re-evaluate the program as well as other leave policies as needed in the coming weeks.
I want to stress the University remains open and that flexible work arrangements remain our first line of defense. We expect supervisors to create as much flexibility as possible for their team members to continue to do their work, whether working remotely, working during non-business hours or other approaches.
However, we also know that not every job can be performed at home — and that unique challenges require unique solutions. My hope is that the option of emergency administrative leave gives you additional peace of mind as you care for your families, protect your health and continue to deliver on the vital mission of the University of Nebraska.
Our bottom line is that no employee should find themselves at a disadvantage because of this global pandemic.
Thank you again for all that you are doing to move our University forward even as we find our “new normal.” To witness your leadership and diligence during these times — and your care and concern for our 51,000 students — has reminded me yet again of the strength of our University system. There really is no place like Nebraska.
President, University of Nebraska
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.