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Leave update: Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) reactivated Sept. 1

From: Human Resources

Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) will be reactivated with remaining balances available for use, effective Sept. 1, 2021. Any PHEL hours used during the current leave year, beginning Jan. 10, 2021 up to the expiration in July, should have been recorded in the Leave and Hours Worked System and any remaining balance will become available for use on Sept. 1. Employees who exhausted available PHEL hours (up to 80 hours for full-time employees) within the current leave year will not receive an additional allotment of PHEL hours.

Please note: PHEL guidance prior to Sept. 1, 2021 is not applicable, updated guidelines outlining acceptable situations for PHEL usage are provided below.

Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) is available to employees for many COVID-19 related leave needs including:

  • PHEL may be used to attend to an employee’s own illness due to a confirmed positive test for COVID-19. The employee’s return to the workplace must comport with the CDC’s recommendations.
  • PHEL may be used to attend to an immediate family member who has contracted COVID-19 through a confirmed positive test.
  • PHEL may be used to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 if unable to continue your job duties remotely.
  • Up to 8 hours of PHEL may be used to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and/or recover from side-effects resulting from obtaining the vaccine.
  • Once the allotment of PHEL is used, employees may use appropriate and available leave balances (Traditional or VSDP Sick Leave, Family-Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Compensatory Leave, Overtime Leave, Recognition Leave) or Leave without Pay.

Employees are required to provide documentation to their manager or department HR representative to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure. Documentation can include a note from a health care provider or public health agency. In addition, departments should document PHEL approval for other reasons outlined above. Departments are required to maintain this documentation per University Policy No. 2000: Management of University Records. Employees should work with their supervisor to confirm eligibility for PHEL.

PHEL leave is inactive from July 10 – Aug. 31, 2021 in the Leave Reporting and Time Worked System.  If leave is needed due to COVID-19, employees will need to use their own applicable leave balances.

In addition to the PHEL benefit, employees can use any applicable leave available for COVID-19-related leave needs. For questions regarding leave, please contact the Human Resource's Leave Team.

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