The Reduced Paid Leave Temporary Program Modification for COVID-19 (RPL for COVID-19) is a temporary expansion of the standard Reduced Paid Leave program. This leave provides approved employees with a reduced salary of 50% of base pay (prior to payroll deductions) for their illness or their immediate family member’s illness related to COVID-19. The maximum benefit provided by RPL for COVID-19 is 10 business days (prorated by their full-time equivalency status-FTE) and is reduced by the number of days of Extended Illness Bank (EIB) or sick leave used in the quarantine period.
The RPL for COVID-19 and standard RPL programs are both managed by the HR Leave Center and provide job protection. However, the eligibility, administration and utilization of the programs are different. Approval for RPL for COVID-19 does not count as one of the two illness periods in a rolling 12-month period allowed by the standard RPL program. Similarly, leave approved for COVID-19 does not count towards the 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave (FML) unless the leave evolves into a serious medical condition covered by the FML. For questions, please call the HR Leave Center at 713-745-3652 (5-FMLA).
To apply for RPL for COVID-19, employees must meet each of the following criteria:
- Work in a benefits eligible full or part-time position (including those in an educational appointee, student or trainee position) for at least .5FTE/20 hours per week,
- Exhaust EIB or sick leave, and
- Meet one of the following criteria:
- Employee is subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- Employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. Please call the HR Leave Center at (713) 745-3652 (5-FMLA) if a positive diagnosis is given.
- The employee is caring for a qualifying family member or a grandparent who is self-quarantined or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19.
- Unlike the standard RPL program, RPL for COVID-19 removes the 7-day and 180-day elimination periods once EIB or sick leave is exhausted.
- An employee can receive one award of RPL for COVID-19 regardless of the number of days used. The benefit cannot be split between days or used on an intermittent basis.
- Similarly, if both an employee and immediate family member are employed by MD Anderson, the employee cannot receive the COVID-19 benefit for herself and another benefit to care for her spouse.
STEP 1: Employee notifies their manager of their need to request leave
- Employees are not required to disclose the reason for their request.
- Employees are expected to give their manager as much notice as possible.
STEP 2: Employee requests RPL for COVID-19 from the HR Leave Center
- The employee contacts the HR Leave Center at 713-745-3652 (5-FMLA) to request RPL for COVID-19 providing accurate and complete information.
- The HR Leave Center will determine an employee’s eligibility to apply for the leave.
- If the employee is eligible, the HR Leave Center will send the application, discuss required documentation and expectations.
STEP 3: Documentation
- The employee submits the application to the HR Leave Center within 1 business day after making the request for leave. The request for leave will not be reviewed until the completed application is received.
- If the required documentation is not received, the RPL for COVID-19 request will be closed.
STEP 4: Approval or Denial of RPL for COVID-19
- The HR Leave Center reviews the documentation within 1 business day of its receipt.
- The review includes an evaluation of the completed application as it relates to the reason the RPL for COVID-19 was requested.
STEP 5: Communication of Decision
- The HR Leave Center will notify both the manager and employee about the decision on the application, including the dates of approved leave if applicable.
- If the application is denied, the employee must use their own accruals or take leave without pay for the absences.
STEP 6: While on leave
- Managers are not allowed to assign work and employees are not allowed to perform work during the RPL for COVID-19 benefit period. Performing work includes, but is not limited to, attending meetings or conferences or checking/ responding to work-related emails.
- Employees should follow instructions from your manager about maintaining contact with them during your leave period.
- If you are approved for short- or long-term disability benefits through the University of Texas System, you cannot receive these payments and RPL for COVID-19 for the same period. If you have these coverages, please review the plans before applying for RPL for COVID-19.
- An employee may not receive both Workers’ Compensation and RPL for COVID-19. If an employee has filed, is filing or intends to file a Workers’ Compensation claim or appeal, they are not eligible to apply for RPL for COVID-19.
- When approved for RPL for COVID-19, the employee will continue to accrue PTO and EIB or sick and vacation leave (if applicable). However, employees cannot use this accrued time while on leave.
- RPL for COVID-19 may not be supplemented with other accrued leave.
- Unused RPL for COVID-19 hours are not paid at termination from the institution or following death. The hours may not be carried forward to another leave period.
- Abuse of this leave or falsification of any documentation may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
- On the last day of the leave, employees should contact Employee Health at 713-745-6900 for an evaluation.
- If the employee does not complete the evaluation or they are not cleared by Employee Health to return to work, the employee will need to talk with their manager about working from home until released or utilizing applicable leave accruals. If applicable, accruals could include sick leave or direct access to EIB for COVID-19 if accrued in the new fiscal year.
- Once Employee Health clears the employee to return to work, the employee must email the HR Leave Center on the first day of their return to avoid disruption with their paycheck.
All information relating to requests for RPL for COVID-19 is confidential and is only shared on a need to know basis.