Paid COVID-19 Leave in Certain Situations
The Montana University System will provide a new “Paid COVID-19 Leave” for up to 30 calendar days, subject to certain eligibility requirements and in coordination with regular statutory sick-leave requirements for state government employees. Your campus and system Human Resources officers are implementing plans to administer this special leave in accordance with state guidelines. This leave program will be managed consistently with steps taken in other agencies, departments and branches of state government.
As the State of Montana prepares for potential impacts of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, Montana University System employees are encouraged to review the following information, including the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Questions or concerns should be discussed with your supervisor in consultation with your campus human resources staff.
This guidance is provided given the circumstances relating to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is not applicable to any past events and does not create an expectation that these guidelines will continue beyond the COVID-19 situation.
This guidance will be updated as this situation continues to evolve. Your supervisor will keep you informed as we move forward. Our priority is the health and safety of our employees and continuity of the critical services we provide.
Generally, the Paid COVID-19 Leave will assist in situations where individuals are told by public health officials or health care providers to quarantine because of potential exposure or in situations if employees are diagnosed with COVID-19. The employees whose job duties and responsibilities do not allow a work-from-home arrangement may be eligible to use Paid COVID-19 Leave for the time periods specified below for medical needs or reasons of illness that sick leave would normally cover before having to use accrued sick leave.
- An employee who is quarantined because of potential exposure to COVID-19 and is unable
to work remotely is eligible for 14 calendar days of Paid COVID-19 Leave. Under these circumstances, the employee does not need provider documentation to take
the leave, but the employee may be required to provide a letter from the employee’s
health care provider or local health department indicating that the employee has completed
the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period. The employee may also be
required to provide medical documentation releasing the employee to full duty prior
to returning to work.
- An employee who is unable to work remotely is eligible for up to 14 calendar days
of Paid COVID-19 Leave if the employee or a member of the employee’s household is
experiencing a compromised immune system. The employee may provide a letter from a healthcare provider indicating the requirement
to be away from the workplace to reduce possible exposure to COVID-19 because of the
employee’s or household member’s compromised immune system.
- An employee who misses work to care for an immediate family member who is quarantined
as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for up to 14 calendar days of Paid COVID-19
Leave;remote work may be an option for the employee if it is available. The employee does not need provider documentation to take the leave, but the employee
may be required to provide a letter from the employee’s healthcare provider or local
health department indicating that the employee’s immediate family member has completed
the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period prior to returning to work.
- An employee who is diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus is eligible for up to a maximum
of 30 calendar days of Paid COVID-19 Leave. This maximum 30-calendar-day period includes any calendar days absent while under
quarantine for COVID-19. Remote work may be an option for the employee if it is available.
The employee may be required to provide written documentation from the employee’s
health care provider or a public health official of the requirement to be absent from
work. The employee may also be required to provide a letter from the employee’s healthcare
provider or local health department indicating that the employee has completed the
required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period as well as provide medical documentation
releasing the employee to full duty prior to returning to work. If the employee is
absent from work for more than 30 calendar days, the employee can use accrued sick
leave, annual leave, or compensatory time or be in an unpaid leave status.
- An employee who is required to stay home due to closure of a school, childcare, or elder care facility in connection with the monitoring or management of the coronavirus or as a result of a declared public health emergency by the Governor and is not eligible to work remotely or is unable to telework because the employee’s child needs full-time care, is eligible for up to 80 hours of Paid COVID-19 Leave. This paid leave can be taken intermittently and is available effective March 16, 2020; this paid leave will not deduct from accrued leave balances. After having used 80 hours of Paid COVID-19 Leave, the employee may use accrued annual(vacation), compensatory (comp) time, or sick leave.Paid COVID-19 Leave is only available for the employee’s actual worked hours as scheduled by the employee’s immediate supervisor.
Paid COVID-19 Leave is not provided during weekend or workdays when the employee is not scheduled to work, and no work has been performed.
During the COVID-19 situation, the 90-day sick leave and 6-month annual leave waiting periods for new-hire employees are waived.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Great Falls College will go into a shelter-in-place status and use the following business continuity plan:
Facilities personnel will be on campus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, to monitor the building and receive mail/packages.
- Ja still will come to campus each day to distribute mail and address any critical print jobs.
- The Executive Team will periodically be on campus to check area mailboxes and fax machines for anything that needs to be addressed immediately.
If you are in need of something from your office, please contact your ET member for assistance.
During this time, entrance into the building will not be allowed except in the instances outlined above.
You may hear the Montana University System is considered an essential service and therefore we would not be affected. That is for the four-year campuses, where a handful of students are still in residence and essential services need to be maintained for their safety and health. Great Falls College MSU is a commuter campus; therefore, our essential services look different from MSU Bozeman, MSU-Billings and MSU-Northern. I am sure we will receive further communication from OCHE and MSU Bozeman. Our communication channels will continue to be robust.
For now, please adhere to the governor’s directive. This is to keep all of us safe, and with a focus of keeping our health care providers safe and not overwhelming our hospitals.
Employees are always encouraged to use general precautions (at work, in public, or at home). Precautions include:
- Wash your hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds each time.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Refrain from reusing tissues after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched (cell phones, desk phones,
keyboards, remote controls, countertops, refrigerator, door handles, etc.).
- Stay home from work if you are sick.
- Minimize your direct contact with others who may be unwell or who are vulnerable to
- Get your flu vaccine if you have not already done so.
If you or a member of your household are experiencing a compromised immune system and are concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, contact your immediate supervisor. You may be required to provide a letter from your health care provider. If possible and appropriate for your work, arrangements may be made for you to be able to work remotely (telework). Your supervisor and you can work together to make necessary arrangements so that you may work remotely.
If you are unable to work remotely because your work does not align with telework, you will be eligible for Paid COVID-19 Leave for up to 14 calendar days. After 14 calendar days, you can use accrued sick leave. You may also use accrued annual leave or compensatory time if you need to remain absent from work due to your personal health condition. If you must remain out from work after exhausting your available leave, you will be placed in an unpaid status until you have been released to return to work by your healthcare provider.
Montana University System campuses may consider the following precautions:
- Restrict how close the public may come to employees.
- Educate employees to wash hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
- Institute hygiene rules for meetings, e.g., no handshakes.
- Maintain separate pens and other equipment for the public.