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FAQs

Q. Why did WVU create the special emergency leave with pay plan?
A. This plan is a part of our efforts to further protect the health and well-being of WVU’s campus community in response to COVID-19. The plan is meant to address concerns some faculty and staff may have about their leave and encourage them to stay home if they are sick. This plan also is designed to help minimize any potential financial hardships faculty and staff may face as a result of COVID-19.

Q. What are alternative work arrangements?
A. Given the restrictions regarding on-campus operations, every opportunity to develop an alternative work assignment should be considered before submitting a request for special emergency leave with pay.

Duties and responsibilities may be temporarily altered to support alternative work assignments. Examples of alternative work assignments include:
  • Telework, webinars, development and training;
  • Alternative shifts; and
  • Policy reviews/operational improvements.

Talent and Culture will post resources and ideas that may be used for alternative work assignments. Supervisors also may contact their HR Partner for advice. Supervisors also should work with their HR Partner to properly document the alternative work assignment, if one is given.

Q. If I am working remotely (e.g., at home) on an alternative work assignment, will I be covered by workers’ compensation?
A. Employees on WVU payroll are covered by workers’ compensation if injured in the course of performing official duties at the remote location. Appropriate and prompt reporting is required.

Q.  If an employee gets severely ill from COVID-19 and requires hospitalization, how will the employee's insurance pay? Will the employee be paid Workers' Compensation?
A.  Employees are encouraged to review their health insurance provider’s COVID policies and benefit payment level information.

  • PEIA – Effective with date of service Feb. 4, 2020, and after, PEIA will cover COVID-19 testing (at a network provider) at 100% of the contracted allowance for members who meet CDC guidelines for testing. This will apply to PEIA PPB plans A, B, C and D and means the members will have no deductible or co-insurance for the actual test. Deductibles, copayments and co-insurance also will be waived for any physician or facility services incurred in the process of being tested. Treatment of any members who test positive for the virus will be covered at normal benefit levels. More information can be found in the PEIA COVID-19 policy .
  • The Health Plan – Effective March 11, 2020, The Health Plan is covering the cost of copays, co-insurance and deductibles for COVID-19 testing for all commercial, Medicare and Medicaid lines of business when recommended by a medical professional. The Health Plan’s exclusive independent lab provider, LabCorp, is making its NAA test available for ordering by physicians or authorized healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S.
  • Workers’ Compensation – Employees who feel they contracted COVID-19 at work should follow the normal process for filing a Workers’ Compensation claim . Each claim is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and compensability will be determined.
  • Q. If I am working remotely or in limited situations on-campus, do I still need to submit annual or sick leave if I plan to be off work?
    A. If you are a leave-eligible employee and your time off is unrelated to COVID-19, you still will follow standard University rules, polices and procedures, including the requirements to submit annual and sick leave for authorized absences.

    Q. If I need to be off work due to illness or injury for more than five consecutive days unrelated to COVID-19, will I still be required to provide medical documentation?
    A. Yes. You still will need to follow all of the medical leave requirements established by University rules, policies, procedures and practices. Medical documentation should be submitted via email to medicalmanagement@mail.wvu.edu. A picture of your medical documentation taken by smart phone or other methods can be accepted by email.

    Q. If I am working remotely, how do I submit a leave request or time worked?
    A. All non-exempt, hourly staff should continue to record their time worked in MyTime and all leave-eligible faculty and staff should submit leave requests as normal. If working remotely, faculty and staff can access MyTime and the leave request system through Information Technology ServicesVirtual Private Network (VPN) service.

    If you cannot access a time clock, you can record your time on a paper timesheet and submit it to your supervisor for approval. The paper timesheet also can be provided by WVU Shared Services.

    Q. If I need to submit a leave request or enter time worked but I am unable to do so remotely, what should I do?
    A. Supervisors may enter the time worked directly on the time card or submit leave requests for faculty and staff who do not have remote access. The supervisor should record the actual hours worked or the staff member’s normal schedule for the day on the time card, whichever is greater. The employee should not have fewer hours on their time card for the day than they are scheduled to work.

    Shared Services will assist supervisors in entering time and leave requests for employees if they cannot access MyTime or the leave request system remotely. Contact Shared Services at SSC-TimeCollection@mail.wvu.edu or call 304-293-6006 and ask to speak to Time Collection for assistance.

    Q. Who will administer the special emergency leave with pay plan?
    A. Talent and Culture will be responsible for the overall administration of the special emergency leave with pay plan.

    Q. Does the special emergency leave with pay plan apply to every campus?
    A. Yes. The plan applies to West Virginia University (i.e., Morgantown campus, Health Sciences Center (HSC), HSC Charleston Division, HSC Eastern Division, Extension Services) West Virginia University Institute of Technology, and West Virginia University Potomac State College (collectively the “University”). WVU Research Corporation and WVU Innovation Corporation employees also are included as part of the plan.

    Q. Who is eligible for special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Benefits- and non-benefits-eligible Classified Employees, Non-Classified Employees, Faculty, and any other employee positions of the West Virginia University Board of Governors (collectively “faculty and staff”) will be eligible for the benefits outlined in the plan.

    Q. Are graduate assistants and student workers eligible for special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Student employees, federal work study, or graduate student assistants (i.e., teaching assistants, research assistants, service assistants) will not be eligible for the benefits outlined in the plan.

    Q. How long will faculty and staff be eligible for special emergency leave with pay?
    A. This plan will remain in place until the emergency has ended or 90 calendar days from implementation, whichever occurs first. The President or his/her designee will secure additional approval from the Board of Governors if the plan requires extension beyond 90 calendar days.

    Q. Does the special emergency leave with pay plan have maximum limits?
    A. The initial approval for special emergency leave with pay is limited to up to 75 hours for faculty and staff on active appointments, prorated by full-time equivalency (FTE). The use of special emergency leave with pay should be the minimum necessary, and additional hours may be approved on a case-by-case basis. Special emergency leave with pay may be cancelled if the reasons supporting approval have resolved.

    Q. If I end employment with the University what will happen to any special emergency leave that has been approved for me?
    A. Special emergency leave with pay is contingent upon continued employment and may not be transferred to another West Virginia state agency. If the services of a faculty or staff member have terminated, all special emergency leave with pay credited to the faculty or staff member shall be considered cancelled as of the last day of employment, and no reimbursement or credit shall be provided.

    Q. How do I request special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Faculty and staff first should have a conversation with their supervisors to determine if an alternative work arrangement is possible. If an alternative work arrangement is not possible, the supervisor should submit a request form for special emergency leave with pay, after consultation with their HR Partner.

    Q. Will my supervisor need to submit another request form for special emergency leave if I need additional leave?
    A. Yes. If you need additional leave beyond what was originally approved, your supervisor will need to submit another request form.

    Q. What are the reasons to request special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Faculty and staff may request to use special emergency leave in instances where an alternative work arrangement is not possible AND also in the following instances:

    • The employee or a member of their immediate family has had exposure to COVID-19, displays symptoms of the disease or is in self-quarantine.
    • The employee or a member of their immediate family has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and is recuperating.
    • The employee or a member of their immediate family is considered vulnerable (i.e., older adults and individuals who have serious chronic medical condition) to becoming very sick if they contract COVID-19.
    • The employee is pregnant or has a spouse or member of their household who is pregnant.

    Q. What is the definition of immediate family member?
    A. Immediate family means father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, mother-in-law, father-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, granddaughter, grandson, stepmother, stepfather, step children, or others considered to be members of the household and living under the same roof.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay related to suspected exposure or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, do I need to provide medical documentation or return to work documentation?
    A. Medical documentation related to COVID-19 illness and subsequent returns to work may be required based on current advice from local and state public health and safety officials. As testing becomes available, the University may modify the requirements for those who seek to take advantage of special emergency leave with pay.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay, will I need to exhaust my annual and sick leave first?
    A. No. You will not be required to exhaust your annual and sick leave.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay, will I still accrue annual and sick leave?
    A. Yes. Since you will continue on payroll as an active employee, you still will be eligible to accrue annual and sick leave.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay, will I still be eligible for holidays?
    A. Yes. Since you will continue on payroll as an active employee, you still will be eligible for holidays.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay, what will happen to my other benefits, such as health insurance?
    A. Since you will continue on payroll as an active employee, your health insurance premiums will be deducted via standard payroll deductions.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay and I have previously approved annual leave, sick leave, floating holiday or compensatory time-off (CTO) for the same days, what should I do?
    A. Please work with your supervisor to cancel all approved annual leave, sick leave, floating holiday hours or CTO that is scheduled to occur during your approved special emergency leave with pay.

    Q. My current faculty or staff position is not eligible for benefits or leave, can I request special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Special emergency leave with pay is available for faculty and staff who are not usually leave- or benefits-eligible, subject to approval. Any special emergency leave with pay will be based on your current active appointment and will be prorated by FTE.

    Q. If I am currently on approved medical leave that is not related to COVID-19, am I eligible for special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Only absences that are related to COVID-19 are eligible for special emergency leave with pay. Faculty and staff on approved medical leaves for reasons other than COVID-19 will continue to follow standard University rules, policies and procedures related to medical leave, sick leave, catastrophic leave, etc.

    Q. If I am currently on medical leave or plan to take medical leave that is unrelated to COVID-19, how do I submit medical documentation?
    A. Medical documentation should be submitted via email to medicalmanagement@mail.wvu.edu. A picture of your medical documentation taken by smart phone or other methods can be accepted by email.

    Q. If I am approved for special emergency leave with pay, will this be considered an authorized absence?
    A. Yes. Approval and use of special emergency leave with pay will be considered an authorized absence. However, please work with your supervisor to follow the proper procedure and instructions to authorize the absence.

    Q. My child's school or place of care has moved to online instruction or to another model in which children are required to complete assignments at home. Is it "closed""
    A. Yes. If the physical location where your child received instruction or care is now closed, the school or place of care is “closed” for purposes of paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. This is true even if some or all instruction is being provided online or whether, through another format such as “distance learning,” your child is still expected or required to complete assignments.

    Q. My child'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 paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances?
    A. Yes, you are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA 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 FFCRA and its implementing regulations, the school is effectively “closed” to your child on days that he or she cannot attend in person. You may take paid leave under the FFCRA on each of your child’s remote-learning days.

    Q. My child’s school is giving me a choice between having my child 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 might contract COVID-19 and bring it home to the family. Since my child will be at home, may I take paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances?
    A. No, you are not eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA because your child’s school is not “closed” due to COVID–19 related reasons; it is open for your child to attend. FFCRA leave is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. If your child is home not because his or her school is closed, but because you have chosen for the child to remain home, you are not entitled to FFCRA paid leave. However, if, because of COVID-19, your child is under a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate or self-quarantine, you may be eligible to take paid leave to care for him or her. 
    Also, if your child's school is operating on an alternate day (or other hybrid-attendance) basis, you may be eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA on each of your child's remote-learning days because the school is effectively "closed" to your child on those days.

    Q. My child’s school is beginning the school year 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 paid leave under the FFCRA in these circumstances?
    A. Yes, you are eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA while your child’s school remains closed. If your child's school reopens, the availability of paid leave under the FFCRA will depend on the particulars of the school’s operations.

    Q. Where can I find more information about special emergency leave with pay?
    A. Faculty and staff should visit the Special Emergency Leave Plan page or contact their HR partner for more information on the special emergency leave with pay plan.

    Q. Who do I contact if I have additional questions related to COVID-19 and Talent and Culture rules, policies, procedures or practices?
    A. If you have additional questions, please email coronavirushr@mail.wvu.edu or call 304-293-8540.

    Q. Where can I find more information about WVU’s response to COVID-19?
    A. For more information, please visit coronavirus.wvu.edu or submit questions to coronavirus@mail.wvu.edu.