June 9, 2021

TO:        Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors, Department Heads, and Managers

FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration

RE:        Reporting of COVID-Related Absences

Since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has continued to support our staff members as they navigate the demands of work and home life while ensuring the safety of our community.

We are seeing progress in our fight against the pandemic with more than 78 percent of University faculty and staff now fully vaccinated, which has allowed easing of some restrictions and revision of COVID policies. Given our advancement in vaccine distribution along with other key indicators, Duke University, consistent with the approach for Duke University Health System, will begin a transition back to use of accrued time off for any future COVID-related absences (i.e. illness, isolation, quarantine, reactions).

From July 1 – Aug. 31, 2021, Duke will continue to provide up to 40 hours of COVID paid time for staff who must be out for any of the following reasons:

  • COVID testing (up to two shifts per test/results)
  • Quarantine or isolation related to COVID.
  • Hospitalized because of COVID or COVID complications.
  • Side effects following COVID vaccination (up to one shift per dose)

Submitting & Tracking COVID Time

  • In order to maintain confidentiality, Employee Occupational and Health Wellness (EOHW) will include the appropriate COVID-19 pay code on the Health Recommendation Form (HRF).
  • Supervisors should then submit a Gross Adjustment form to Corporate Payroll Services using the designated pay code and corresponding reason code provided by EOHW so the time is paid as part of the normal payroll cycle. This form is only necessary for biweekly-paid (non-exempt) staff, since monthly-paid (exempt) staff will continue to receive their salary for time missed..
  • Staff members should not report the time on their timecard or record the time as vacation or sick leave between July 1 – Aug. 31.
  • Managers should use the COVID Time Tracking form to track any COVID Time used by biweekly-paid and monthly-paid staff members to ensure no individual exceeds the 40-hour cap from July 1 – Aug. 31.

In all cases, staff members will be required to be cleared to return to work by EOHW and are expected to report to their next scheduled shift. COVID-19 Paid Time is provided at the team member’s base rate of pay without differentials.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2021, staff should use accrued vacation or sick time as appropriate for all instances where work is not being performed. Rare exceptions may occur where individuals require hospitalization for severe infections. These situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

The interim COVID pay practice has been in effect since June 2020 to keep staff members in a paid status due to COVID-19 exposure or illness and limit the potential spread of the virus.

We continue to strongly encourage all team members to receive their COVID vaccine. At this time vaccination is not yet required as a condition of employment, but those who are not vaccinated by the beginning of the fall semester may be required to continue wearing masks and be tested weekly.

We remain committed to providing equitable, efficient access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for all members of the Duke community. All students, faculty, staff and family members age 12 and over are now eligible for vaccination. Appointments can be made online and walk-ins are welcome, too.

Thank you.