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

FROM: Kyle Cavanaugh, Vice President, Administration

RE: Update on Reporting COVID-Related Absences

In June, we announced a transition period from July 1 – Aug. 31, 2021, to allow staff to use up to 40 hours of COVID paid time without using their accrued time off. Beginning Sept. 1, staff would then use their accrued time (sick leave, vacation, etc.) for all instances where work in not being performed.

As a result of a recent update to state and federal guidelines, Duke has modified this policy to ensure that anyone who has exhausted their accrued time off and is required to be out of work due to the COVID-related issues below will be kept in a paid status until cleared by Employee Occupational Health & Wellness (EOHW) to return to work.

  1. The policy specifically covers absences for any of the following reasons:
  2. COVID testing (up to two shifts per test)
  3. Quarantine or isolation related to COVID
  4. Hospitalized because of COVID or COVID complications
  5. Side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine (up to one shift per dose)

COVID-19 paid time is not applicable for quarantine required due to a return from personal international travel. Individuals returning from international travel should follow the appropriate guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If individuals may be able to work remotely during this time with the approval of their supervisor. If remote work is not possible, individuals will need to use accrued time off to remain in a paid status during their quarantine period.

Submitting & Tracking COVID Time

  • 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. Tracking COVID Time will no longer be required after 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.

We appreciate your ongoing flexibility in managing this process in response to changing dynamics with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you.