COVID Information and Leave Forms

Revised FAQ released April 8, 2020 at 7:00 am.

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).

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. As this situation continues to evolve information will be updated as necessary. Your supervisor will keep you informed as we move forward. Our priority is the health and safety of our employees and the continuity of the critical services we provide.

Please review the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Information (FFCRA or Act) for information about your rights. 

Questions or concerns should be discussed with your supervisor in consultation with Human Resource Services.

COVID-19 PAID LEAVE FORMS (STATE & FEDERAL)

COVID-19 Paid Leave Form

Federal COVID-19 Leave Form

COVID-19 Leave Chart

Please review, print, sign and get the approval from your supervisor. Email the completed form to HRSCommunications@mso.umt.edu. If you have questions, please use this email and a member of the HRS Team will reply as quickly as possible. Thank you.

This information can also be found on the HRS website at HRS COVID-19 and Managers and Supervisors.

Overview

Generally, the state and federal COVID-19 Paid Leaves 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 COVID-19 Paid leaves 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. Employees may use one Federal and one State COVID-19 paid leave option.

  • 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. (Federal and/or State)

  • 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. (Federal and/or State)

  • 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. (Federal and/or State)

  • 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. (State option)

  • 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. (Federal and/or State)

State and federal COVID-19 Paid Leaves are only available for the employee’s actual worked hours as scheduled by the employee’s immediate supervisor. COVID-19 Paid Leave is not provided during weekends 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.

Paid COVID-19 Leave FAQ

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronavirus that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

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 illness.
  • 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 the 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.

If you have symptoms of fever and cough or shortness of breath and have not had any known exposure to or tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact your health care provider for further guidance.

Please complete the Returning to Campus Questionaire if you have been traveling or if you or others with whom you have had close contact have experienced health issues.

If you have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, you should contact your health care provider or your local health department. Notify your supervisor that you have taken this step. Employees may be required to remain under quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 even if they are not symptomatic. If you are told by a health care provider or public health official that you should be under quarantine due to potential exposure, you should not report to work and will be eligible for Paid COVID-19 Leave for up to 14 calendar days. Under these circumstances, you will be required to provide a letter from your health care provider or local health department indicating that you have completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period. You may also be required to provide medical documentation releasing you to full duty prior to returning to work.
 
If possible and appropriate for your work, you may also arrange to work remotely (telework). You may work with your supervisor to make the necessary arrangements so that you may work remotely.

Please complete the Returning to Campus Questionaire if you have been traveling or if you or others with whom you have had close contact have experienced health issues.

If you think you are developing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and have reason to believe you have been exposed to the virus, you should contact your health care provider or local health department. Notify your supervisor that you have taken this step. If you are told by a health care provider or public health official that you should be under isolation due to COVID-19 illness, you should not report to work and will be eligible for Paid COVID-19 Leave for up to 30 calendar days. You will be required to provide a letter from your health care provider or local health department indicating that you have completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period. You may also be required to provide medical documentation releasing you to full duty prior to returning to work.

Please complete the Returning to Campus Questionaire if you have been traveling or if you or others with whom you have had close contact have experienced health issues.

The Montana University System Health insurance plan will cover COVID-19 testing and will waive co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance for plan members when services are received from participating providers.

If you have a concern about an employee who appears to be sick, speak to your supervisor. Montana University System campus management, in consultation with the campus human resources office, will make appropriate decisions regarding whether the employee will report to work.

The Missoula City County Health Department is responsible for notifying people who have been identified through contact tracing.  If you have been exposed to someone who is tested positive for COVID 19, and you are at risk, you will be notified by the Health Department directly.

The Montana University System has restricted all non-essential, out-of-state domestic travel. Any campus-affiliated out-of-state travel must be approved by a supervisor. The MUS also urges campuses to minimize in-state travel whenever possible.

Please complete the Returning to Campus Questionaire if you have been traveling or if you or others with whom you have had close contact have experienced health issues.

You should discuss your personal travel plans with your supervisor. If you can postpone your personal travel plans to avoid exposure to COVID-19, that may be in your best interest as well as your coworkers’ best interests. If you do travel, plan to contact your supervisor prior to returning to your workplace. Based on the situation in your workplace, you may be required to work remotely for up to 14 calendar days. If you are unable to work remotely and it is your supervisor’s decision to have you remain away from the work environment for 14 calendar days, you will be eligible for Paid COVID-19 Leave.

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.

Telecommuting

The option to work from home (telecommute) for employees who need to be absent from work due to COVID-19 may depend on several factors including, but not limited to: job function, essential status, operational requirements of the campus, and ability to access required technology. You should seek approval from your supervisor if this is an option for you. 

Leave Options

The Montana University System may provide up to 30 calendar days of Paid COVID-19 Leave for employees who are diagnosed with COVID-19. The maximum 30-calendar-day period includes any calendar days absent while under quarantine for COVID-19. You will be required to provide written documentation from your health care provider or a public health official of the requirement to be absent from work. You will also be required to provide a letter from your healthcare provider or local health department indicating that you have completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period as well as provide medical documentation releasing you to full duty prior to returning to work.

You may be entitled to use FMLA for absence related to COVID-19 if you have a qualifying event as defined by the Family and Medical Leave Act. Your campus human resources staff can assist you with questions related to FMLA eligibility.

If you have a delayed return from personal travel as a result of any state’s or country’s monitoring or management of COVID-19 or transportation disruptions associated with such monitoring or management, you should contact your supervisor. Montana University System employees may be eligible to use available accrued leave to cover the absence.

Please complete the Returning to Campus Questionaire if you have been traveling or if you or others with whom you have had close contact have experienced health issues.

You may be eligible for up to 14 calendar days of Paid COVID-19 Leave to care for a member of your immediate family who is quarantined or is ill as a result of COVID-19. You will be required to provide a letter from your healthcare provider or local health department indicating that your immediate family member has completed the required monitoring, isolation, or quarantine period.

Montana University System employees who need to be absent for more than 14 calendar days for this purpose may use available leave as outlined in the annual, compensatory time, and sick-leave policies.

If you need to stay home to care for a child because of a school closure you may be eligible to work remotely (telework). You may work with your supervisor to make the necessary arrangements so that you may work remotely.

If you are 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 you are not eligible to work remotely or are unable to telework because your child needs full-time care, you are 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, you may use accrued annual (vacation), compensatory (comp) time or sick leave.

Notifications or other campus-specific announcements will be posted on your campus webpage. The Montana University System posts COVID-19 updates and FAQs at: https://www.mus.edu/.
For other questions not covered in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact your campus human resources office.

Adapted from the State of Montana Department of Administration guidance of March 15, 2020.