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Personnel

Updated health screening guidance, released March 19, 2021

DOE updated timekeeping guidance, released Jan. 15, 2021

To read the DOE's full guidance on COVID-19 related personnel issues, go to: DOE PERSONNEL MEMORANDUM NO. 2, 2020-2021

Absences related to COVID-19

If I have symptoms of COVID-19 but have not tested positive, must I use CAR days if I am absent? 

You may take an excused leave at full pay for up to two weeks, but must also provide documentation that you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking diagnosis of COVID-19 with a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. 

Will I be paid if I am directed to self-quarantine due to exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? 

If a health care provider advises you to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, there will be no charge to your CAR or annual leave for up to 10 working days. Staff who have been fully vaccinated no longer need to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19. To be considered fully vaccinated by CDC guidelines, two weeks must have passed since you received the second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks must have passed since you received a single-dose vaccine.

Will staff get time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Members will receive up to two hours of paid release time per vaccine dose. You must provide at least three days of advance notice to your principal/supervisor for any such absence so appropriate coverage can be arranged. You will need to provide documentation of the appointment as well as your receipt of the vaccine to your administrator.

If I have side effects after taking the COVID-19 vaccine and feel sick, am I entitled to paid time off?

Yes. You can take up to eight days of excused leave at full pay for symptoms related to vaccine side effects, such as fatigue, fever, headaches, chills and nausea. If you have more moderate side effects, you may be able to use up to two excused days. If you are absent for more than two days, you must provide documentation showing you took a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 diagnostic test during the leave period and the date you received your test results. You must use your own sick leave time for any additional time taken or if you do not receive a COVID-19 test.

I have been notified to quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19 for the second time this school year. How much excused leave time can I use before I need to use my CAR days?

Members receive two weeks of paid excused leave for COVID-related absences, even if they have multiple or repeat qualifying circumstances. After you have used up the maximum amount of two weeks, any additional time needed will be charged to your CAR balance.

Leaves related to COVID-19

If I test positive for COVID-19, how much paid leave time am I eligible to receive? 

If you have a documented, positive COVID-19 test and are unable to work remotely, you are eligible for excused leave at full pay without needing to use CAR days until you are cleared to return to work. Excused leave may not exceed four calendar weeks. 

If a member has COVID-19 and needs hospital care, how long will they continue to be paid? 

If a member has COVID-19 and is hospitalized or needs to enter a rehabilitation facility, they may continue to receive paid, excused leave until two calendar weeks after being released from a health care facility.

Are members who work part-time eligible to take a leave if they test positive for COVID-19 or are under quarantine orders, etc.? 

Part-time employees may receive excused leave for the number of hours that the employee is expected to work over a two week period. If expected hours cannot be readily determined, part-time employees may receive excused leave for the average number of hours that the employee worked over a two week period over the six months preceding the leave.

Will I be paid if I am caring for someone who is under quarantine or isolation order?

If you are caring for an individual subject to a governmental quarantine or isolation order, you are eligible for two weeks of excused leave at partial pay. Partial pay equals two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day or a total of $2,000. You must demonstrate that this individual depends on you for care and you are unable to work remotely while providing care.

You may also use CAR days, annual leave, or sick leave instead of excused leave at partial pay but that cannot exceed a total of two weeks.

Will I be paid if I am caring for someone who is at a heightened risk associated with COVID-19 exposure (e.g. underlying medical condition, age, etc.)? 

If you are caring for an individual who is self-quarantining because of heightened risk associated with exposure to COVID-19, you are eligible for two weeks of excused leave at partial pay. Partial pay equals two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day or a total of $2,000. You must demonstrate that this individual depends on you for care and you are unable to work remotely while providing care.

You may also use CAR days, annual leave, or sick leave instead of excused leave at partial pay but that cannot exceed a total of two weeks.

What type of documentation am I required to submit before applying for a COVID-related leave of absence?

A member must be able to provide proof, such as documentation from a health care provider, school, day care provider and/or governmental order as applicable. CAR rules regarding medical documentation will be relaxed so members may self-certify for COVID-19 related absences. However, supervisors may request documentation if there is a question about reasonableness of the time taken or other concerns, and extended leaves may be subject to further medical review by the DOE.

Can I take a leave of absence due to a mental health diagnosis?

Contact the UFT’s Member Assistance Program (MAP) at 212-701-9620 or mapinfo@uft.org

Per-session

Can a per session posting indicate that the activity takes place in person? 

Yes. Certain tasks (such as bus duty, in-person tutoring, study groups) may only be able to be performed in-person. 

What happens if a remote teacher holds retention rights to a position that can only be done in-person? 

If a retention rights holder is unable to perform a per session activity due to a medical accommodation, that employee will not lose retention rights. 

Coverages

What happens when there is not enough staff in the building to cover assignments?

Schools can and should continue to use sub-Central to cover absences, wherever possible. The UFT has been telling the DOE and City Hall for months that they have a staffing problem that cannot be solved through instructional guidance. The staffing problem needs to be addressed in order for schools to open safely and for schools to operate well.

Operational issues

How do I initiate a complaint about working conditions?

Speak with your chapter leader about filing an operational issues complaint.