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Non-Closure Emergency Leave Procedures

The University System of Georgia (USG) issued Non-Closure Emergency Leave Procedures on March 20, 2020 that give USG presidents the authority to allow Leave with Pay for emergency leave where the institution remains open but with reduced operations. President Morehead has implemented Non-Closure Emergency Leave Procedures that provide compensation to employees for hours not worked up to the equivalent of their regularly scheduled hours per week when there is no work for those employees to perform. Concurrently, President Morehead has directed unit heads to continue teleworking, remote work assignments, and flexible working arrangements in order for employees to perform their regular duties to the fullest extent possible.


All regular full and part-time employees of UGA who are not able to perform their regular duties through telework or other remote and flexible work arrangements, and who are not working in an “on-campus” capacity as essential employees in enabling the University to sustain essential on-campus services and operations, are eligible for Non-Closure Emergency Leave. Regular employment is considered continuous and may also be defined by agreement, contract, term, or restricted funding source(s). Regular employment includes individuals who may be benefits eligible, partial benefits eligible, non-benefits eligible, full-time or part-time, exempt or nonexempt (hourly paid). An “on-campus” capacity includes work that may be occurring on an off-campus site that is essential but cannot be performed remotely.
Temporary Workers, Student Workers and Rehired Retirees are not eligible. These groups are still permitted and encouraged to telework or utilize flexible work arrangements but are not eligible for the Non-Closure Emergency Leave.
These procedures are in effect from March 23, 2020 and extend for 120 days or until the declaration of Georgia’s state of emergency ends (whichever is earlier). The use of Non-Closure Emergency Leave may be extended by the USG Chancellor if necessary.
Employees can be compensated for hours not worked up to the equivalent of their regularly scheduled hours per week when there is not work for those employees to perform. For example, if the employee’s regularly scheduled hours are 40 hours per week, then they are eligible to receive up to 40 hours of Non-Closure Emergency Leave pay for hours not worked. If their regularly scheduled hours are 25 hours per week, then they are eligible to receive up to 25 hours of Non-Closure Emergency Leave pay. Regularly scheduled hours will be based on the standard hours for the employee in the OneUSG Connect HCM/HR payroll system.
Federal Work Study students will continue to receive their applicable financial aid for student employment during an emergency in accordance with Department of Education guidance.
If appropriate, managers and supervisors are strongly encouraged to utilize rotation schedules for employees designated as essential to allow employees to work on campus part of a work day and be home the rest of the normally assigned hours of their work day or shift, and to ensure that social distancing occurs while they are on-site working. Rotational schedules should be based on operational needs and requirements. Suppose essential work on campus requires the equivalent of 5 employees each day. If 10 employees are qualified for the job, 5 employees could be assigned to work in the morning and 5 employees could work in the afternoon. Each employee would receive 4 hours of regular pay and 4 hours of Non-Closure Emergency Leave pay. Another example might be to rotate the days employees work. If it is a 7 day a week job, employees might work 4 days on, 3 days off and vice versa the next week. Managers and supervisors should implement this in an equitable manner.
Employees working their regular job, whether on campus or telecommuting should be compensated as normal. For now, all work will be entered as REG (00REG) code.
During this emergency time period, we strongly encourage supervisors to assign work that employees can do from home, including if their normal job responsibilities can be completed. However, if their normal job functions cannot be performed using telework or flexible scheduling, other options include professional development, reading standard procedures, and watching a relevant video. Many online learning options are mobile enabled so a computer is not required. Please refer to the 3/17/2020 ArchNews “Update on Campus Operations” for more details.

The state of Georgia and USG are reviewing paid leave language of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to determine how it will be applied to state and USG employees. The regulations expand FMLA and take effect April 2, 2020.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress and signed by the President on March 18, 2020 created an expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for COVID-19 Coronavirus-related illness. FMLA will now cover illness (COVID-19), caring for others and caring for children due to closures related to the current COVID19 Coronavirus public health emergency. Employees may take 2 unpaid weeks and then up to 10 weeks paid (taxed and considered as regular pay).

Employees should use vacation or sick leave when:

  • The employee plans to participate in a non-work activity that one would normally request the use of vacation leave.
  • The employee is Ill, caring for an ill family member/dependent, or bereavement that one would normally request the use of sick leave.

Non-Closure Emergency Leave may not be used in place of vacation leave.

Congress enacted a new law this week requiring many employers (including state agencies) to provide emergency paid sick leave and extended FMLA leave to employees affected by COVID-19 in addition to other leave already available to employees. USG is still reviewing the provisions and will provide more details soon.

Individual employees should work with their manager or supervisor to determine which option applies to them. Employees not designated as essential by their unit head, or employees who have not been provided a telework and/or work-from-home assignment, should be placed on Non-Closure Emergency Leave.
No, there is no need to seek prior approval from HR before utilizing the Non-Closure Emergency Leave process. Supervisors/managers have the flexibility and authority to work with their employees to implement this as needed.
An employee who has been notified that they are “essential personnel” is expected to meet all job expectations, including physically reporting to a work location. If the employee does not report to work, he/she should use applicable annual or sick leave. The employee is not eligible for Non-Closure Emergency Leave.
UGA must be in sync with the University System of Georgia (USG) and the State Government therefore, our communications are reliant upon direction received from the State and USG. Due to multiple governing bodies, information is occasionally not communicated in a timely manner. We always strive for timely communications, but in the instances when that is not possible, your patience is appreciated.
UGA (not USG) has suspended the critical hire process based on a decision by the University’s senior leadership. Currently there are no new requests (regular full-time 40K+) going into the process. Practically speaking, there is a freeze on those positions for UGA at this time.
  • If Deans/VPs have a critical need for faculty, requests should be escalated to the Provost’s Office and critical need requests for staff should be escalated to the President’s Office.
  • When requests are submitted to HR, they will be returned to the sender.

Remote Operations

No. During this time we are not requiring the telecommuting agreement. Managers should identify work assignments, but they do not need to document these assignments using the official Telecommuting Agreement.
Employees teleworking will not need to use leave time. This is considered regular work. If an employee is home because they are ill, they would use sick leave.
As noted in the March 17 Archnews, the work arrangement should be creative and flexible. Great options for working from home include projects, professional development and reviewing procedures, to name a few. If the employee is available to work and there is no work for them because of the current situation, “Non-Closure Emergency Leave” is available. If the employee is sick, not working or unavailable, the expectation is for them to use the appropriate type of leave.
To the extent that students are able to work from home, they may be allowed to do so (if the department has a legitimate need). Departments need to assess their regular employee work requirements when determining if student work is necessary.
The short answer is no. If a temporary staff member has been working on a regular basis and there are tasks they can accomplish, you may extend to temporary workers a work-at-home assignment. You should consult with Faculty and Staff Relations to work through the details. Email or call 706.542.9756.
Use paper timesheets to collect hours worked and have supervisors key those hours into OneUSG Connect on their behalf. Central Payroll staff are available to help key hours in as needed.
“Double Pay” is a term used when the campus is closed. Currently, UGA is not in a campus closure situation. The campus is still operating and is considered in a Non-Closure mode therefore, essential personnel would not receive double pay at this time.
It is our understanding that the primary mandate from Senior Administration is to de-densify. An employee should not be working on campus continuously (or for extended periods) unless his/her presence is needed or critical to support a department’s Business Continuity Planning (BCP) or for a legitimate business need.
If an employee needs to hire childcare because the schools are not open, that expense would not be covered by the University. Any expense related to school closures are not covered by the University.
If you need to change a start date, it is appropriate to reach out to the candidate to ask if the date can be moved. Some candidates may have reasons not to change the start date. If they cannot/will not move their date and until we have guidance on this topic from the University System of Georgia’s Legal Department, please check in with your assigned Workforce Planning & Recruitment team.
Biweekly employees should report remote hours as Teleworking (TWH), and that monthly employees do not need to report Teleworking hours. Once we return to “normal” operations, employees who continue to telework will need an official teleworking agreement.