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UA Will Provide Employees Campus-funded COVID Leave in 2021

Hands type on a computer keyboard on a desk.TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – UA President Dr. Stuart Bell has authorized The University of Alabama to provide faculty and staff 2021 COVID leave time to replace the federal benefits that expired Dec. 31.

The University-provided 2021 COVID Leave helps employees affected by COVID-related illness and complications, and replaces a similar program provided by federal law, allowing employees up to 80 hours of paid leave for certain qualifying reasons related to COVID-19. It covers gaps created by the federal programs’ lapse.

“We have implemented this program to protect the campus community from the spread of the coronavirus while acknowledging that balancing work and our personal lives is an important part of the University’s mission,” said Bell. “We want to assist our outstanding faculty, staff and student workers when they need time for illness or to care for their children during this unprecedented pandemic.”

All full-time, part-time, temporary or contingent on-call faculty, staff and student workers who are unable to work or telework because of a qualifying reason related to COVID-19 are eligible no matter their date of hire or service time. It does not replace the University’s existing leave benefits.

Qualifying reasons for employees include:

  • Diagnosed COVID-19 subject to a quarantine or isolation order
  • COVID-19 symptoms awaiting a medical diagnosis or testing confirmation
  • An order to quarantine or isolate because of close contact with an infected individual or directed by a case manager with the UA COVID-19 Support Program
  • Side effects experienced within two weeks of a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Caring for children under the age of 18 whose school, place of care or childcare provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 precautions.

Employees or their supervisor should call the UA COVID-19 Hotline, 205-348-CV19, as soon as possible if experiencing symptoms, diagnosed with the illness or been in close contact with an infected individual. Employees should not call the hotline for leave issues related to childcare.

Employees who request 2021 COVID Leave should submit the 2021 COVID Leave Request Form. The employee’s myBama username and password is required to access the request form. HR may request additional supporting documents, if necessary.

Specialists in the Benefits Office will determine eligibility and respond to requests via email in about five business days. If approved, an employee’s leave request will be retroactive to the requested start date on the form.

The 80 hours of paid leave, about 10 work days, will be prorated for part-time employees who are less than one full-time equivalent employee.

The rate of pay for the days is two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate, but an employee can supplement the remaining one-third pay with accrued sick leave, annual leave or compensatory time, if available. The one-third calculation will be handled by UA Payroll for those who elect to supplement.

Last year, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided employees nationwide with certain paid leave benefits related to COVID-19, which expired on Dec. 31. UA’s 2021 COVID Leave, effective Jan. 1, covers the gaps created when the federally mandated benefits lapsed.

More information on 2021 COVID Leave is available on the UA Human Resources website, including a list of frequently asked questions. The 80 hours of leave should be visible under “Leave Balances” under the employee menu in the MyBama web portal.


Shane Dorrill, assistant director of communications, shane.dorrill@ua.edu;