Vaccination: Effective May 20, 2023, Cornell will no longer require students or employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and/or obtain a medical or religious exemption. New faculty and staff will not need to provide proof of vaccination prior to beginning their employment. Though vaccination will no longer be mandatory, we urge employees to follow CDC guidelines and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination. Read the full announcement.
IMPORTANT: This change does not impact an employee's responsibility to self-report a positive COVID-19 test through the Daily Check.
Updated benefits information: The Federal government announced May 11, 2023, as the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). Please review changes to various special benefit provisions.
Time off for Vaccination: Employees in New York state may continue to take up to four hours off from work, with pay, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 until December 31, 2023.
COVID-19 Etiquette for Faculty and Staff
If you are ill:
- Do not attend class, work, or other social gatherings.
- If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, report your symptoms and seek and perform an antigen test.
- If you are feeling particularly ill, contact your primary care provider.
If you test positive:
- Report your antigen result, which helps track the prevalence on campus and enables employees to receive appropriate workplace guidance.
- Tell other close contacts that you have COVID-19. This will allow others to take proactive steps to monitor their health.
- Isolate at home and follow Tompkins County Whole Health (TCWH) current isolation guidelines.
Information about Employee’s COVID-19 Status
The employee may self-disclose medical information with anyone of their choosing; however, ADA does not permit employers, regardless of how the information was obtained, to disclose an employee’s medical information to an employee’s colleagues, customers, or vendors. Employers can generally inform colleagues, customers, or vendors that an “employee has tested positive for COVID-19” or that an employee “has been exposed to COVID-19.” The employee(s) should not be identified and identifying information should not be provided.
Employees are not required to tell their supervisor any medical diagnosis. However, if an employee is unable to work, in keeping with current policy, the employee is expected to notify his or her supervisor as soon as possible.
Symptoms, Testing and Isolation
When experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, employees are expected to:
- Complete the health assessment before arriving on campus.
- Limit contact with others, wear a high-quality mask, and pick up a free antigen test as soon as possible at one of the antigen testing pick-up locations on campus.
- Benefits-eligible employees are covered for eight antigen rapid home tests per 30-day period for each insured individual in the household.
- Self-report your results.
- Isolate at home and follow TCWH current isolation guidelines.
- Work remotely if possible.
Recording Time off for COVID-19
If it's not possible to work remotely, inform your supervisor and local HR and record your time in Workday in a timely manner as directed. This action will ensure continued pay.
- If you are paid hourly record time that aligns with your normal work schedule, with a reason of “Hours Unable to Work - COVID-19”.
- Exempt employees should report time that aligns with their normal work schedule, in half or full days using “Time Unable to Work – COVID-19”.
If you are an employee of Cornell Health, please follow this link for further guidance specific to the healthcare setting: Healthcare Worker Return to Work Post COVID _20230213.pdf
Accommodations and Leaves
Medical and Disability Accommodations
Faculty and staff who are asked to return to work on-site who have an underlying medical condition, or those who are pregnant, may submit an ADA Reasonable Accommodation request, including accommodation requests for PPE, related to returning to the workplace.
Refer to CDC guidance for the list of People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.
Employees Caring for Family Members
Employees who regularly care for a family member who is at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 may be eligible for time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Further, staff members may be covered by NYS Paid Family Leave.
Voluntary Reduction in Hours
An employee may request a voluntary short-term reduction in hours (appointment) to help them meet their personal needs.
Staff Time Off: If a staff member is not available, or not willing, to work as required, they may use their leave accrual balances in accordance with standard vacation and HAP policies after consultation with their supervisor. A staff member may also request an unpaid leave as permitted by policy/contract if:
- the employee does not qualify for a workplace accommodation
- the situation doesn’t qualify for an approved paid leave
- a remote work arrangement is not feasible
Time off for Vaccinations
Employees in New York State may take up to four hours off from work, with pay, to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The law adds section 196-c to the New York Labor Law., and expires on Dec. 31, 2023. The following clarifies our practices consistent with the state law: :
- Employees will be provided up to four hours of paid time off to be vaccinated for COVID-19. This time off applies for each injection, including booster injections.
- Covered individuals include anyone who receives an IRS Form W-2 from the University, e.g., full and part-time regular employees, hourly student employees, graduate assistantship appointments, temporary employees and casuals.
- The paid time off is provided only for hours that cut across the individual’s regularly scheduled workday/shift.
- Supervisors, if deemed appropriate after consulting with local HR, may request proof of the vaccine appointment from the individual.
- Individuals in non-exempt positions should record the use of this paid time off in Workday as regular time.
- Individuals may not be discriminated against or retaliated against for requesting or using this paid time off to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
If you get the vaccine and experience side effects, you may be eligible for paid leave you are otherwise entitled to if you are ill and unable to work. If you choose to file a work-related injury claim, the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board will determine whether the claim qualifies for coverage under state law.