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. Although Cornell had already been providing paid time of up to 4 hours away from regularly scheduled work for this purpose, the following clarifies our practices and complies with this new 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.
- 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 or retaliated against for requesting or using this paid time off to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
- This takes effect immediately and expires on Dec. 31, 2022.
Recognizing these uncertain times, and in support of general travel concerns, a one-time exception to the university vacation policy has been made. Vacation balances will not be reset on October 15, 2020, as would normally occur, for those with a balance that exceeds the established maximum. Employees will be permitted to carry over vacation accrual balances that are over the maximum established in university policy. The reset process will run, as scheduled, on October 15, 2021. However, vacation buy-outs at the end of employment will not exceed the maximum payouts under regular policy.
*Also applies to academic employees who accrue vacation and HAP
When employees are scheduled but not available to work, they are expected to record HAP and vacation time in accordance with university policies.
Exempt employees who are regularly unavailable to work during their workday (for childcare or other reasons) are instructed to record HAP/Vacation in increments of 1 hour or more. Infrequent absences should continue to be recorded in .5 day and full day increments.
*Also applies to academic employees who accrue vacation and HAP
In light of COVID-19 remote work directives, employees who are subject to probationary periods may have such periods extended if they are not regularly performing the essential functions of their job and or the supervisor is not a good position, because of remote work or other reasons related to COVID-19, to assess the employee’s performance.
Employees will receive inconvenience pay according to existing policy and collective bargaining agreements. If an employee is no longer working a qualifying shift, either remotely or on-site, inconvenience pay will stop until such time as the employee returns to a qualifying shift. Before stopping inconvenience pay, the affected employees and if applicable, the union should be notified.
Policy 6.17.4, Inconvenience Pay, is not applicable in situations where a staff member voluntarily requests flextime hours when the department would otherwise not assign that schedule to the particular employee. Staff members covered by collective bargaining agreements should check with Workforce Policy and Labor Relations in these situations.
Return from Furlough or Shared Work
Individuals who are recalled from a short-term furlough or shared work program should be given at least 7-days notice so they can adjust their schedules, including personal arrangements as appropriate, and be prepared to arrive at work as directed.
Individuals who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement may have additional restrictions, including seniority rights, that govern recall of covered employees. Contact Workforce Policy and Labor Relations to discuss.
To support university efforts to apply for the Employee Retention Tax Credit, if an employee, exempt or non-exempt, is available to work but their work cannot be performed remotely, supervisors should instruct such employees to record their time as described below:
- Non-exempt employees are instructed to record idle hours in Workday Time Off using the code of “Hours Not Worked - COVID-19”. You will be paid your full rate for these hours under separate earnings in your paycheck.
- Exempt employees are instructed to record idle hours using the Workday Time Off functionality and selecting the time off plan of “Time Not Worked - COVID-19”. This time off may be recorded in half day, whole day or less than half day increments to accurately reflect idle time.
Also see the quick reference aid for employees: Recording Time or Hours Not Worked COVID-19
Sponsored Funded positions
For pay periods starting on or after July 1, salaries and benefits for individuals who are unable to perform work because a worksite is unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions, may no longer be charged to federally-sponsored awards or federal appropriations. Per university policy, such individuals typically must continue to be paid from PI or unit funds. Salaries and benefits for individuals working in reactivated worksites or performing project duties remotely may still be charged to projects where allocable. Additionally, where appropriate, non-federally funded sponsored awards may be used for salary continuation allowed under the pandemic emergency. As a reminder, an individual may not be added to, or have effort increased on, a project for the purpose of salary continuation.
If an eligible employee is called to active duty as a member of the U.S. Military or National Guard, Policy 6.9, Time Away From Work, Military Leave of Absence, or if applicable the relevant collective bargaining agreement, would apply. You must provide your supervisor advanced written or verbal notice as soon as possible, along with a copy of the military orders, if available.
Regular full- and part-time academic and nonacademic employees who are trained and registered as emergency responders with the Red Cross or other similar organizations may be granted up to five days paid leave per calendar year for time away from work needed to provide volunteer services emergency response. More information can be found in the emergency responder section of University Policy 6.9 Time Away from Work or if applicable the relevant collective bargaining agreement.
Working Remotely with Children and Other Dependent Present
Flexibility in the Workplace Policy Guidelines
The Cornell Flexibility In the Workplace Policy states that remote work cannot be a substitute for ongoing child care needs. In light of COVID-19, remote work may occur while dependents are present if their school or child care is closed and alternative care is unavailable, under the following guidelines:
- Cornell is not responsible or liable for the health and safety of your dependents while you are working remotely, or for your health and safety while you are delivering care to your dependents. It is up to you to determine whether work can be conducted safely.
- If a dependent is ill and requires ongoing attention, you may need to use Health and Personal (HAP) time away from work, as needed. In light of COVID-19, HAP rules are being relaxed to allow for care of healthy children at home due to school or childcare closures. Nonacademic employees may also be covered for NY Paid Family leave, which provides paid leave to care for a covered family member’s illness.
- Employees are expected to determine what they can reasonably accomplish while dependents are under their care (whether healthy or ill), and the amount of time they expect to be able to work.
HAP Policy Guidelines
During the pandemic, employees can use HAP time to care for healthy children during school or child care closures (an exception to existing policy).
See also, Parenting and Caregiving
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