Category: HR News

UA Will Provide Employees Campus-funded COVID Leave in 2021

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 are 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.

2021 COVID-19 Accommodation Form Now Available

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and people of any age who have certain underlying medical conditions are considered to be members of a ‘vulnerable population’ that are or might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  For more details on the CDC’s definition of ‘vulnerable population,’ please visit the CDC website. This list is subject to change based on emerging scientific evidence and may be periodically updated on the CDC’s website.

Vulnerable employees and/or employees who share a household with or have primary care responsibility for someone who is in the vulnerable population may complete the online form to request temporary COVID-19 accommodations for Spring 2021. Examples of COVID-19 accommodations include working remotely, changing shifts and/or changing work schedule to allow for staggered arrival and departure times, physical work site modifications, providing additional personal protective equipment (PPE), temporary leave of absence, etc.

Request a 2021 COVID-19 Accommodation*

Employees who are currently approved for a COVID-19 accommodation for the Fall 2020 semester must reapply for Spring 2021. When seeking such accommodations, employees must have their healthcare provider complete a medical inquiry form to determine whether the employee is eligible to request an accommodation. However, medical documentation is not required for age-related accommodation requests. Human Resources will review all forms to determine eligibility. While supervisors and leaders are included in accommodation planning, only HR can deny an accommodation request.

For those requesting temporary COVID-19 accommodations for Spring 2021, please do so as soon as possible after determining the potential need for such an accommodation because there is a short window of time before the winter holiday break. Human Resources has established the following deadlines:

  • November 20: Deadline to submit 2021 COVID-19 Accommodation Request Form
  • December 4: Deadline to return medical inquiry form to Human Resources

Any accommodation requests received after these deadlines will be processed, however, a decision on late submissions is not guaranteed until after the winter break. The employee’s Dean or Assistant Vice President will receive a copy of the request to initiate the approval process, which may also include input from the Office of Academic Affairs or Human Resources if additional review is necessary.

Approval of a requested accommodation is not guaranteed. Requests will be reviewed in accordance with the University’s health and safety protocols and subject to an undue hardship analysis. Because an accommodation implicates an essential function of the employee’s job, any approved accommodation will be provided on a temporary basis. Employees will receive a system-generated email with a final decision after evaluation of the employee’s accommodation. All approved accommodations will automatically expire on May 15, 2021. However, please note that the approved accommodation may, in the University’s discretion, end at any time prior to May 15, 2021.

Employees who have a disability and need accommodations should continue to follow the established Employee Procedures for Requesting Reasonable Accommodations per the ADA.

Direct questions to the HR Service Center at (205) 348-7732 or Detailed FAQs are available on the HR website.

* NOTE: An alternative 2021 COVID-19 Accommodation Request Form is available for the following groups only: 1) newly hired employees who do not have an assigned CWID, 2) employees with a secondary/overload position for which they need to request an accommodation, and/or 3) employees who do not currently have an active job. The same approval levels, accommodation examples and processing timeline described above applies. Click here to complete the alternative request form in Qualtrics.

Important Update on Returning to Campus

Remote employees should plan campus return by Nov. 9

Based on the current campus and community transmission rate, the University has loosened many restrictions and expanded opportunities thanks to the resilience, diligence and resourcefulness of our faculty, staff, and students.


Many faculty and staff have returned to work on campus, and supervisors have been asked to develop plans to bring remaining remote employees back to campus, maintaining thorough health and safety protocols.


Plans will include evaluating and adjusting workspaces, providing safety equipment, establishing health and safety rules, and coordinating workplace schedules in accordance with the policies and directives related to health and safety outlined in the UA plan for a return to full operations.


By Monday, Nov. 9, employees who have been working remotely due to the pandemic are expected to work a minimum of two to three days a week on campus unless they have remote work agreements unrelated to the pandemic or those with approved, temporary COVID-19 accommodations. Supervisors and deans will have the option of planning on-campus/remote hybrid work schedules where appropriate.


Those with current temporary accommodations related to COVID-19 will continue to operate under those accommodations until Dec. 31. Employees who may need temporary accommodations for the remainder of 2020 may apply using the current process. If accommodations are necessary in the new year, employees should apply using the 2021 COVID-19 accommodations process, available later this month. The 2021 COVID-19 accommodations will require medical certification, so those who may need them should contact their health care providers as soon as possible to complete the medical inquiry form.


Before returning to campus, all employees are required to:


Upon returning to campus, everyone must:

  • Maintain social distancing with appropriate protective equipment.
  • Wear face coverings in enclosed offices and outdoor settings when physical distancing is not possible or when distancing is difficult.


More details and frequently asked questions are available on the HR Employee FAQ site. Medical questions, including those related to COVID-19 testing, should be directed to the COVID-19 hotline at 205-348-2819 or to the Student Health Center, University Medical Center, or a personal healthcare provider.


Faculty and staff should direct any questions their supervisors cannot answer to the HR Service Center at 205-348-7732 or