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Workplace Concerns about COVID-19 Exposure

During this period of uncertainty, we consider the health and safety of the university community as a top priority. This guidance is specific to our faculty and staff and is intended to provide information for those who have concerns about COVID-19 exposure as we develop safe return to work protocols.
Below is an overview of the options available to our employees as they face workplace concerns during the Coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 exposure.  Employees who have workplace concerns and may need to take advantage of one of the options below should reach out to for more information and to make a request.
We understand that there are employees who need extra precautions. Please see guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and how to protect yourself and your family

Requests for Reasonable Accommodation for Employee Personal Medical Reasons 

Employees may request a reasonable accommodation if they have medical conditions that prevent them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or after receiving the vaccine are at a greater risk if they contract COVID-19 based on the CDC higher risk classifications. Please note that these requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Equal Opportunity and Outreach (EOO) in coordination with your supervisor. Please review the reasonable accommodations information on the Human Resources Equal Opportunity & Outreach website or contact EOO at 978-934-3565. 

Other Requests

Employees who have challenges due to family health care and day care reasons should contact the Benefits Office to review their specific situations.  For more information contact or call 978-934-4100.  
Some possible options include:
  • Leave of Absence/Paid Time-Off Options
    • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): For employees who need to request time away from work due to COVID-19 related illness, please refer to the provisions outlined below under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employees may request up to 10 days of paid leave at 100% pay (up to $511 per day) for reasons #1-3 outlined in the FFCRA Informational Poster and at 2/3 pay (up to $200 per day) for reasons #4-6.  In addition, for child care issues, FFCRA has expanded Family and Medical Leave Act coverage for up to 12 weeks at 2/3 pay (up to $200 per day). Some of the provisions of FFCRA expired Dec. 31, 2020, although a limited extension for certain provisions was extended through Sept. 30, 2021. 
    • Massachusetts COVID-19 Temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave Program: Massachusetts enacted similar provisions to FFCRA from May 28, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2021, allowing up to 5 days of paid leave with a maximum of $850. 
    • Family and Medical Leave Act: Employees may be entitled to additional benefits as outlined by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Please see more information about the Family Medical Leave Act. In addition, expanded FMLA options for childcare are available under outlined in the FFCRA section above and also in the Fact Sheet for Employees.
      While on FMLA, employees will be able to substitute their paid leave accruals including sick time during approved leave.  
  • Use of Paid-Time Off and Unpaid Leaves
    With the implementation of the vaccine mandate for the Fall of 2021, employees who do not submit their proof of full vaccination or who do not receive an approved medical or religious exemption will be placed on unpaid personal leave or may use their paid vacation and personal time at a minimum of 50% time.

Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (effective in 2021)

Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML) is a state-offered benefit for anyone who works in Massachusetts and offers up to 26 weeks of paid leave for medical or family reasons. PFML is funded through a Massachusetts tax, and is separate from both the federally mandated benefits offered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and from leave benefits that may be offered by your employer. PFML is effective Jan. 1, 2021 or July 1, 2021, depending on the type of leave. For more information, please see the Paid Family Medical Leave webpage.

Employee Assistance Program

We certainly understand that the pandemic and all the changes to how we work and live have created anxiety and uncertainty. Please feel free to reach out to our Employee Assistance Program provider. In addition, please review the consolidated communications related to COVID-19 and the Coronavirus pandemic on their Coronavirus U.S. Digital Toolkit web page.