Leave, Payment and Policy Guidelines during a Pandemic or Other Emergency

Leave, Payment and Policy Guidelines during a Pandemic or Other Emergency

Please refer to the following guidelines regarding issues of pay, attendance, or other HR policy related matters, during a pandemic or other wide-spread health emergency. These guidelines interpret Personnel Policy Manual section 5.8 (Emergency Closing or Early Release).

NOTE: These guidelines may be applied on a "location specific" basis as needed.

Currently, the procedures in Category I are in effect for all of MIT.

CATEGORY I: Case(s) of a Highly Contagious Illness have been confirmed in the United States, Mexico or Canada, but there is no declared emergency, or special closings and attendance rates are within normal range

  • Normal sick leave policies for support staff and administrative apply:
    • Covers employee's own illness.
    • Covers employees who need to remain home due to exposure.
    • Employees may use time to care for sick family member consistent with Personnel Policy 4.3.7, Use of Sick Leave for Support Staff (up to three days), and Personnel Policy, 4.3.16, Sick Leave Policy for Administrative and Sponsored Research Staffs.
  • Communications:
    • Reminder e-mail to DLCs regarding essential staff functions.
    • Health precautions disseminated to the community and available on MIT Medical website.
    • HR reviews Pandemic/Health Emergency Policies and gets HR community review with key HR professionals.
    • Establish or activate "Alert" bulletin or link on MIT home page for pandemic information, with announcement and link from HR homepage.

CATEGORY II: Abnormally high levels of absenteeism due to the specified highly contagious illness; partial closing; or other governmental or Institute declared emergency alert due to the specified illness

  • Notification to Personnel Performing Essential Functions

    Departments should notify personnel performing essential functions. (Note: this designation may differ in some cases from those who have been characterized as "essential" in the case of a snow storm or other weather emergency, due to the possibly prolonged nature of a health related emergency. In addition, DLCs should plan that some of those who are designated as performing "essential" functions may themselves be sick and unable to come to work.) If there is a closing in any part of the Institute, those employees designated as performing essential functions in that area are required to report to work and may be subject to discipline for failing to report as directed. If any of these individuals falls into one of the 4 categories noted in the next bullet, their absence is excused. They must, however, notify their supervisor or other designated manager of their absence as soon as possible.

  • Implementation of the following application of Personnel Policy 5.8 Emergency Closing or Early Release

    During a pandemic or other wide spread health emergency, the Institute may implement the following Health Emergency Leave policy to provide for additional leave to employees who:

    • Have become ill with the specified illness
    • Have been exposed to the specified illness
    • Are providing care to members of the household or immediate family who are ill from or who have been exposed to the specified illness
    • As a result of other events resulting from the health emergency, are unable to report to work
    • This category includes caregivers of children whose schools have been closed due to the specified illness

    This Health Emergency Leave Policy can be activated by either the Vice President for Human Resources or the Vice President for Institute Affairs. When activated, the following provisions take effect:

  • Amount and Use of Health Emergency Leave: All benefits-eligible employees will be entitled to up to 10 days of Health Emergency Leave to cover any of the four situations referenced above. This emergency leave may be extended to other, non-benefits eligible staff, if specifically stated.

    Staff who require sick leave beyond the maximum 10 days of Health Emergency leave may use sick leave to cover any additional time needed due to their own illness, consistent with Personnel Policy, 4.3, Sick Leave/Personnel Leave. Support Staff may use the additional three days specified in Personnel Policy 4.3.7, Use of Sick Leave, to care for an ill family member. Exempt staff that need more time to care for a family member should refer to Personnel Policy, 4.3.16, Sick Leave Policy for Administrative and Sponsored Research Staffs.

    If an employee's absence does not fall within one of the four categories listed above, and there is no declared special closing or emergency, non-essential employees who choose not come to report to work, to report late, or to leave early because of the health emergency, may be excused from work with the appropriate approval from their supervisor. Such excused absences will be charged to the appropriate paid or unpaid leave, i.e., vacation, personal, or unpaid leave. DLCs should contact their HRO when an employee's absence for this reason exceeds three days. Employees who fail to report to work without the proper notification and approval could be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination, consistent with Personnel Policy, 3.1.2 Attendance and Punctuality, and 6.3 Termination for Poor Performance or Failure to Comply with Institute Policies.

  • Reporting and Documentation: Employees who do not come to work because of the specified illness must report their absence to their manager or other DLC contact.  DLC contacts must inform the Disabilities Services Office in Human Resources of any absence due to the specified illness (where they are aware of this) so that MIT can track the spread of the illness on campus.

    If public health officials recommend that ill employees not seek medical attention unless they are extremely sick, employees who are ill with the specified illness will not be required to provide medical documentation to support the need for Health Emergency leave use. Otherwise, the normal requirements for documentation of illness remain in effect. In all cases,  DLCs may request such documentation if there is a past pattern of absenteeism, or any other reason to think that the use of this leave is being misused.

    For hourly paid staff, Health Emergency leave is reported as "Other Leave" on the time cards.

  • Other HR Policies: Family Medical Leave and Extended Sick Leave Polices remain in effect, unless otherwise specifically stated.
  • Alternative Work Arrangements during a Pandemic: DLCs are encouraged to consider various options for continued operations within their area while minimizing the health risk to employees and the spread of illness, such as telecommuting.

    The decision to allow an employee to telecommute during a pandemic or health emergency must be approved and monitored by each individual department for a period not to exceed two weeks. If emergency circumstances require the arrangement to continue beyond two weeks, the department must consult with their Human Resources Officer.

  • Communications:
    • E-mail to HR Staff, HR Partners and AO Query regarding the Health Emergency leave policy
    • Update Alert on MIT home page with Health Emergency leave information, with announcement and link on HR homepage

CATEGORY III: Institute Closes (some or all locations)

  • Personnel Performing Essential Functions: Personnel performing essential functions are notified. Those employees designated as essential are required to report to work and may be subject to discipline for failing to report as directed. Again, as noted, if they fall into one of the 4 categories noted in II above, they are not required to report to work but must notify their supervisor or other designated manager.

    Pay Policy: Payment will continue to some or all employees, on the terms determined by the President or his/her designee.

    Payment to employees will be by direct deposit only. Manual checks will not be available while the Institute is closed. Employees will continue to be encouraged to sign up for direct deposit.