COVID-19 Donated Shared Sick/Illness Time Pool Frequently Asked Questions

The intent of this program is to allow faculty and staff an opportunity to provide personally donated sick/illness time support for pandemic-related absences which could cause a fellow employee to experience an unpaid occurrence. The qualifying COVID-19 absences are personal illness, quarantine, isolation, or illness care needs of a family member related to COVID-19 illness. 

The Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) time (up to 80 hours) and your personal sick/illness bank time should both be exhausted prior to requesting time from the pool. 

Eligibility

Who is eligible for paid time off under this program?
The donated shared sick/illness time pool program applies to faculty and staff eligible to accrue sick/illness time.

How do I request the use of COVID-19 donated shared sick/illness time?
You must obtain your manager's approval prior to submitting the COVID-19 online request. You should follow the normal process of reporting absence and requesting time off with your manager. If you have a documented health condition and/or documentation from a health provider or health agency that requires you to quarantine or isolate during this time, you need to follow the standard process of opening a case with FMLA Source.

Donations to the shared sick/illness time pool

How can I donate sick/illness time hours?
Donation began in April 2020. A new online system to accommodate both donations and requests is now available. Complete the online donation of shared sick/illness time via Academica. 

Steps to process donations to the shared sick/illness pool: 

  • Login to Academica
  • Select Employee Self-Service
  • Select COVID-19 Donation Share Sick/Illness Pool 

Are employees required to donate sick/illness hours to the donated shared sick/illness pool?
No. All donations are made strictly on a voluntary basis to the donated shared sick/illness pool. Donated hours will be deducted from the donor's sick/illness leave balance. The donated leave will be transferred from the employee's leave balance to the shared leave pool within 2-3 business days of the donation being submitted.

Who is eligible to donate leave?
Any employees that accrue sick/illness time.

How much sick/illness time may I donate?
You may donate leave starting with a minimum donation of eight hours and a maximum donation of 250 hours per fiscal year. Donors must retain at least 14 days (112 hours) of personal sick leave upon donation.

What if I change my mind about donating leave?
Donations are irrevocable. 

Can I donate leave upon my leaving Wayne State University?
No. Leave cannot be donated upon separation from the university.

May I recognize my donation as a charitable contribution on my tax return?
No. The donor employee may not claim a tax deduction or charitable contribution for any of the leave that they donate under one of these programs. 

Request to receive shared sick/illness time from the pool

Who is eligible to request shared leave?
Employees meeting the following criteria:

  • A current employee who has completed 30 days of employment 
  • The employee is experiencing the three COVID-19 related conditions defined by this program
  • The employee experiences a COVID-19 condition or her/his immediate family member experiences a qualifying COVID-19 condition requiring the employee's presence
  • The employee has exhausted the Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and has or will exhaust her/his personal sick/illness time. 

Steps to process a request for donated shared sick/illness time:

  • Login to Academica
  • Select Employee Self-Service
  • Select Request COVID-19 Share Sick/Illness Program 

How will I know that I have been approved for the requested time from the donated shared leave pool?
You will be notified by Human Resources via an email notification within 2-5 business days of your request if all required documentation has been submitted to FMLA Source.

Will an affected employee continue to accrue sick during the time missed from work?
Yes, the employee will accrue leave based on their current compensation status. Accrued sick/illness time in banks will be applied to the absence before the shared leave is applied.

How much donated shared sick/illness time may be requested?
You may request up to 80 hours of sick/illness time per pay (pro-rated for part-time employees) up to a maximum of 112 hours per fiscal year (pro-rated for fractional-time employees).

Can shared leave be used to care for an immediate family member?
Yes, the recipient may use the leave for the care of an immediate family member requiring the employee's presence, which meets the program definition of a COVID-19 related condition.

Can employees request COVID-19 donated shared sick/illness time to care for a family member who has contracted COVID-19 or is being quarantined?
Yes. Once the EPSLA and sick/illness time balances are exhausted, a request for donated sick time can be requested to care for sick family members.

Will the time receive from this program be taxed?
Yes. Sick/illness time paid to a recipient under the program will be included in the recipient's gross income for federal tax purposes and also subject to income and employment tax withholdings.

If an employee has a documented health condition (e.g., low immunity or higher risk for complications, etc.) may they request to stay home from work?
Special non-COVID-19 health conditions are not eligible for this program. Employees with documented health conditions (e.g., low immunity or higher risk for complications from COVID-19, etc.), may request accommodations to work from home or on alternative assistance from OEO for special (ADA accommodations).

Employees with a documented health condition need to provide supporting documentation to the Benefits & Wellness department, including the reason why the employee is unable to perform the essential functions of their role and what, if any, accommodations are recommended. If remote work is a requested accommodation, managers should try to make that possible. If it isn't, time off could be EPLSA, followed by paid sick time, paid time off (vacation, any purpose time, etc.), or unpaid leave. Additional questions should be directed to the Benefits & Wellness Leave Administrator.

Are employees able to take paid time off using the COVID-19 donated shared sick/illness time pool because their children's daycare or schools are closed?
No. Expanded FMLA (EFMLA) is available to assist with COVID-19 related school/daycare closure. Once schools and daycares open, EFMLA will no longer apply and the employee would be expected to return to work. Under the terms of EFMLA, time off for remaining weeks are subject to 2/3 pay (if more, it will be determined by the university). If another caregiver is available to care for the child, the employee is not entitled to leave. 

How is the term "isolation" or "quarantine" defined for this program?
According to the CDC, the definitions are: 

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

How do I report this time on my timesheet?
There are different timekeeping approaches for the different banks of time. Please consult with your manager or Human Resources Consultant for more details.