When congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, it was designed to allow workers access to 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 and related illnesses. Shortly after the act was implemented, the federal government classified a number of jobs as “emergency responders” and “healthcare workers” exempting them from being able to access the leave.
This change left many state employees unable to access the emergency leave, including workers at our correctional institutions, Veterans’ Home, DHHS 24 hour facilities, many economic assistance workers, and unemployment adjudicators. NAPE and the State of Nebraska signed a Memorandum of Understanding that adds language to our contract allowing all NAPE covered employees access to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave in addition to their regular sick leave for the following reasons:
- The employee is unable to work or telework because of a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation order from a local, state, or federal entity.
- The employee is unable to work or telework because a healthcare provider has advised the employee to self quarantine due to COVID-19.
- The employee is unable to work or telework because they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis.
- The employee is unable to work or telework because they are caring for an individual under the first two items.
If you were not exempt under the FFCRA emergency sick leave, and already used emergency sick leave, you will not be able to “double dip” and also access this leave. The MOU allows all employees to access 80 hours of COVID-19 emergency leave.
This leave is available retroactively to April 1. You may need to provide medical documentation to your HR representative in order to have the leave applied.
If you run into any problems accessing this leave, please contact us.