Procedure for Staff Unable to Return to Work in Phase 2 Because of a Health Condition
June 24, 2020
Over the past few weeks, we have begun to gradually return designated staff to the Lab site in phases—maintaining social distancing and other health requirements on site—while the rest of staff have been teleworking to the extent possible. We are currently in Phase 1 (Continuation of Essential Mission Critical Operations and Beginning of Limited Operations) and will soon enter Phase 2 (Expansion of Limited Operations).
During Phase 1, any staff members who were scheduled to return to the site and who met the criteria for vulnerable individuals established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were eligible to request an exception from returning to work. This also applied to staff with a vulnerable individual in their household. If these staff members were unable to return to the site, unable to work from home, and submitted a valid "Request to Remain Off Site for Phase 1 of Resumption of Operations" form, they could record Weather and Safety Leave (WSL) on their timecard.
When the Lab transitions to Phase 2, "Expansion of Limited Operations," this process will change. WSL for vulnerable individuals was only applicable to Phase 1 of resumption of operations and will no longer be available to staff once we enter Phase 2.
When you are contacted by your supervisor and scheduled to return to the site, you must return unless you are unable to do so because of an existing health condition that qualifies under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Then, you must:
- Apply for Family and Medical Leave by contacting Lincoln Financial Group at (888) 969-2472. Representatives are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST. Refer to the Family and Medical Leave webpage for additional information, including eligibility requirements.
- Notify your supervisor that you are applying for Family and Medical Leave.
- Follow the requirements of the Lab's reasonable accommodation and interactive process. See instructions for details.
- If your leave is approved, use the applicable timecard codes for the period of absence.
Please note that this process only applies to those individuals who are scheduled to return to on-site work at the Lab. Individuals who have been approved to continue working remotely are not required to apply for Family and Medical Leave or report to the site at this time.
If you are scheduled to return on site and are unable to do so because you need to care for a family member with a serious health condition, you must apply for both Family and Medical Leave and New York State Paid Family Leave by contacting Lincoln Financial Group at (888) 969-2472. Representatives are available Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST. Refer to New York State Paid Family Leave for additional information, including eligibility requirements. Staff receiving approval will use the applicable timecard codes for the period of absence. Please note that since FMLA applies to individuals who have a serious health condition, having a vulnerable individual in your home may not satisfy FMLA requirements.
Refer to the Absence Management Guide (PDF) for an overview of the various laws and benefits applicable to such absences from work, including time-card coding.
Complying with the Lab's interactive process is important as it helps both you and the Lab prepare for your return to the site. In addition, your eligibility for a leave - as an accommodation by the Laboratory - will be contingent on you engaging in the process and providing requested documentation to the Occupational Medicine Clinic regarding your absence from work. This documentation includes the Request for Reasonable Accommodation form completed by you and your health care provider.
If you have any questions, please contact your Human Resources Manager.
- Robert Lincoln
Associate Laboratory Director for Human Resources