January 15, 2021
Last year, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was enacted by Congress to provide employees with additional benefits to navigate the responsibilities of work and life during the global pandemic. The federal legislation focused on two areas: emergency paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave. The Act, which became effective April 1, 2020, expired December 31, 2020. We were hopeful that Congress would act to extend the FFCRA prior to its expiration, but that did not occur.
As a result, it is important to note that the paid sick leave provisions under the FFCRA were only valid through December 31, 2020. Emergency paid sick leave hours are documented and reported on the Leave and Pay Exception Report with the following codes: ELH (emergency paid sick leave for OPS hourly employees) and ELS (emergency paid sick leave for all other employees).
December 31, 2020, which is under the pay period ending January 7, 2021, was the last day to use emergency paid sick leave hours or emergency family and medical leave hours. Please speak to your department payroll processor for more information.
Florida law prohibits the university from paying OPS employees for hours not worked or offering paid sick leave to OPS employees, unless such leave is otherwise required by law, such as the FFCRA. Since that federal law expired, the university is no longer able to offer any paid leave benefit to OPS employees. I am writing to provide you with additional information and resources that may be helpful to you and your families during this unprecedented time.
Employee Assistance Program
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a university-funded benefit that offers the support and resources you need to address any personal challenges and/or concerns that may affect your personal well-being and/or work performance. It is confidential and free to all faculty and staff (excluding OPS student employees) as well as their eligible family members, including spouses, dependent children, parents and parents-in-law.
Employees are encouraged to learn more about the EAP and make use of this program if they or an immediate family member of their household would like professional help in dealing with a personal problem. Contact Health Advocate at 877-240-6863 or visit HealthAdvocate.com/members for more information.
Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) serves residents in need throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. Employees interested in learning more about community resources available to them can visit the Heart of Florida United Way website.
Employees who reside in other counties can visit www.unitedway.org to find their local United Way.
The COVID-19 pandemic has without a doubt impacted us all, introducing uncertainty and disrupting our ordinary way of life, but what remains constant is that in challenging times we Charge On. We must remain vigilant about COVID-19 and take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and those around us, no matter where we are.
We will face the challenges ahead with the same courage, positivity and devotion that we have demonstrated this past year. Thank you for all you do to support our students and our university.
Armor Up, Knights, and Charge On!
Associate Vice President
Chief Human Resources Officer