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COVID Flex Hours

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Updated September 30, 2022

This policy provides eligible employees with paid time to address COVID-related needs, including family care.

Important update

Effective February 19, 2022, California requires employers to provide employees with up to 80 hours of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for a variety of COVID-19-related purposes (2022 CA COVID-19 SPSL). Stanford’s COVID Flex Hours Policy, as revised, meets the requirements of this law. For eligible employees who are required to quarantine/isolate due to a workplace exposure to COVID-19, please refer to the revised Quarantine Pay policy.

Effective date

February 19, 2022 (retroactive to January 1, 2022) through December 31, 2022.

Eligibility

The following employees are eligible for COVID Flex Hours: 

  • Regular employees, defined as benefits-eligible employees, full- or part-time, whether exempt or non-exempt, including faculty and academic staff. Postdoctoral scholars are also eligible.
  • Contingent employees as described below.

If you have taken time off from work from January 1, 2022 to February 19, 2022 for certain Qualifying Uses below, you have the option to apply your COVID Flex Hours during that time. Please contact your supervisor or HR Manager to determine eligibility.

Allocation of COVID Flex Hours

Eligible employees will receive two 40-hour allocations of COVID Flex Hours. The allocations are broken into two categories:

  1. Up to 40 hours for covered reasons related to caring for yourself, caring for a family member, or obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine or booster (for details, see Qualifying Uses for COVID Flex Hours below).
  2. Up to an additional 40 hours only for having tested positive for COVID-19 (e.g., employee tests positive for, or is caring for a family member who tests positive for, COVID-19).

The number of hours allocated for each set of COVID Flex Hours will be prorated based on the employee’s full-time equivalent (FTE) on February 19, 2022. If the employee’s FTE is reduced after February 19, 2022, the balance will not be adjusted.

Part-time and contingent employees will receive COVID Flex Hours for each allocation calculated using one of the following methods: 

  1. Set Weekly Schedule: If the employee has a set weekly schedule, the employee will receive the total number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work over a one-week time period (i.e., seven days).
  2. Variable Hours: If the employee works a variable number of hours, the employee will receive 7 times the average number of hours the employee worked each day in the six months1 preceding the date the employee is requesting to use COVID Flex Hours. For example, if the employee requests time off to start on April 1, 2022, then the employee will be eligible to receive 7 times the average number of hours worked each day between October 1, 2021 and April 1, 20222.

Qualifying Uses for COVID Flex Hours

Eligible employees may use up to 40 COVID Flex Hours (retroactive to January 1, 2022) if they are unable to work or telecommute and are:

  1. Symptomatic3, seeking medical treatment for symptoms, and must quarantine or isolate for a specified period.
  2. Required to quarantine or isolate by (1) their physician or (2) federal, state or applicable county orders or guidelines (e.g., people 65 years and older, or who have certain health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease and weakened immune systems). 
  3. Caring for a family member4 who has been directed to quarantine or isolate, by (1) their physician or (2) federal, state or applicable county orders or guidelines.
  4. Caring for a child when their school or place of care has been partially or fully closed due to a concern that a person who had been present on the school or daycare premises was exposed to, or had contracted, COVID-19.
  5. Taking time off for themselves or a family member to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or booster and/or they are experiencing side effects or caring for a family member who is experiencing side effects due to the COVID-19 vaccination or booster. For each vaccination or booster, the total COVID Flex Hours used is limited to three days or 24 hours5 unless the employee provides verification from a health care provider that the employee or their family member is continuing to experience symptoms.

Separately, eligible employees may use up to an additional 40 COVID Flex Hours (retroactive to January 1, 2022) only if the employee, or a family member for whom the employee is providing care, tests positive for COVID-19.

Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are caring for a family member who has tested positive may be eligible for disability benefits through Stanford’s disability administrator, AbsenceOne. 

Note: Employees who are required to isolate or quarantine due to a workplace exposure to COVID-19 may be eligible to use Quarantine Pay.

Please consult with your school/unit HR Manager to confirm eligibility for COVID Flex Hours and discuss other benefits that might be available.

Other details

  • If an eligible employee does not use the full allocation of hours by December 31, 2022, the hours expire. COVID Flex Hours do not constitute vacation or PTO and are not subject to vesting. Unused COVID Flex Hours are not paid out at the end of this period or upon separation of employment.
  • Eligible employees who previously exhausted their full allocation of COVID Flex Hours will not be provided additional time as a result of the extension of the policy to December 31, 2022.
  • Employees who are actively working are eligible for COVID Flex Hours. Employees who are on a paid or unpaid leave of absence (including personal leave or medical leave) are not eligible for COVID Flex Hours unless the leave of absence is based on one of the Qualifying Uses above.
  • Depending on the situation, both 40-hour allocations may be applicable to an absence due to COVID-19. For example, an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 may use up to 40 hours for testing positive as well as up to an additional 40 hours for caring for themselves (see Qualifying Uses for COVID Flex Hours above).
  • Except in situations where an employee or their family member is sick or required to quarantine or isolate, scheduling arrangements should be discussed with the employee’s manager in advance and are subject to manager approval.  To ensure adequate staffing, this includes circumstances where an employee requests to use COVID Flex Hours on consecutive days (e.g., 2 or more days).
  • If an employee is approved to use COVID Flex Hours for themselves or a family member to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or booster, the scheduled time off may be subject to rescheduling due to unanticipated staffing issues.
  • Employees are expected to request to use COVID Flex Hours for an eligible use specified in this policy. Employees seeking to use COVID Flex Hours only for having tested positive for COVID-19 may be asked to provide documentation of a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test during the relevant period. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 may be asked to take another diagnostic test provided by the university on or after the fifth day after the first test and provide documentation of the results.  If the diagnostic test is positive, employees may be asked to take another diagnostic test provided by the university within 24 hours and provide documentation of the results. Use of COVID Flex Hours may be denied for employees who refuse to submit to these tests. Employees requesting to use COVID Flex Hours because a family member tests positive for COVID-19 may be required to provide documentation of that family member’s test results. The university reserves the right to look into suspected misuse.
  • Each eligible employee in a household may utilize COVID Flex Hours for qualifying reasons.
  • COVID Flex Hours may be used in one-hour increments.
  • COVID Flex Hours may be charged to sponsored awards.
  • COVID Flex Hours are individual to each employee and cannot be transferred or shared with other employees.
  • This policy can be amended or retracted at the university’s discretion, including to meet applicable regulatory requirements.

Benefits

Eligible employees may be entitled to other COVID-19 related benefits under certain circumstances, and should consult with their HR Manager to confirm eligibility and discuss other benefits that might be available.

Timekeeping process

Time reporting codes will be available for use by the end of the February 28 pay period and may be applied retroactively to January 1, 2022.

  • For time used for covered reasons related to caring for yourself, caring for a family member, or obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine or booster (e.g., quarantine or isolation, vaccine/booster appointments or recovery, experiencing COVID symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis, closure of school or place of care for reasons related to COVID-19 on the premises), use the time reporting code: “COVID Flex Hours.”
  • For time used only for having tested positive for COVID-19 (e.g., employee tests positive for, or is caring for a family member who tests positive for, COVID-19), use the time reporting code: “COVID Flex Hours Positive.”

Visit Fingate FMS Updates Related to COVID-19 page for timecard entry procedures. 

Faculty, academic staff, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students with teaching and research assistantships: Follow the same recording instruction as the current Sick Time process.

More information

For more information, you may view a copy of the State of California’s notice, here: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/COVID19resources/2022-COVID-19-SPSL-Poster.pdf 

If you have further questions, please contact your supervisor or HR Manager.


1For employees who have worked less than six months, the employee may be eligible to receive 7 times the average number of hours the employee worked each day during the entire period of their employment for each allocation of COVID Flex Hours. If the employee has worked less than 7 days at the time of the leave request, the employee may be entitled to receive COVID Flex Hours which match the total number of hours the employee has worked.

2Employees with variable schedules should contact their supervisor or HR Manager to ensure their balance is appropriately reflected. If any adjustments are needed, the supervisor or HR Manager should submit a ticket to Payroll. If the variable schedule calculation results in an average work schedule of at least 40 hours per week, the variable-scheduled employee would be considered full time and entitled to up to 80 COVID Flex Hours.

3Isolation/self-quarantine periods are established under orders/guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health, local health officers, the CDC, or your physician. “Symptomatic” includes COVID-19 symptoms or any other substantially similar condition specified by the local health officer or under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A “substantially similar condition” has not yet been defined, but typical symptoms may include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and/or diarrhea.

4“Family member” includes: child (of any age or dependency status); parent; sibling; grandparent; grandchild; and spouse or registered domestic partner. “Child” also includes a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the employee stands in loco parentis. “Parent” also includes a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of the employee or the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner, or a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child.

5The 3-day or 24-hour limitation for each vaccination or booster also includes the time used to get the vaccine or booster.