Skip to content Skip to navigation

COVID Flex Hours

Updated 8/26/2021

To support our employees and their well-being and in recognition of the impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is offering up to 80 hours of paid time (“COVID Flex Hours”) to address COVID-related needs, including family care. In addition, eligible employees may use up to 24 hours for self-care.

Important Update

Effective March 29, 2021, California required employers to provide employees with up to 80 hours of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for a variety of COVID-19-related purposes (2021 CA COVID-19 SPSL). Stanford’s COVID Flex Hours Policy, as revised, fully meets the requirements of this law and additionally provides for up to 24 hours of paid time to benefits-eligible employees for self-care. Certain counties and cities also have COVID-19 paid sick leave ordinances (e.g., San Francisco; Oakland). Stanford's COVID Flex Hours Policy also meets the requirements of those ordinances. On August 26, 2021 Stanford extended the interim policy to allow current, eligible employees to utilize the benefit through December 17, 2021. 

Effective date

March 1, 2021 (retroactive to January 1, 2021) through December 17, 2021. 

Eligibility

The following employees hired on or before September 30, 2021 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.

  • SLAC employees: Policies may differ from those stated here due to SLAC’s regulatory environment; please view the policies posted in the SLAC Intranet.

If you have taken time off from work from January 1, 2021, to February 28, 2021, 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

The number of hours allocated will be prorated based on the employee’s full-time equivalent (FTE) on March 1, 2021. If the employee’s FTE is reduced after March 1, 2021, the balance will not be adjusted.

Part-time employees will receive COVID Flex Hours 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 two-week time period (i.e., 14 days).
  2. Variable Hours: If the employee works a variable number of hours, the employee will receive 14 times the average number of hours the employee worked each day in the six months 1 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, 2021, then the employee will be eligible to receive 14 times the average number of hours worked each day between October 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021.2

Qualifying Uses for COVID Flex Hours

Eligible employees may use up to 80 COVID Flex Hours (retroactive to January 1, 2021) if they are unable to work or telecommute and are:

  1. Symptomatic3, seeking medical treatment for symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19 and must isolate for a specified period.

  2. Required to quarantine by (1) Stanford following personal travel, (2) their physician, or (3) 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, or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

  4. Caring for a family member when their school or place of care has been partially or fully closed, or if their care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 or a public health or other public official’s recommendation in response to COVID-19.

  5. Taking time off to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination and/or experiencing side effects due to the COVID-19 vaccination.


    Separately, starting March 1, 2021, regular benefits-eligible employees may use up to 24 additional COVID Flex Hours (prorated for part-time benefits-eligible employees based on their FTE) if they are:

  6.  Needing time for self-care and personal wellness. These hours are not intended to substitute for taking vacation time. We encourage employees to work with their managers to schedule vacation. Using COVID Flex Hours for self-care and personal wellness is intended for shorter durations (e.g., a few hours or 1-2 days).
Employees who are required to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 for a reason other than personal travel, and are unable to telecommute, may be eligible for Quarantine Pay, which should be applied for the required quarantine period. 
 
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. 
 
Please consult with your school/unit HR Manager to confirm eligibility for COVID Flex Hours and discuss other benefits that might be available.

Contingent Employees

Contingent employees (i.e., temporary and casual employees, and student hourly employees) are eligible to use COVID Flex Hours for the Qualifying Uses identified above. Contingent employees are not eligible for the 24 additional COVID Flex Hours to use for self-care purposes. 

The total allotment of COVID Flex Hours available to a contingent employee is 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 two-week time period (i.e., 14 days).
  2. Variable Hours: If the employee works a variable number of hours, the employee will receive 14 times the average number of hours the employee worked each day in the six months5 preceding the date the employee is requesting to use COVID Flex Hours. For example, if the employee requests leave to start on April 1, 2021, then the employee will be eligible to receive 14 times the average number of hours worked each day between October 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021.6

Other Details

  • If an eligible employee does not use the full allocation of hours by December 17, 2021, 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.
  • 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 #1-5 above.
  • Except in situations where an employee or their family member is sick or required to quarantine, 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 a non-quarantine or non-illness-related purpose, 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 and are not required to provide verification or documentation supporting the request. However, the university reserves the right to look into suspected misuse.
  • Each eligible employee in a household may utilize COVID Flex Hours for caregiving reasons.
  • COVID Flex Hours may be used in one-hour increments.
  • COVID Flex Hours may be charged to sponsored awards, with the exception of self-care hours.
  • 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

For regular benefits-eligible employees:

  • When recording time used for self-care, use the time reporting code “COVID Flex Self-Care”.
  • For all other uses under the COVID Flex Hours Policy, use the time reporting code: “COVID Flex Hours”.

For contingent employees:

  • Use the time reporting code: “COV Sup Paid Leave Hourly”.

Visit Fingate FMS Payroll Services Update Related to COVID-19 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 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave notice.

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 14 times the average number of hours the employee worked each day during the entire period of their employment. If the employee has worked less than 14 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 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); parent; legal guardian or ward; sibling; grandparent; grandchild; and spouse or registered domestic partner. These relationships include biological relationships and relationships resulting from adoption, step-relationships, and foster care relationships. “Child” also includes a child of a domestic partner and a child of a person standing in loco parentis. “Parent” also includes a person who stood in loco parentis when the employee was a minor child, and a person who is a biological, adoptive, or foster parent, or guardian of the employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner. This definition also includes a person with whom the employee has a personal relationship whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship, and who regularly resides in the employee's home.

5For employees who have worked less than six months, the employee may be eligible to receive 14 times the average number of hours the employee worked each day during the entire period of their employment. If the employee has worked less than 14 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.

6If 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 80 COVID Flex Hours.