Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 and Time Away from Work

These amendments are effective until further notice unless noted otherwise.

The health and well-being of our community remains our number one priority. As such, and in response to the current emergency, the university has authorized temporary amendments to the Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy as detailed below.

In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, the university is providing additional time off for employees who need time away from work because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or because they have been ordered to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19, subject to the conditions noted below. This "COVID-19 Time Off" will remain in effect until further notice.

COVID-19 Time Off provides eligible employees with up to 10 days of time off at 100% pay, without first exhausting either PTO or Emergency Time Off. If an employee is unable to return to work after using all 10 COVID-19 Time Off days, the employee may use PTO, Emergency Time Off and, if applicable and approved, Short-Term Disability. COVID-19 Time Off may run concurrently with Family Medical Leave (FML). 

Eligibility and Entitlement

  • Please refer to the guidance applicable to your normal work location for more information on the qualifying reasons and leave entitlement based on your position. Contact HR Leaves Management with questions.
  • For all employees not covered by state or local COVID-19 paid sick leave laws or ordinances, to be eligible for COVID-19 Time Off, an employee must:
    • Currently have a position that is eligible for PTO under the university’s Paid Time Off Policy; and
    • Either (a) have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (applies whether working on-site or remotely); or (b) have been ordered to self-isolate due to exposure to COVID-19 (applies only if working on-site)
  • For union employees: Refer to your collective bargaining agreement and discuss with your local representative any applicable temporary COVID-19 policies.

To apply for COVID-19 Time Off, please review the detailed instructions in the Emergency Time Off and COVID-19 Time Off Requests Quick Guide [pdf].

Important Updates*

* Carnegie Mellon University will comply with applicable state and local COVID-19 paid sick leave laws and ordinances, to the extent any such law is inconsistent with the university’s COVID-19 Time Off benefits.

Eligibility requirements for Emergency Time Off include the following:

  • Eligible employees who are unable to work remotely, who must be off to care for themselves or their dependents, or who are in a high-risk category as defined by the CDC
  • Depletion of all other available time off and leave options and balances
  • See table below for full details

To apply for Emergency Time Off, please review the detailed instructions in the Emergency Time Off and COVID-19 Time Off Requests Quick Guide [pdf].

This time off may run concurrently with Family Medical Leave (FML). 

Emergency Time Off Program

When can I use this time off? Once all other types of eligible paid time off and leave are depleted
What is the purpose?

To cover eligible employees who are unable to work remotely, who must be off to care for themselves or their dependents, or who are in a high risk category as defined by the CDC. This Emergency Time Off only applies when an event is declared as Emergency Time Off eligible by the Executive Management Team.

Amount of time off
  • For PTO eligible employees: Up to 10 days of Emergency Time Off at 100% pay
  • For non-PTO eligible/non-union employees: Up to 10 days of time off at 100% pay, split between:
    • Up to 40 hours of paid sick time under the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act. Under this Emergency Time Off Program, paid sick time may be used even if the paid sick time has not yet been earned.
    • Up to five days of Emergency Time Off at 100% regular pay, if needed, after the exhaustion of paid sick time.
  • For non-PTO eligible/union employees: Refer to your collective bargaining agreement and discuss with your local representative any applicable temporary COVID-19 policies.
When does eligibility begin? Immediately upon employment

Until further notice, the university will permit PTO-eligible staff members to take up to 10 days (instead of the current five) of unearned PTO for COVID-19 related absences if they meet the criteria listed below. As an exception to the Paid Time Off (PTO) Policy, PTO-eligible staff members may take up to 10 days (instead of the current five) of unearned PTO for COVID-19 related absences, if they have:        

  • Depleted all other types of time off, including PTO and Floating Holidays
  • Depleted the 10 days of Emergency Time Off

The negative balance created by the use of unearned PTO will start to reduce as PTO is accrued on the first of each month moving forward. It is strongly recommended that all requests for PTO related to COVID-19 be granted. View the Request Time Off Quick Guide [pdf].

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many staff members have had to cancel or reschedule their planned PTO. This has resulted in staff members entering their next employment year with a PTO balance that is greater than their annual entitlement; therefore, PTO hours are moving into the staff members’ bank of Reserve Sick Days (RSD). 

The Office of Human Resources has approved temporary exceptions to the university’s Paid Time Off Policy for PTO that normally would have rolled into a staff member’s bank of RSD from April 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022. Affected PTO not used by a staff member's PTO anniversary date subsequent to December 31, 2022 will be converted back to the staff member’s bank of RSD after that PTO anniversary date. 

If you have any questions, please contact Matt McCabe or Amelia Kephart.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and to provide greater flexibility, the Office of Human Resources has approved a temporary adjustment to how Intermittent Family Medical Leave (FML) is administered. This adjustment will be available through December 31, 2022 and allows employees to take Intermittent FML related to the birth, adoption or placement of a child for foster care as unpaid time off even if they have a Paid Time Off (PTO) balance.

Ordinarily, Intermittent FML must be used in tandem with available PTO until the PTO balance is five days or less, at which time an employee can take Intermittent FML unpaid. As an example under the temporary adjustment, an employee with a PTO balance of 29 days can opt to take an unpaid Intermittent FML day related to the birth of a child without being required to use any of their available PTO.