The Department of Human Resources has developed the below FAQs to assist employees in the reopening of the division and our “Return to Learning/Work” plan. In addition to these FAQs, please also refer to those PWCS policies and regulations governing employee compensation, leave, benefits, and other conditions of employment. To the extent that those policies or regulations are in conflict with recent state or federal laws or regulations enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or to any applicable emergency orders, or where the School Board or Superintendent of Schools otherwise deem it necessary due to special or emergency circumstances arising out of the pandemic, the School Board has the authority to waive such policies and the Superintendent of Schools has the authority to waive such regulations, or portions thereof, under PWCS Policy 102, “Formulation and Adoption of Policies and Regulations.

 

UPDATED: 1/28/21

FFCRA Legislation

What is the duration of the FFCRA legislation?

The Families First Corona Virus Relief Act (FFCRA) took effect on April 1, 2020 and expired on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA mandates were not extended by Congress with the signing of the COVID Relief Bill on December 27, 2020. However, Prince William County Public Schools will voluntarily continue to offer sick leave benefits similar to the previous FFCRA mandated Employee Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) benefits through March 31, 2021 (PWCS-EPSL).

Benefits provided through the FFCRA Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) will not be continued and ended on December 31, 2020.

How does the additional PWCS-EPSL benefit impact existing PWCS leave policies?
PWCS will offer PWCS-EPSL benefits before applying other PWCS Leave Regulations as they apply to an employee absence resulting from the need to quarantine or isolate as ordered by the government or advised by a healthcare practitioner; or for employees experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis through March 31, 2021.

Effective January 1 2021 PWCS will not be providing benefits for expanded job protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to cover eligible employees who are unable to work or telework so that they may care for children if schools are closed or their caregivers are unavailable because of a public health emergency.

All other PWCS Leave Regulations continue to apply when applicable.
What information may be collected from an employee to substantiate the employee's request for PWCS-EPSL?

An employee must provide the following information prior to taking PWCS-EPSL:

  • Employee's name.
  • Date(s) for which leave is requested.
  • Qualifying reason for the leave.
  • Oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of the qualified reason for leave.
  • The name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order.
  • The name of the health care provider who advised the employee to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.

Employees will be required to complete applicable PWCS-EPSL forms to initiate a request for benefits under the PWCS-EPSL. Forms may be obtained from the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services. The Office of Benefits and Retirement Services may be contacted by emailing benefits@pwcs.edu.

If I exhaust my PWCS-EPSL and still need time away from work for a COVID-related reason, will I be able to use my accrued leave to cover my absence?

A number of factors affect your ability to use leave outside of the provisions of the PWCS-EPSL. If you have exhausted your benefits under PWCS-EPSL and have a subsequent need for leave due to additional COVID- 19 events, employees will need to use their accrued leave. Employees approved by their supervisor to telework, will not need to use accrued leave. However, if an employee becomes ill and is unable to work either at a PWCS building or virtually at home, they will be required to use accrued leave. Additional questions may be answered by contacting the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu
If I exhaust my EPSL under FFCRA and/or PWCS-EPSL and have no additional accrued leave available, how will my leave be handled?

Should you exhaust your EPSL and have additional COVID- 19 exposure, please contact the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services for further guidance regarding PWCS Administrative COVID Leave (PACL). The Office of Benefits and Retirement Services may be contacted by emailing benefits@pwcs.edu
If I have exhausted the 10 days of leave provided through the EPSL under FFCRA prior to December 31, 2020, does PWCS-EPSL provide additional leave benefits?

No, the PWCS-EPSL is a voluntary employer continuation of benefits similar to those previously mandated under FFCRA. The PWCS EPSL does not provide an additional 10 days of leave to those who have already used the mandated EPSL benefits under FFCRA prior to December 31, 2020. Employees who may have a subsequent need for leave due to additional COVID- 19 event(s) may elect to use their accrued leave. Employees approved by their supervisor to telework, will not need to use accrued leave. However, if an employee becomes ill and is unable to work either at a PWCS building or virtually at home, they may elect to use accrued leave.
Additional questions may be answered by contacting the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu
If I do not use EPSL by March 31, 2021, do the hours carry over into standard FMLA and sick leave benefits?

No, these benefits are not “transferable” for use under other PWCS leave regulations and there are no rollover provisions for these leave benefits under FFCRA or PWCS Leave Regulations.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)

What are the qualifying reasons to receive benefits under the PWCS Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL) and what are the benefits?

PWCS-EPSL provides paid sick leave when an employee is unable to work for a qualifying reason related to COVID-19. Paid leave under PWCS-EPSL is for a maximum of two weeks and the payment amount is based on the employee’s scheduled work hours and reason for utilizing the leave. Qualification for EPSL is divided into two categories:
  1. Employee is ill or quarantined due to COVID-19. An employee may receive up to two weeks (10 working days) of pay (up to a maximum of $511 per day) when the employee is unable to work for one of the following reasons:
    • Employee is subject to quarantine or isolation* due to an order by a federal, state or local entity;
    • Employee is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine;
    • Employee is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis;
    • Employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  2. Employee is caring for individual who is ill or quarantined due to COVID-19. An employee may receive up to two weeks (10 working days) of partial pay (2/3rd of regular pay up to a maximum of $200 per day) when the employee is caring for an individual subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order* or the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.

*Per the Virginia Department of Health and the Prince William County Health Department, quarantine applies to a well-person who has been exposed to someone who is sick with COVID and whose movement is restricted. Isolation applies to a person who is isolating at home due to a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19.

Who is eligible for paid sick leave benefits under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)??

All employees of PWCS, regardless of how long they have been employed, are eligible for PWCS-EPSL. Employees will be eligible if PWCS has scheduled them to work, but they are unable to work (or telework) because:
  • The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to the three previous bullets.
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.
Under the PWCS-EPSL, how much paid leave will PWCS provide?

Full-time employees are entitled to two weeks (10 working days) of paid leave (subject to daily maximums). Part-time employees are entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that the employee normally works over a two-week (10 working day) period.

If an employee’s need for PWCS-EPSL is less than the two-week (10 working day) maximum duration, emergency paid sick leave under this Act shall cease beginning with the employee's next scheduled work shift immediately following the termination of the need for paid sick time due to applicable COVID-19 reasons.
What amount of pay can I expect to receive under PWCS-EPSL for my own quarantine, isolation or COVID-19 related illness?

PWCS-EPSL  will provide up to a maximum of two weeks (10 working days) of 100 percent of the regular rate of pay (based on the employee’s scheduled hours) up to a maximum of $511 per day, when EPSL is taken due to an employee’s own COVID-19 related illness or quarantine. Employees using EPSL for their own quarantine, isolation, or COVID-19 related illness, may supplement EPSL benefits with accrued sick leave, annual leave, personal leave, and/or unpaid vacation days up to, but not exceeding, 100 percent of the employee's normal base pay.
What amount of pay can I expect to receive under PWCS-EPSL to care for another individual who is under quarantine, isolation order or ill due to COVID-19?

PWCS-EPSL will provide up to two weeks (10 working days) of partial pay equal to 2/3rd of an employee’s regular rate of pay(up to a maximum of $200 per day) based on the employee’s scheduled hours. Employees using EPSL to care for an individual who is quarantined, isolated or ill due to COVID-19 may use accrued annual leave, personal leave, unpaid vacation days, and sick leave up to, but not exceeding, 100% of the employee’s normal base pay.
If PWCS-EPSL benefits provide less than my full rate of pay, am I able to supplement my pay with my own leave?

You may supplement PWCS-EPSL benefits with your accrued annual leave, personal leave, sick leave, and/or unpaid vacation days if you would receive less than your full regular pay under PWCS- EPSL.
 
When will PWCS-EPSL benefits begin?

PWCS-EPSL will begin the day after the qualifying event. PWCS-EPSL benefits may be retroactive. Employees must provide documentation to support the use of EPSL as soon as possible, but no later than 15 calendar days after the date they initially requested leave. Required documentation may include a copy of federal, state or local quarantine or isolation or related to COVID-19 or written documentation by a health care provider advising employee to self-quarantine due to COVID-19. This documentation must be submitted to the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services at benefits@pwcs.edu.
How much notice do employees have to give before taking PWCS-EPSL and how do employees apply for this leave?

Employees are expected to notify their supervisor as soon as possible, or at least by the first workday missed due a COVID related absence. Employees must contact benefits to formalize the request to use PWCS-EPSL.
Can leave benefits be used intermittently under the PWCS Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (PWCS-EPSL)?

It depends on why you are utilizing EPSL. Paid sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments. It can be taken intermittently if:
  • you are teleworking. For each full day that you are unable to telework, you will continue to take EPSL until you either (1) use the full 10 workdays of EPSL or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking EPSL. If you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of PWCS-EPSL is to provide such paid sick leave as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others;

Other Benefits-Related Questions

What is the current status of COVID-19 in Virginia?

This situation is rapidly evolving. For the most up-to-date information, check the Virginia Department of Healthwebsite, which is updated daily.
What if I get sick with COVID-19? What health guidance should I follow?

Employees should work directly with their health care provider on any issue concerning their health including COVID-19.  If you have general questions concerning COVID-19, you can visit the Virginia Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention (CDC).
Will staff who exhibit symptoms be required to show a negative COVID-19 test to return to school or work?
A negative COVID-19 test is not required in order for staff to return to work or school, instead only those who have met the CDC criteria for return to school should do so. The VDH created a release from isolation or quarantine infographic to determine when those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 can return to work or school. Consult with the Office of Benefits and Retirement Services to develop a plan for returning to work at benefits@pwcs.edu. (As published by Virginia Department of Education)
 
I believe that I have contracted coronavirus through contact while performing my work duties. Will this be covered under workers’ compensation?

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation law provides benefits when an employee suffers an accidental injury, and in some cases, when they contract an occupational disease caused by their employment. While workers’ compensation law provides compensation for “occupational diseases” that arise out of and in the course of employment, Virginia excludes “ordinary diseases of life” (e.g., the common cold or flu). To be covered under workers’ compensation, the employee must prove to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission that the illness arose out of the employment as defined by the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Code.
Do our benefit plans include telemedicine or a way to see medical professionals remotely?

Yes. Each of our providers, Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente, offer these services. You will need your insurance card, pharmacy information, and a debit or credit card to access these virtual services. If you have difficulty, please contact Lisa Figueroa at figuerlm@pwcs.edu or 703-791-8022, or Elisa Pickette at pickete@pwcs.edu
  • Kaiser Permanente, can call the advice number on the Kaiser Permanente membership card to speak with a licensed care provider or to schedule a telephone or video appointment with your doctor. If you don’t have your membership card with you, visit the Kaiser Permanente website and click on “24/7 advice.” You can make most video visit appointments online 24/7 from your computer or mobile device. Choose a time that works best for you and register at kp.org. You may also call the Kaiser Permanente appointment line to schedule your video visit at 1-800-777-7904 (TTY 711).
  • Staff and families who have PWCS insurance coverage through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, should contact your Primary Care Physician, Anthem Member Services or the 24/7 Nurse Line for treatment advice. Contact numbers are listed on your Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield ID Card. You may also utilize the Live Health Online feature of your plan by registering on the Live Health Online website.
Are employees eligible for Short Term Disability benefits if placed under quarantine? (VRS - Hybrid employees)

There are a wide variety of scenarios under which an individual may be quarantined, ranging from a voluntary self-quarantine without a COVID-19 diagnosis to a mandated quarantine with a diagnosis.

If an individual is quarantined as directed by a licensed health care professional or government agency, the Standard will assess a claim for benefits as follows:
  • If the individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is unable to work from home, they will remain insured and eligible under the group STD policy.
  • If the individual has not been diagnosed and is unable to work from home, they will retain coverage and eligibility under the STD policy should they eventually become disabled.
  • It is important to remember that under most STD policies a covered individual must be unable to work, either at their place of employment or from home, and must experience a loss of income to be eligible for STD benefits in all cases.

Notification Requirements

If you experience any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor and the Office of Benefits (Benefits@pwcs.edu or 703.791.8050) and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider.

 

Notification Requirements

If you experience any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should immediately leave work (if applicable), notify your supervisor and the Office of Benefits (Benefits@pwcs.edu or 703-791-8050) and seek medical guidance from a healthcare provider.