COVID-19 Related Leaves of Absences and Accommodations

While the university is taking all of the necessary precautions to keep our students, faculty and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that some employees may be unable to work on and/or off campus for a variety of reasons.  In response to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 that impact employees’ ability to work, the following leave options and accommodations may be available:

Updated with FY22 information, applicable starting July 1, 2021.

Remote work and flexible scheduling may be available for employees.  Please refer to the Flextime Arrangements webpage for more information. 

Utilizing this Option

Employees should discuss with their supervisor a remote work/flexible schedule plan that is compatible with department responsibilities, operational needs and the needs of the employee.  The plan should ensure that the essential duties of the position can be fulfilled.

Approval

The agreement between the supervisor and the employee is all that is needed for approval. Employees working remotely will not be required to complete Work-At-Home Agreements at this time.

Employees who are unable to work because they or their immediate family members are ill or injured or are obtaining medical or dental consultation or treatment may use their personal accrued sick leave benefits for absences.  Employees can also use accrued sick leave benefits if they have tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a diagnosis, or have been recommended or ordered to quarantine for exposure to COVID-19.  Employees can view available leave balances on their pay advice.

Employees who are unable to work for reasons other than those detailed directly above can use their personal accrued vacation leave benefits for absences. Employees can view available leave balances on their pay advice.

Utilizing this Option

Employees should follow their normal call-in procedures related to the use of sick time.  The use of vacation time requires advanced notification and approval.

Approval

Employees should follow their normal call-in procedures related to the use of sick time.  The use of vacation time requires advanced notification and approval.

Personal and Family Sick Leave

On a fiscal year basis, the university provides full-time employees with 25 working days of non-accumulative sick leave for their own personal illness and 25 working days of non-accumulative sick leave to care for a member of their immediate family or household. The availability of these days is prorated for new hires and part time employees. Employees can view available leave balances on their pay advice.

Employees represented by a union are encouraged to refer their collective bargaining agreement regarding use of paid benefits as these agreements will take precedence on the use of the non-accumulating sick leave benefits.  Please contact your union representative for assistance with the application of the union contract. 

Utilizing this Option

Employees should follow their normal call-in procedures related to the use of sick time.  The NIU Payroll department will utilize non-accumulative sick leave benefits to pay employees based on university procedures.

Approval

The use of sick leave does not have a formal approval process when employees are providing appropriate notification.

NIU is committed to providing a rich and accessible environment. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we make every effort to provide helpful information about the procedures, policies, and resources for requesting a reasonable accommodation. If you are a current NIU employee with a qualifying disability and believe you would benefit from support with performing essential job functions, you can request an ADA reasonable accommodation.

Utilizing this Option

An Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the hiring process for a qualified individual with a disability. An accommodation is reasonable so long as it does not pose an undue hardship for the employer in terms of significant difficulty or expense to implement.

Accommodation request procedure:

  1. Submit a request for a reasonable accommodation. Feel free to contact us at ada@niu.edu or 815-753-6540 if you would like to discuss specific situations before submitting a request.
  2. Provide supporting medical documentation upon request. It should be signed by a licensed treatment professional and include:
    • A description of the nature of the impairment, including the severity and duration.
    • Specific activities that the impairment limits.
    • The type of accommodation that may be needed to carry out required duties of the position.
  3. Engage in an interactive communication process with us. We will contact you to discuss your needs, responsibilities and possible accommodations that will enable you to perform the essential functions of your job, engage in an equitable hiring process or make a visit to our campus.

Approval

A reasonable accommodation implementation form signed by the employee, the employee’s supervisor, the department head, and an ADA representative signifies the official approval of the accommodation request.

If all other paid leave options have been exhausted, employees can apply for an unpaid personal leave from their position. This would be an approved leave of absence from the university and the employee would have the ability to return to their position when the leave ends. 

There is an impact to the cost of insurance while on this leave of absence. Employees are required to pay their normal premiums but in addition must pay the portion the State pays on their behalf. Please reference the FY22 Insurance Rates document for additional information. 

Utilizing this Option

Employees with a need for a personal leave of absence should apply on the Human Resource Services website.

Approval

Human Resource Services will review all applications received and will notify the employee and their supervisor if the request has been approved.

Contact Us

Human Resource Services
Human Resources/Document Services Building
1515 West Lincoln Highway
P: 815-753-6000
F: 815-753-2335
humanresources@niu.edu

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