Ames School Board extends COVID-19 paid sick leave policy
The Ames School Board voted unanimously Monday evening to extend its COVID-19 leave policy for all employees through March 31.
The school district's COVID-19 Pandemic Temporary Supplemental Policy was crafted in compliance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a federal law passed on March 18, 2020. Both were written to automatically expire on Dec. 31.
Through the U.S Department of Labor, FFRCA required certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for COVID-19-related reasons.
Under this program, employees with COVID-19 were eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave. For employees caring for a quarantining individual, two weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate were available. Up to 10 weeks of family and medical leave at two-thirds of the employee’s regular pay rate were available for those needing to care for a child whose school had closed due to COVID-19.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on Dec. 27, amends the FFRCA so employers can voluntarily provide COVID-19 leave through March 31 and claim payroll tax credit for doing so.
According to the school district's policy, full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave. Part-time employees are entitled to leave equaling "a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works on average, over a two-week period."
The following criteria make Ames school employees eligible for sick leave:
- A federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- The employee has been advised by a healthcare 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 a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; or advice by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- The employee is caring for a minor son or daughter if his or her school or child care provider of the son or daughter has closed; or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions.
- 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 Department of Labor.
Isabella Rosario is a public safety reporter for the Ames Tribune. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @irosarioc.