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Flexible Schedule Options for Employees for School Closures and other COVID-19 Challenges

Author: Human Resources
Date: 8/19/2020 10:23 AM

Flexible Schedule Options for Employees for School Closures and other COVID-19 Challenges

With the continued school closures and distance learning programs that will be in place for the fall, we understand that many County employees are very concerned and anxious about how they will manage their work and take care of their children as they learn from home. These challenges are not just related to school closures, as employees may also be caring for family members, dealing with childcare issues, or are facing other COVID-19 challenges. Many supervisors, managers, and Department Heads are also facing these same challenges. There are still many unknowns and additional pressures that will be placed on employees, which is further compounded by the continued COVID-19 emergency and the impacts it already has on daily routines.


We wanted to reach out and let you know that the County is doing everything it can to support you as you balance your work and take care of your children as they learn at home or as you deal deal with other COVID-19 challenges. There are several options available to employees to assist during this time. If you are in a situation where you think you will need some additional flexibility with your work schedule, please contact your supervisor to discuss what options may be available. There are also various paid and unpaid leave options available to employees. The County continues to encourage telecommuting and alternate or flexible schedule options when possible. But please keep in mind that the ability to offer telecommuting and flexible scheduling will continue be at department head discretion and will be based on your department’s needs and ability to maintain operations and services.


You are likely aware of different pay and leave options available to you, but these are outlined below for your reference.


Flexible Scheduling

  • Working from Home: Department Heads are encouraging telecommuting whenever practical. Pursuant to the County’s Telecommuting Policy, authorization for telecommuting is at the Department Head’s discretion. Please work with your department to determine if telecommuting is available. Refer to the County’s Telecommuting Policy for more information.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Employee may also have the option of working an alternative work schedule, such as a 4/10 or 9/80 work weeks. Employees should check with their supervisor to see if an alternative work schedule is available to them. Employees can also check with their supervisors on any other flexible work week arrangements that may be an option, such as different starting and ending times each day. Please keep in mind that all flexible scheduling will be at Department Head discretion and based on the needs and ability of your department.


Paid Leave Options

  • COVID19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL): All employees were given 80 hours of sick leave on April 1, 2020 to be used for COVID19 related illness or childcare closures. These 80 hours are available for you to utilize from your sick leave balances until December 31, 2020.  
  • Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA): Provides 12 weeks of leave for caring for a child under 18 who is home because of a school closure or childcare closure. There is a 10 day waiting period for benefits, then employees are eligible for paid leave of 2/3 of an employee’s pay up to a maximum of $200/day. This leave can be used intermittingly as needed. Apply in NeoGov eForms.
  • COVID19 Catastrophic Leave: This program allows employees to assist fellow employees who have exhausted their paid leave time due to a COVID19 related school closure. Applicants may receive a maximum of 20 hours of paid leave per week. All leave donations are voluntary and funds are not guaranteed. Apply or donate leave in NeoGov eForms.
  • Unemployment Insurance: As a parent or guardian you may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you must miss work to care for your child. Apply for benefits through EDD Unemployment Insurance Online and the State of California will determine eligibility on a case-by-case basis.


Unpaid Leave Options

  • Voluntary Temporary Schedule Reduction (VTSR): This new program allows permanent, full-time employees the opportunity to reduce your weekly work schedules while still receiving up to full-time cafeteria contributions or cafeteria cash-out benefits depending on the level of schedule reduction. This could be a good option for employees who think they will need consistent time off each week. Apply in NeoGov eForms.
  • Voluntary Time Off  (VTO): VTO provides you the ability to take up to 160 hours of unpaid time off per fiscal year while receiving time in service, leave accruals, and pension benefits as if you were working a normal schedule. You must coordinate paid leave with VTO to receive the full cafeteria contribution. Apply in NeoGov eForms.


Employee COVID-19 Information          

  • The Employee COVID-19 Information page contains important information on the County reopening, FAQs on pay and leave options available, and other important information relating to the current COVID-19 emergency.


Childcare Options and School District Information


For questions on these resources or to discuss your personal needs, contact [email protected] or your HR Analyst.