New Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL21) for COVID-19 relief available to all employees in 2021

April 12, 2021

To: Staff and Academic Employees

From: Steve Stein, Associate Vice Chancellor, Staff Human Resources; Grace McClintock, Assistant Vice Provost, Academic Personnel

Re: New Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL21) for COVID-19 relief available to all employees in 2021

This communication is to inform you of a recent update on the University of California’s (University) COVID-19 Related Leaves for policy-covered and represented academic and staff employees. 

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) into law, which gives employers the option to offer their employees Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL21) in 2021. On March 19, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill 95 (SB 95) which entitled most California employees to a new bank of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave. Effective March 29, 2021, the University is providing up to 80 hours of EPSL21 for full-time employees and the two-week equivalent for part-time employees. The University’s EPSL21 program is more generous than ARPA and SB95. 

EPSL21 is available to employees who are unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 for one or more of the following reasons:

    1. Reason 1: The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID 19.
    2. Reason 2: The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    3. Reason 3:
      1. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis from a health care provider;
      2. New: The employee has been exposed to COVID-19 and is seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID-19;
      3. New: The University has requested that the employee obtain a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID-19, and the employee is seeking or awaiting those results;
      4. New: The employee is obtaining immunization related to COVID-19; or
      5. New: The employee is recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to obtaining immunization related to COVID-19.
    4. Reason 4: The employee is caring for an individual who is either subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    5. Reason 5: The employee is caring for their child whose school or place of care has closed (or whose child care provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
    6. Reason 6: The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Effective Dates
EPSL21 is effective March 29, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Full-time employees may take up to 80 hours of EPSL21, while those who are part-time may take up to the two-week equivalent. As before, employees will receive their regular rate of pay during EPSL21. Although the law allows employers to place caps on pay for EPSL, the University has once again decided not to apply these caps. If an employee has an EPSL21 leave in progress as of September 30, 2021, the employee will be allowed to finish taking the amount of EPSL21 that they are entitled to receive until their allotment is exhausted or their qualifying reason ends.

Additionally, if an employee took any leave without pay between January 1, 2021 and March 28, 2021 for one or more of the EPSL21 qualifying reasons, the employee may request that the University allow them to retroactively use EPSL21 by submitting a completed 2021 EPSL Request Form to their supervisor.

Requesting EPSL21 - Staff Employees
Staff employees may request EPSL21 by submitting a completed 2021 EPSL Request Form to their supervisor. Supervisors are expected to approve the form and immediately route it to covid-epsl-group@ucsc.edu. Employees should follow regular and established call out procedures (if your unit has them) to notify individual supervisors about the EPSL21 request and state the criteria met for the leave.

Requesting EPSL21 - Academic Employees
Academic employees who are unable to continue with their assigned duties, either temporarily or for an extended time, should notify their direct supervisor of the need to take EPSL21. Academic employees should also immediately contact their Divisional Academic Personnel Coordinator. Appointees may be asked to complete the 2021 EPSL Request Form.

For more comprehensive information on COVID-19 Related Leaves for Policy-Covered and Represented Employees, please visit SHR’s COVID-19 FAQs website for staff employees and APO’s COVID-Related Leave for Academic Employees website for academic employees.


Thank you.