Coronavirus Workplace Policies

Harvard continues to place the highest priority on the health, safety and wellbeing of its faculty, staff and students, as well as the wider community. The University has been open throughout the pandemic, even while much of the work has been done remotely. Notably, many members of the Harvard community have been working on campus to sustain the essential services that protect the Harvard campus and community, staff the research enterprise, or support teaching and learning. Others have been working remotely or been on excused absence status.

At present, Harvard is providing partial pay (70%) and benefits continuation for eligible employees whose work has been involuntarily idled due to the pandemic. Harvard will continue to provide partial (70%) pay and benefits continuation for eligible idled employees through April 1, 2022.

To provide support to those facing illness or extraordinary dependent care responsibilities, Harvard has temporarily amended its paid time-off policies.

Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave is now also available to all employees, in addition to existing paid leave options, and will run concurrent with Harvard’s amended paid time-off policies (until April 1, 2022 or until the Commonwealth's funds for this program are exhausted). See MA COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave for more information.

On the home front, many are grappling with the personal effects of the pandemic, including sustained social distancing and isolation, unemployment, fully or partly home-based schooling for children, travel restrictions and the interruption of many businesses and public services.

These workplace policies and Return to Campus FAQs are intended to provide guidance and advice about how to sustain productive work, and begin transitioning back to on-campus work in some cases, given these highly disruptive changes. Not every question has been answered, nor every situation anticipated. Please apply them with equal measures of common sense and compassion, consulting with managers, leaders and local HR as needed.

Please also consult Keep Harvard Healthy for updated information on requirements for campus access, health and wellbeing, testing and tracing, and travel guidance.


As we work to reach the high levels of vaccination needed to protect our community, vaccines are required for all Harvard community members, including faculty, staff and researchers. Exemptions may be provided for medical or religious reasons. Note that unvaccinated people with an approved exemption may be subject to additional public health measures (e.g., masking, testing) above and beyond what is required of vaccinated individuals. Updates and information regarding the University's vaccine requirement can be found at the University's vaccine webpage, and additional details will be provided when available.

Consistent with federal guidance, all Harvard employees, including those who are on 100% remote work status, must be fully vaccinated. Individuals who do not have an approved exemption and are not fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022, will begin to face discipline for non-compliance. Continued non-compliance will ultimately result in termination. Employees do not have the option to choose additional testing instead of vaccination. You can submit a copy of your vaccination care via email at or use one of the encrypted options described on the University's Verify Your Vaccine webpage. HUHS keeps individual medical information secure and confidential. 

Please follow the below guidelines if you need to take time to get the vaccine or manage side effects during regularly-scheduled work hours:

  • Time off for a COVID vaccination during work hours does not require the use of PTO for up to 4 hours per dose, pro-rated based on regularly-scheduled hours, for union-represented staff. Employees may also request MA COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave for COVID vaccination.
  • Exempt employees will be provided with flexibility in order to receive the vaccine. Employees may also request MA COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave for COVID vaccination.
  • Staff who have previously used sick time in order to get their COVID vaccine can request a reversal of that used sick time of up to 4 hours per dose, pro-rated based on regularly-scheduled work hours.
  • Union-represented employees should report the time used for a vaccine appointment during work hours as Excused Absence (EA) - Other. HR and managers should also use EA - Other when reversing any previously-taken sick time for a vaccination.
  • All employees who need to take time off to manage the side effects of a vaccine should use sick time. MA COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave is also available to manage vaccination side effects.
  • Please notify your manager to request time off for a vaccination appointment, request a reversal of previously used sick time to receive the vaccine, or request sick time for any reaction following vaccination.

Additional vaccine information can be found here.

Updated 12/16/2021