Emergency Excused Absence

Please read this information carefully as it addresses most anticipated questions. For advice on exceptional or complex situations, please consult your local HR office. 

This temporary benefit may be used to help sustain pay and benefits for an eligible Harvard employee if their work cannot be performed due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. In order to be paid for an Emergency Excused Absence, the employee:

  • must be well and available to work and must return to on-campus work if called upon to do so;
    • Note: If an employee is called back to work and does not report, they will not be paid for an emergency excused absence. They may consult with local HR to determine if they have other options, such as the use of paid time off or taking an unpaid leave.
  • is in a department/function/program that is operating remotely, but is not in a job that can be performed remotely;
  • is in a department/function/program that has been shut down, curtailed, postponed or cancelled, i.e., there is no available work to do, or less available work than normal, in their regular job;
  • is not actively caring for dependents or household members (either dependent care sick time or dependent well care should be used for these purposes).

In a given week, an employee may do some work on campus or remotely, take some paid time off, and use an Excused Absence. This temporary benefit can supplement pay for an employee who is involuntarily idled due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, up to the employee's originally planned termination date or appointment end date, as follows:

  • Until January 23, 2021, an Emergency Excused Absence may be used to sustain up to 100% of regular pay.
  • Beginning on January 24, 2021, an Emergency Excused Absence may be used to sustain up to 70% of regular pay. 

For more details, review this information on how to report time and absences using Excused Absence and the updated Excused Absence Policy.

A second use of an emergency excused absence is to care for dependents (immediate family or household members) who are well, but who've had their schooling or care arrangements disrupted. Use an emergency excused absence (with a reason of Dependent Well Care) to sustain pay while caring for well dependents with disrupted schooling or care arrangements. Full-time employees may use up to 10 paid days, if needed, between January 1 and June 30, 2021. Unused well dependent care days may not be carried forward from 2020 to 2021. Eligible part-time employees may use a prorated benefit. 

Here is a quick summary of how to report time worked, sick time and Emergency Excused Absences in PeopleSoft.

Who is Eligible?

Members of Harvard’s core administrative staff are eligible for this benefit, including:

  • Service and Trades (Empl_Class L or U)
  • Support Staff (Empl_Class S)
  • Administrative/Professional (Empl_Class A)
  • "LHT” Contingent Employees: (Empl_Class T, Job Codes 710010 and 710020 only) – only until January 23, 2021 in most cases, as described below.
    • Until January 23, 2020, the maximum benefit each week is the employee’s standard hours, or their average hours during the early, pre-pandemic months of 2020. 
    • Beginning January 24, 2020, Harvard LHTs will, in general, be ineligible to use an emergency excused absence to sustain pay. This may continue, rarely and on an exception basis, if operationally necessary for a school or unit.

Non-student temporary staff (those in Empl_Class T, excluding LHTs and Interns in Empl_Class E) will be paid for time worked, reported and approved. They are not eligible for a paid Excused Absence.

See the Financial Matters for Students FAQs for more information about financial support available for students who are unable to work remotely.

Updated:  1/6/21