October 3, 2023

Policy Update: Public Health Emergency Leave

Dear UMW Faculty and Staff,

The Virginia Department of Human Resource Management has modified the Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) policy regarding approved use of PHEL and new documentation requirements. The changes are highlighted below and you may view the entire updated policy here:

Criteria for using PHEL:

  • PHEL may be used to attend to an employee’s own illness due to a confirmed positive test for COVID-19. The employee’s return to the workplace must comply with UMW’s protocols.
  • PHEL may be used to care for an immediate family member in the same household who has contracted COVID-19 through a confirmed positive test.
  • Up to 8 hours of PHEL may be used to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine and/or recover from side-effects resulting from obtaining the vaccine.
  • Once the allotment of PHEL is used, employees may use appropriate and available leave balances (Traditional or VSDP Sick Leave, Family-Personal Leave, Annual Leave, Compensatory Leave, Overtime Leave, Recognition Leave) or Leave without Pay

Additional information:

  • Medical documentation is required to access PHEL leave. Medical documentation of a positive test should be submitted to Denise Frye, Benefits Manager  (dfrye2@umw.edu).
  • Employees who are positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic may telework for the isolation period, provided the position’s duties are suited for telework.

It is important to note that PHEL may not be used due to COVID-19 exposure (quarantine).

Unvaccinated individuals who are identified as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine for a period of fourteen days.

Vaccinated individuals who are identified as a close contact do not need to quarantine unless they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. In that case, the individuals should get tested immediately and quarantine until they receive a negative result.

As a reminder, details regarding UMW’s COVID protocols are available in the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.


Thank you,

Beth Williams
Executive Director for Human Resources
University of Mary Washington
(540) 654-1294