OU Human Resources sent an email to all faculty and staff outlining new processes for submitting PTO requests during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The email reads that summer is an important time for vacation for many employees, and university administrators support taking time off. However, the spread of COVID-19 has meant more care and planning for managers when approving time-off requests, and “staffing levels need to be managing carefully to ensure operations can remain at the appropriate levels.”
According to the email, employees must complete the online COVID-19 Screening and Reporting tool and receive clearance to return to work after activities like travel.
If employees travel, they must be prepared to remain off-campus and away from activities on- or off-campus for up to 14 days after they return. Employees that plan to travel must “ensure they have enough PTO to cover any self-isolation time required away from campus and from on- or off-campus events, in the event they are not able to telecommute, as determined by their manager.”
If an employee can’t telecommute and doesn’t have enough PTO to cover self-isolation time, they will be placed on leave-without-pay status until OU Employee Health clears them to return to campus.
Employees should discuss potential travel plans with their managers before requesting PTO, according to the email, and managers may ask if requested PTO includes travel inside or outside of Oklahoma. This won’t mean the request will be denied, but managers may ask that employees be flexible in scheduling leave, as they have to plan for self-isolation time plus the requested PTO.
PTO requests will be handled on a first-come-first-served basis, according to the email. OU Human Resources recommends that employees not purchase non-refundable or non-changeable items, like hotel rooms or transportation tickets, until their request is approved.
The State of Oklahoma’s reopening plan doesn’t affect the potential need to self-isolate away from campus or from activities on- or off-campus, according to the email. OU is regularly evaluating measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, and these measures may be revised prior to an employee’s scheduled PTO.
Current travel guidelines for the university can be found on OU’s website.