Employees will be expected to utilize their own accrued leave balances to cover any absences from work due to a COVID-19-related reason. In certain circumstances, an employee may qualify for FMLA due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, and subsequently request Paid Family Leave.
While not a state or federal requirement, the County re-implemented HR-46 (Pandemic Leave) in December 2021 during the COVID-19 surge of the Omicron variant in order to provide leave for fully vaccinated employees who were required to quarantine due to exposure or isolate due to infection. Effective April 1, 2022, pandemic leave will no longer be available for employees to utilize.
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Employees who are notified that they are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual are required to report the exposure to their Department Supervisor and are no longer required to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. These individuals must wear a face covering in the workplace around others for 10 full days following the date of close contact. If the close contact is a household member, the face covering must be worn for 10 days after the household member has been released from isolation (because exposure is considered ongoing within the house).
The County follows CDC guidance with respect to face coverings. Aside from above, face coverings are not required for any employee except in healthcare settings. Employees are permitted to voluntarily wear a face covering.
The table at the link below was developed in consultation with the Loudoun County Health Department. The table provides potential scenarios an employee can use to evaluate what steps they should take if they come in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19. For questions related to the use of paid leave, please refer to question #3 below.
The County is operating under its normal policies and procedures governing the use of sick leave and teleworking while sick. Employees and supervisors should follow the relevant policies and their department’s normal protocols. Generally, if an employee is feeling sick or displaying cold or flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, coughing, body aches, shortness of breath, etc., the employee should stay home, refrain from teleworking, and use accrued sick leave or other available accrued paid leave to cover their time out of the office.
The chart above is intended to be a summary of relevant County policies and is not intended to include every possible scenario or policy requirement. Links to relevant County policies can be found below. However, where the policy is inconsistent with guidance provided in this FAQ, please follow the guidance detailed in this FAQ. In addition to the County’s Human Resources policies and procedures, employees must follow their specific department’s procedures and protocols regarding requesting leave and telework.
Employees who are sick should stay home and use accrued paid leave to cover their time away from the office. Supervisors and managers have the discretion to send home an employee who reports to work sick or who is displaying cold or flu symptoms (such as fever, chills, coughing, body aches, shortness of breath, etc.). Please note, merely experiencing these symptoms does not mean that an employee has COVID-19; it only means that the employee is sick and should go home. Supervisors and managers who intend to send an employee home should speak with the employee privately and should not discuss with other employees that the employee was sent home or why. The employee should follow the guidance of their healthcare practitioner and/or COVID-19 EMERGENCY STANDARD-01(PDF) as to when to return to work.
Managers do not have the authority to unilaterally require an employee to provide a doctor’s note “clearing” the employee to return to work. The request for a medical note must be coordinated through the Department of Human Resources, Employee Relations Division. Return to work certifications are typically required of employees who are on approved Family Medical Leave or Workers’ Compensation, employees who are subject to the County’s Fitness for Duty process, and employees who are on leave as a reasonable accommodation.
Employees should follow the guidance of their healthcare practitioner as to when they are well enough to return to work. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
Employees who have concerns about health issues in the workplace should report these concerns to their immediate supervisor, a department manager, or the Department of Human Resources. Employees should not confront other employees with regard to their health status or the health status of a family member. Supervisors and managers who receive reports of such concerns should call the Department of Human Resources, Employee Relations Division, to seek guidance.
If an employee becomes seriously ill and exhausts all paid leave accruals, the employee should contact the Department of Human Resources, Benefits Division, at 703-777-0213 to discuss possible eligibility for short-term disability and/or donated leave. Approvals of short-term disability and donated leave will be subject to existing eligibility requirements and restrictions. Information related to short-term disability and donated leave can be found here:
Employees suffering from an illness of ordinary life, such as a cold or flu virus, should not be required or allowed to work from home in lieu of taking sick or other accrued paid leave. However, as noted in the chart above, an asymptomatic employee who has been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual will be required to work from home until the self-quarantine period ends or until the employee becomes ill. If the employee becomes ill, the employee must advise management of their illness, at which point the requirement to telework will end and the employee must utilize their accrued paid leave.
It depends. Family Medical Leave is federally mandated, unpaid, job protected leave that covers a period of incapacitation due to a “serious health condition.” Generally, minor ailments such as the cold and flu are not considered serious health conditions that are covered by Family Medical Leave. However, depending on factors such as the length of absence needed to recover, the number of visits or treatments required by the healthcare practitioner, the need for an overnight stay in the hospital, and/or any health complications that may arise, an employee with who is diagnosed with COVID-19 may qualify for Family Medical Leave. An employee with COVID-19 should contact the Department Human Resources, Benefits Division, at 703-777-0213 to discuss possible eligibility for Family Medical Leave. Employees can apply for Family Medical Leave through FMLA Source, the County’s Family Medical Leave vendor. To determine eligibility, FMLA Source will request a medical certification from the employee’s healthcare practitioner with information relevant to the employee’s specific situation.
More information on FMLA policies is available on the employee intranet or HR Liaison (PDF).
If there is reason to believe that the employee’s illness arose out of their employment and was contracted in the course of performing their duties, such as a healthcare worker or first responder who provided care to a patient with the COVID-19 virus, the employee must file a workers’ compensation claim and the claim will be forwarded to SmartCasualtyClaims, the County’s third-party administrator, for a compensability determination. Paid leave for an employee who has filed a workers’ compensation claim related to COVID-19 must be coordinated by department management through the Risk Management Section of the Department of Human Resources.
The normal sick leave policy and procedures apply for employees caring for an immediate family member. The employee would need to follow their department’s normal procedure for requesting sick leave and the use of such leave is subject to applicable County policies. Employees may be eligible to utilize Family Medical Leave, if the employee’s spouse, child, or parent’s (not in-law) illness meets the definition for a serious health condition. The employee should contact the Department of Human Resources, Benefits Division, at 703-777-0213 for more information on the use of Family Medical Leave to care for a family member.
In accordance with policy, telework requires approval of the department director. Per TELEWK-01, “Telework is not a substitute for routine childcare or other dependent care responsibilities. If a child or dependent is regularly or frequently present during scheduled work hours, the employee agrees to make arrangements for the care and supervision of that child or dependent as appropriate. Occasionally, supervisors may approve infrequent or limited instances of care for a child or dependent while teleworking. Such approval shall be based on business need as determined by the supervisor.”
Employees covered by the County’s medical insurance plan have access to Cigna’s Virtual Care services 24/7/365 days of the year, including holidays and weekends. Virtual care services can be used in place of seeing a physician in-person for minor medical conditions and costs less than emergency room or urgent care visits. Virtual care services can be a good option when you need to limit exposure to the public and for reserving emergency rooms for true emergencies. All virtual care visits are with board-certified physicians. Covered employees should take the time now to register for virtual care services prior to using the service. Register for Cigna’s virtual care network MDLive in any one of the following ways:
The employee or covered dependent must provide their name, gender, date of birth, email and Cigna ID# to register and create an account. You will also be asked to provide some medical history including drug allergies and a form of payment (such as a credit card). For individuals enrolled in the OAP or POS plans, an office visit copay will be charged at time of visit. For individuals enrolled in the HRA or HSA plan, the discounted cost of the visit will be applied to the deductible until satisfied.
The County offers resources available to employees and members of their household who may need emotional support. Call Lytle EAP at 800-327-7272 or visit mylifeexpert.com, click “Work/Life Website Login,” and then create a new account with the company code “lcgovt” for access to online resources. Counselors are able to assist 24 hours a day. Employees and members of their household are provided up to six (6) confidential counseling sessions (public safety employees are provided up to eight (8) confidential counseling sessions). This benefit is available to all regular employees and long-term temporary employees who work longer than 90 days.
Employees who are covered under the Cigna medical plan who have exhausted their counseling sessions with Lytle or who wish to seek counseling directly through Cigna’s network may utilize Cigna’s behavioral health services to receive three (3) face-to-face counseling sessions at no cost. If additional counseling sessions are needed, continuation of services may occur at the normal copay for OAP/POS plans or applicable coinsurance for the HRA/HSA plans after the deductible has been met.
To access services visit myCigna.com, Review My Coverage, Employee Assistance Program. You can call 877.231.1492 for referrals or go online, search the provider directory and obtain an authorization. You can also call Cigna customer service at 800.244.6224. If there isn’t a number on your card, call Cigna Behavioral Health at 800.274.7603.
Any employee who may need a COVID-19 test should seek a test through any test provider in the community, such as doctor’s offices and pharmacies. The cost of a COVID-19 test will continue to be covered under the county’s Cigna healthcare plan for covered employees and their dependents until at least September, when some COVID-19-related polices are expected to expire along with the local declaration of a state of emergency..
On December 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement with updated recommendations for the length of isolation and quarantine periods for the general population. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) adopted the CDC’s updated recommendations on December 29, 2021. As a result, the County is adopted the updated recommendations and Administrative Policy and Procedure COV-EM-STD-01 (PDF) and Attachment B (PDF) scenarios matrix have been amended to reflect the changes.
Asymptomatic individuals who have been identified as a close contact of a known COVID-19 positive individual (with the exception of employees donning appropriate personal protective equipment in the course of their job duties) must quarantine for a minimum of 5 days if unvaccinated OR if fully vaccinated and it has been more than six months since receipt of the second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (two months for Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and the employee has not yet received a booster dose. If asymptomatic at the end of day 5, the employee must continue to wear a mask around others, in compliance with HR-47, for an additional 5 days.
Close contact is defined as being within six feet of a COVID-19 positive person for a cumulative period of at least 15 minutes over a 24 hour period. Learn more about when to quarantine on the CDC’s website.The County’s general requirements for the mandatory reporting of COVID-19 in the workplace and procedures (PDF) for returning to work following illness or known or possible exposure to COVID-19 remain unchanged. These details are posted on the Employee Intranet, under COVID-19 Emergency Standards.Please feel free to email Employee Relations Manager Geneva Douglas or HR Risk Manager Rebekah Bofinger should you have any questions regarding these policies.
Loudoun County has followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal and state agencies in regards to the maintenance of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in county facilities to increase the ventilation rate of outdoor air to the maximum that the HVAC equipment can maintain space temperature. The county has increased the ventilation rates as the primary driver of combating airborne transmission by way of dilution of recirculated air. The county has also installed more efficient air filters in some equipment to help reduce airborne contaminants.
If you have a question related to the specific operations of your department, your best resource for information would be your Department Director, supervisor, or other member of management within your department. For Human Resources related questions, you are free to call the Department of Human Resources’ main number, 703-777-0213, between normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). You will be routed to the appropriate staff member to best assist you.