COVID-19 Related FMLA Expansion

In accordance with SYS 1200-Interim 03, FMLA Expansion, additional paid family and medical leave for a qualifying need related to a public health emergency is provided.  It also expands the eligibility criteria for this specific type of Emergency Family and Medical Leave in compliance with the provision of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020.

Employees who have worked in the 30 days prior to claiming leave and have a qualifying need related to a public health emergency are eligible for this expanded FMLA.  A qualifying need related to a public health emergency means the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need for leave to care for their son or daughter under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.

Employees with a qualifying need related to a public health emergency may take up to twelve (12) weeks of Public Health Emergency Leave subject to supervisory approval and the following provisions: 

    • The first ten (10) days of leave are unpaid
      • If the employee has sufficient accrued vacation, personal or sick leave, then the employee may elect to utilize any of these paid leave options to remain in paid status during these initial ten days.  An employee may also elect to use COVID-19 leave during this period, pursuant to SYS 1200-Iterim 02, COVID-19 Leave Policy.
    • After the first ten (10) days, the remainder of the leave is paid at 2/3 (66.67%) of the employee’s normal pay, or $200/day, whichever is less.
      • An employee may use any available paid leave during this period to remain at 100% of the employee’s normal pay.
  1. The expanded FMLA is not provided in addition to current FMLA provisions. The total time available to an employee for any combination of FMLA leave and Public Health Emergency Leave is twelve (12) week.  In order to be in compliance with the expanded FMLA provisions, the Office of Human Resources is requesting that all employees who are unable to work (or telework) due to childcare reasons related to COVID-19 reach out directly to or 920-465-2390.

Please see the COVID-19 Leave & FMLA Expansion – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information.


Updated COVID-19 Leave Policy & Reporting COVID-19 Leave

In a recent update to SYS 1200-Interim 02, COVID-19 Leave Policy, up to 272 hours of COVID-19 leave (prorated by % FTE) may be made available to employees who cannot perform their assigned duties due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the period of March 16, 2020 (3/16/20) through May 1, 2020 (5/1/20). This emergency policy implements leave provisions and workplace flexibility options to prioritize the health and safety of the UW System community and provide additional leave for certain UW System employees to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic if employees cannot work. This leave category expires on May 1, 2020 (5/1/2020).

Reporting COVID-19 Leave

Biweekly employees will record COVID-19 leave on their timesheet in the MY UW Portal in the same manner as other eligible leave types.  A new Time Reporting Code of EMRGY – COVID Emergency Leave will be available to select under the Time/Absence Code Field.  Employees should indicate the reason for COVID-19 Leave (illness, unable to work remotely, childcare, etc.) in the Comments field on the timesheet.  Please see the Tipsheet for additional details. 

Monthly employees will record COVID-19 leave by utilizing the March COVID-19 Leave Report and/or the April COVID-19 Leave Report.  The COVID-19 Leave Reports shoud be completed and sent via email to supervisor for approval  (  The payroll and benefits team will process once all approvals have been received.

Please see the updated COVID-19 Leave & FMLA Expansion – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for information about eligibility, reporting requirements, and other details.


Special EAP Webinar: Building Resilience – Navigating the Anxiety and Stress of COVID-19

We are in the midst of unprecedented times when we’re continually reminder of the global threat of COVID-19

This continuous news cycle can cause anxiety and worry about what will happen to our family, our community, our workplace.

We may feel a lack of control or helpless in the face of the unknown and the uncertainties of what this will mean.

To help you understand the impact of this stress and uncertainty on our brains, FEI is presenting a webinar where we’ll provide tips on how to:

      • Avoid becoming overwhelmed
      • Be resilient despite the distances between us
      • Find our best selves in times like these







Benefits Resources during COVID-19

Many UW System employees and their families are working through change to their daily routines due to COVID-19. Watch these brief videos to help you understand why this change is necessary:

  • This 90 second video explains the curve of the healthcare system and how you may contribute to flattening it out simply by doing your part.
  • If you are able to work from home, keep in mind these top five tips for working from home.

If you are covered by the State Group Health Insurance Program, you may have questions on if or how your doctor’s visit will be covered if you or a covered dependent shows symptoms of COVID-19. To answer your questions regarding testing, telehealth, biometric screening cancellations and more, visit the Department of Employee Trust Fund’s (ETF) COVID-19 webpage. ETF’s webpage includes information about using telehealth and nurse line services as an alternative to an office visit.

If you are enrolled in the Dependent Day Care Account and have experienced a change in the cost of your day care provider (e.g. your day care has closed), you may be able to decrease your contribution amount. Per IRS guidelines, changes due to qualifying life events must be made within 30 days. To make a change, submit a change form to your human resources office.

Finally, we realize that the current situation may cause stress and worry for you and your family. Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to UW System employees, their spouses or significant others, and their dependents. Services available may include a consultation on legal or financial concerns or help with how to handle an unexpected day care situation (e.g., child day care or adult/elder care). Visit the EAP webpage for more information.

Source: UW System Human Resources


State Group Life Insurance Annual Premium Update

Each year, State Group Life Insurance premiums are updated on April 1. For University Staff and Academic Staff non-exempt employees (paid bi-weekly), the premium update will be reflected on the April 9, 2020 paycheck. For Faculty/Academic Staff/Limited Appointees (paid monthly), the premium update will be reflected on the April 1, 2020 paycheck.

Current enrollees in the State Group Life insurance program can review their updated premiums at: State Group Life Premium Notice. Current enrollees were sent an email March 13 with a link to this customized web page.

State Group Life Insurance premium and coverage levels are based on:

    • An employee’s highest calendar year of eligible earnings
    • An employee’s age as of April 1 each year
    • The coverage level the employee has elected

Employees who have changed age categories, or have had a salary change since April 1, 2019, will have a premium change effective April 1, 2020.

Premium Increase
Effective April 1, 2020, in addition to the annual premium update, State Group Life Insurance premiums will increase for most age categories. Premiums for spouse and dependent coverage will decrease slightly. Review the 2020 State Group Life Insurance premiums.

The UW System contributes towards a portion of the cost of your State Group Life Basic and Supplemental Insurance coverage. You pay the full cost of Additional, Spouse and Dependent coverage.

The benefit premium changes were approved by the Group Insurance Board which oversees the administration of the State Group Life Insurance program.

For general information about the State Group Life insurance plan, visit the State Group Life Insurance plan page or visit ALEX. If you have questions about the premium update or increase, contact Human Resources at (920) 465-2390 or

Source: UW System Human Resources

New W-4 Form Designed to Better Estimate Accurate Tax Withholding

In December 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a new Form W-4 designed to help employees better estimate accurate tax withholding throughout the year. Too little tax withheld can result in a tax bill when taxes are filed. Too much tax withheld means you will receive a tax refund, and your money will not be available to spend or invest until your tax refund is received.

Online Self-Service Form W-4

To facilitate the completion of the new Form W-4, the UW now offers an online self-service Form W-4. Completion of this new form is not required, but all employees are encouraged to review the new form and their individual tax situation.

To access the new form, log into the MyUW portal for UW System institutions or for UW-Madison. In the Payroll Information tile, click on the Update W-4 button.

The Update Federal and/or State Form W-4 tip sheet is a resource available to help you use self-service to complete Form W-4.

How do I Determine How Much Tax I Should Have Withheld?

The Tax Withholding Estimator is a tool on the IRS website designed to help you determine how to have the correct amount of tax withheld from your paychecks so you don’t have too much or too little federal income tax withheld.

Before you use the tax withholding estimator:

  • Gather the most recent earnings statements for yourself, and if you are married filing jointly, for your spouse.
  • Gather information for other sources of income.
  • Have your most recent income tax return available.
  • Use whole dollar amounts in the estimator.

Keep in mind that the tax withholding estimator’s results will only be as accurate as the information you enter. If you have questions about the new Form W-4 or the available resources, please contact your Payroll office. Please note that the UW is not authorized to provide tax advice.

Source: UW-Shared Services, Service Operations

Using Telemedicine For Medical Care When You Need It Fast

Would you like the ability to seek basic medical care from the comfort of your own home?
If so, the telemedicine services in the State Group Health Insurance Program may allow you to do so.  Take these steps to get you started:

What is telemedicine/telehealth (used interchangeably)?
The remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of electronic communication. This means that for non-urgent medical care, you may be able to access care through video chat or a virtual house call. Through telemedicine, a doctor may be able to recommend treatment, prescribe medication, refer you to a specialist or tell you, based on your symptoms, if you should see a doctor in-person.
Note: These services vary among insurance carriers in the State Group Health Insurance Program.

Why should you consider telemedicine services?
You may receive care quicker and it may be more convenient than going to your doctor’s office or to urgent care. They are also typically less expensive than an office visit or urgent care visit.

How will your telemedicine service be covered by your State Group Health Insurance?
This will depend on which plan design you are enrolled in.

  • Health Plan: Telemedicine services are covered at 100%.
  • High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP): Telemedicine services are covered at 100% after you meet your deductible. This is necessary to comply with Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility requirements as well as coverage mandates per the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

How can you obtain additional information regarding telemedicine services?
Generally, health plans offer telemedicine services through their online portals and/or through a mobile app. If you’re unable to find telemedicine information through your health insurance plan online portal, contact your health plan directly by calling the toll-free number on your health insurance ID card.

Source: UW System Human Resources