Update on COVID-19 and Sandia Impacts
Email from Sandia National Labs, Employee & Labor Relations Specialist, to OPEIU Local 251 President:
Good Morning. I want to connect on the message below and how this impacts leave benefits for OPEIU represented employees.
As you know, per our side agreement on leave benefits in the CBA, the agreement specifically lists out the eligible reasons to take Personal Absence. Care of an ill family member (TRC 430 – Incidental Family Care) is among the current eligible reasons for Personal Absence hours. In addition, Paid Family Leave (TRC 423 – Paid Family Leave 70%) is utilization of one’s own personal sickness absence to care for a family member(s) with an Family Medical Leave (FMLA) qualifying event (family member and qualifying even as defined by the Family Medical Act, and under Article 27, Paragraph 5).
Specifically in response to the State of New Mexico’s temporary mandate for school closures due to the current COVID-19 situation, when telecommuting and flexible work schedules are not an option for OPEIU represented employees impacted by the unexpected closures, we have elected to temporarily expand the use of Personal Absence (TRC 430 – Incidental Family Care) to include care for a family member due to a school or daycare closure. In addition, the use of Paid Family Leave (TRC 423 – Paid Family Leave 70%) at 70% of pay is temporarily expanded to include care for a family member if schools or daycare facilities are closed. By Sandia policy, the Paid Family Leave benefit can be supplemented with vacation or vacation buy (if available) to reach 100% of pay.
Given this is an unusual and temporary situation and OPEIU is close enough to having a “me too” on these benefits, I will NOT at this time be requesting that we negotiate over the temporary addition of this eligible reason for Personal Absence (Incidental Family Care), or Paid Family Leave. Instead, we have elected to provide OPEIU represented employees the same temporarily expanded benefits that I’ve noted above (and noted below) because what OPEIU currently has in the way of these benefits is essentially the same as the non-represented population, and our Management team believes that this this is the right thing to do at this time.
Please note, for Personal Absence, this is NOT 40 NEW hours, rather it decrements out of their existing 40 hour limit for the year.
And again, this expansion of the benefit is only temporary specifically in response to the COVID-19 situation and the current state mandate. The temporary changes to Incidental Family Care and Paid Family Leave will be effective March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020.