Public Health Emergency Leave guidelines for Virginia Tech employees

From: Human Resources

Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL), which is a benefit activated by Gov. Ralph Northam for state employees as a result of the impact of COVID-19, is available to Virginia Tech full- and part-time faculty and staff, and many wage employees who are impacted by the virus. See below for additional information on employees who are eligible for this benefit.

PHEL may be used by an employee in the event an employee becomes sick with COVID-19, must self-quarantine, or take care of a family member who becomes sick with COVID-19. PHEL may also be used if an employee has chronic health conditions or is aged 65 or older and there are no alternative flexible work options to maintain social distancing.

Employees will need to provide documentation to their manager to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis or potential exposure, or for the reasons outlined above. Documentation can include a note from a healthcare provider or public health agency, or documents showing recent travel to heavily impacted areas as outlined by the CDC. The employee’s department should maintain this documentation per University Policy No. 2000: Management of University Records. Employees should work with their supervisor to confirm eligibility for PHEL.

An employee who accesses PHEL will receive up to 80 hours of leave on a prorated basis, based on the average number of hours they work. Please note the following:

  • PHEL is a one-time grant of leave time for employees impacted by COVID-19. This leave bank will not replenish.
  • Once an employee uses all PHEL leave, additional hours of absence must be covered using existing leave.
  • PHEL will expire when the current emergency ends or if an employee leaves Virginia Tech.
  • PHEL will not be paid out if an employee leaves Virginia Tech or in any other situation, and cannot be used to extend an employee’s termination date with Virginia Tech.  

Full-time and part-time benefitted faculty and staff will record PHEL in the Leave and Time Worked Reporting System using the PHEL code. Prior to the April 10 due date for Period 3 leave reports, employees will see the total amount of PHEL available to them in the system. If an employee works part-time, the leave will be prorated based on the average number of hours they work.

Adjunct faculty, wage, and student wage employees (see list below for additional information on employees who are eligible for this benefit) should contact their manager or the HR Leave Team at to determine eligibility for PHEL. Hours for these employees will be entered directly in the university’s HR record system, Banner by the HR Leave Team.

In addition to these PHEL guidelines, the Commonwealth of Virginia is researching the Family First Act provisions and the impact to state employees. Additional information will be provided in the near future.

If managers or employees have additional questions about PHEL, contact the HR Service Center at or 540-231-9331.

Employees are reminded that if you experience fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath, or you come into contact with someone else who has these symptoms, it is important that you contact your physician, self-quarantine, and notify your supervisor as soon as possible. Please be aware that the New River Health District COVID-19 hotline at 540-267-8240 is available to address your health concerns and provide guidance.


NOTE: Public Health Emergency Leave is available to the following employee classifications:

  • Full- and part-time staff
  • Full- and part-time faculty
  • Adjunct faculty through the duration of the current appointment
  • 1,500 hour wage employees  
  • In a limited capacity, student wage employees, excluding:
    • Student employees who are not in proximity to their primary work location and not available to work
    • Student employees in federal work-study (FWS) positions. FWS positions are covered by a separate provision.