To: WRA Staff
From: Rick Trilsch, VP of Finance and Administration
Date: May 19, 2023
Re: WRA COVID-19 Policies & Guidance End on June 8, 2023
THE PAST THREE YEARS
Since the start of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic the leadership of Western Resource Advocates has taken measures to protect our employees and adjust our policies as the worst of the pandemic moved to the rearview mirror. First and foremost, we wanted to maintain a safe workplace and healthy employees and encourage and/or adopt practices that protected the health of our staff and interns, their families, our partners, and our communities. We also wanted to ensure the continuity of our important work fighting climate change.
At various times over the last three years these measures have included mandates such as working from home, wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, and moving to virtual staff retreats for two of those years. As vaccines became available and infection rates declined, we lifted all of those mandates and made adjustments to our other COVID polices.
Additionally, during the pandemic, the state of Colorado put in place regulations that employers make available up to 80 hours of additional COVID-related leave to full-time employees (pro-rated for part-time employees), as long as a federal or state public health emergency has been declared because of COVID-19. Colorado was the only state in our region that created a rule for employers to provide additional leave, if requested by an employee, for COVID-related absences. While the rule only applied to WRA’s employees living and working in Colorado, we followed the state of Colorado guidance for all of our employees across the region.
WRA COVID-19 POLICIES & GUIDANCE ENDING
As you may have seen, the federal COVID public health emergency came to an end on May 11, 2023, and on April 27, 2023, so did the state emergency in Colorado. All states in our region have now ended their COVID public health emergency declarations. On June 8, 2023, Colorado’s rule for additional COVID-related leave for employees comes to an end. On that day WRA will also end providing additional COVID-related leave for all of our employees.
On June 8, 2023, WRA will also be ending any other remaining COVID policies and guidance that we have put in place.
Note that our current remote/hybrid/work policies will not change. In April of last year, we started allowing most of our employees to continue to work remotely in our seven-state region, from a WRA office, or a hybrid of the two – regardless of the pandemic. Requirements to work from a WRA office or in a specific location are made based on the needs of the job description and/or needs of their WRA department.
COVID IS STILL WITH US
The expiration of WRA’s COVID policies and guidance does not mean that COVID has stopped being a concern and we recommend that everyone continue to take appropriate steps to stay healthy. Such as:
- Get COVID and flu vaccines and recommended boosters.
- Stay home and do not come into a WRA office if you are sick, have a fever, or feel that you may be getting ill. This is a requirement and not a suggestion.
- Take a COVID test if you experience any symptoms.
- Wear a mask as needed.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your face (your eyes, nose and mouth) with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and practice “physical distancing” when necessary.
- Cough or sneeze into your inner elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Continue the other healthy habits we started like pushing elevator buttons with a knuckle or elbow instead of a fingertip.
SICK LEAVE POLICY & SICK LEAVE BANK
While WRA’s COVID related leave will be ending on June 8, 2023, our regular sick leave policy will remain. A reminder about WRA’s sick leave policy: All full-time staff accrue sick leave at the rate of one day per month. It is pro-rated for part-time staff based on the number of hours worked. Sick leave may be accrued to a maximum of 40 days. Employees may use sick leave to care for themselves and their immediate family members (defined as an employee’s spouse/domestic partner, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and stepchild). Staff can track their accrued sick leave in ADP; please see Ella or Katherine if you need assistance.
WRA also has a sick leave bank to help employees who encounter significant health problems and who may not have sick leave available. Any employee can donate accrued but unused sick leave to the WRA sick leave bank. Please contact Meagan if you would like to donate sick leave or request use of the sick leave bank.
Again, while our COVID-related polices and guidance are ending, we hope all of our employees will work to keep WRA a safe and healthy place to work. Please see me or Meagan if you have any questions.