University of Wisconsin–Madison

Reasonable Accommodations and Workplace Flexibilities Related to COVID-19

Employees may feel uncertain about returning to work on-site because of COVID-19 related issues. This information provides an overview of what to do if you have COVID-19 related concerns due to age; underlying medical condition/disability; pregnancy or breastfeeding; caring for a child; caring for a family member; or feeling unsafe in the workplace.

Every employee concern will be individually evaluated based on duties, the work environment and work needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I feel uncertain about returning to on-site work because of COVID-19 related issues. How will my situation be handled?

    If you have concerns or questions about returning to onsite work that are not related to your own medical condition/disability, you are encouraged to first discuss these with your supervisor or manager. You may also contact the human resources department at your school, college, or division to discuss questions that are not about your own disability.

    If the concern is related to your own medical condition/disability, you should contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) directly.

    Updated August 6, 2021

  • My concern about returning to on-site work is medically related or disability related.

    Your concern could be a possible reasonable accommodation request. Contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR). Your divisional HR contact or supervisor will ask you to contact your DDR with your concern and can also provide you with contact information for your area’s DDR. To find your DDR, visit employeedisabilities.wisc.edu/divisional-disability-representatives-ddr.

    The DDR will work with you to identify your primary concerns. Some requests may have simple solutions that can be resolved quickly. Other requests may need to be evaluated in more detail. Your DDR will work with you to learn about your needs, job duties, work environment, workplace needs, safety concerns, and possible modifications, alternatives or solutions.

    DDRs are trained and experienced HR professionals who have specialized training in medical or disability-related issues and who are authorized to request, receive, and maintain confidential medical information and records on behalf of units in their divisions.

    Updated August 6, 2021

  • My concern about returning to work is not medically related or disability related; rather, it is due to feeling unsafe in the workplace or another non-medical reason. How will my situation be handled?

    If you have concerns or questions about returning to onsite work that are not medically related or disability-related, you are encouraged to first discuss these concerns or questions with your supervisor or manager. You may also contact the human resources department at your school, college, or division to discuss questions and concerns.

    The university will work with you to understand your concerns and identify possible options to consider based on your duties, work environment, and workplace needs.

    Updated August 6, 2021

  • Can I apply for an accommodation to be excused from the testing requirement?

    You may contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) for concerns or questions related to a disability or underlying medical condition. For concerns or questions unrelated to a disability or medical condition, you may contact the human resources department at your school, college, or division to discuss questions and concerns.

  • Does UW–Madison offer specialized support for employees with medical or disability concerns?

    Yes. Employees have access to the Employee Disabilities Resources (EDR) Office. This office serves as the centralized information source for workplace accommodations at UW–Madison.

    The EDR Office partners with Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs), experienced and trained human resources professionals who specialize in dealing with medically related and disability related issues and medical leave.

    DDRs receive accommodation requests from employees and assist managers, supervisors, and employees in responding to disability matters in a way that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and considers individual situations.

    Only DDRs are authorized to request, receive, and maintain medical information and records on behalf of their divisions. Information shared with your DDR is kept confidential. You are not required to disclose the medical need for an accommodation to your immediate supervisor.

    You can learn more about employee disability resources at employeedisabilities.wisc.edu.

  • Where can I learn more about disability resources for UW–Madison employees?

    The university has a website dedicated to employee disability resources at employeedisabilities.wisc.edu.

  • What are my leave options if I am unable to work or work remotely due to reasons related to COVID-19?

    The University of Wisconsin–Madison provides a variety of potential leave options to employees when they are unable to work or telework (work remotely) for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    For Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, or University Staff, the leave options an employee may qualify for are based on a number of factors, including the eligibility requirements for each program, their employment category, the pay basis for their appointment, the reason they are unable to work and are requesting leave, prior leave they have used or taken, and staffing needs of the operational unit. Some leave options require approval from the work unit or supervisor.

    The reason for leave may require the available leave programs to be applied in a specific order or may allow for a combination of leave programs to apply at the same time.

    Please refer to “What are Your Leave Options for Leave Related to COVID-19?” for an overview of leave options for Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, and University Staff.

  • What are my options if I am unable to work due to reasons related to childcare?

    An employee may be unable to work because they need to provide care to their child(ren), and their school/summer program/daycare center is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. Or, they may be unable to work because their child(ren) has cold symptoms or other symptoms of illness and are not permitted to attend their school/childcare center until symptom-free for the required period of time.

    The leave options an employee may qualify for in either of these situations are based on a number of factors, including the eligibility requirements for each program, their employment category, the pay basis for their appointment, the reason they are unable to work and are requesting leave, prior leave they have used or taken, and staffing needs of the operational unit. Some leave options require approval from the work unit or supervisor.

    Please refer to “What are Your Leave Options for Leave Related to COVID-19?” for an overview of leave options for Faculty, Academic Staff, Limited Appointees, and University Staff.

Requesting Leave Related to COVID-19

UW–Madison provides a variety of potential leave options to employees when they are unable to work or telework for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Help is available in determining which leave programs, if any, apply to your individual circumstances.

Leave Options Related to COVID-19

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact your supervisor or the local human resources contact where you work.

If your question is related to your own medical condition/disability, please  contact your Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) directly.

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