The American Rescue Plan Act
Effective April 1, 2021

The following information replaces the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided FFCRA leave benefits through March 31, 2021. If you are an HR Liaison and still need access to the former EPSL and/or EFMLA forms and information for FFCRA, please contact our HR Liaison Administrator.

  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), passed in late December 2020, permitted employers to voluntarily extend paid leave benefits previously mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), originally effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. FFCRA required certain employers including Texas A&M University System members to provide two forms of paid leave to assist employees impacted by COVID-19: Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA). In accordance with the CAA, Texas A&M voluntarily continued providing FFCRA leave benefits through March 31, 2021.
  • NOTICE: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 once again permitted employers to voluntarily provide employees impacted by COVID-19 with paid leave benefits. In accordance with the ARPA, Texas A&M employees need to be aware that:
    • Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) is extended through September 30, 2021
    • Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) benefits expired March 31, 2021; however, leave afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) remains available for eligible employees.
  • The Division of Human Resources and Organization Effectiveness provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the ARPA.

Unemployment Compensation Insurance

Student workers should be prepared to return to work in their on campus positions when their employing department requests they return.  If a student worker who has been asked to return to work by the University chooses not to return to work, the student may no longer be eligible  to receive Texas Unemployment Compensation Benefits.  Refusal to return to work could result in the student employee owing money back to the state if a post-payment audit were to take place and the student employee was found to be ineligible to receive the funds or was overpaid.

Yes, it is possible for a student worker to file an unemployment claim and possibly receive benefits.  The University does not make those determinations.  As with any employee, the individual circumstances of that employee help make the determination.  It is possible that individuals who have suffered a significant reduction in work hours may be eligible.

The Texas Workforce Commission determines eligibility for unemployment. To learn more about qualifying for UCI benefits, see the Texas Workforce Commission’s Unemployment Benefits Handbook.

Additional resources from the Texas Workforce Commission regarding unemployment and COVID-19:

It may be helpful if the department provides a statement for the student worker to use when filing a claim. The statement could be as simple as one of these:
  • <Insert name> is no longer working for our department because we do not have work for the employee at this time and will not for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19.
  • Due to COVID-19 <Insert name>, hours have been significantly reduced.

Coronavirus Student Employment Related Guidance

Updated September 3, 2021

The following answers are provided to frequently asked questions concerning students working during Texas A&M University’s transition to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Important new information is included regarding work study student employees. As circumstances are continuously evolving, this guidance may also change. Information will be communicated as quickly as possible.

In alignment with requirements set forth by Governor Abbott’s executive order GA-21 as amended by GA-22, employees are required to complete the following System Office courses in TrainTraq: In addition, per President Bank’s August 5 message, employees are required to complete the following course in TrainTraq: In addition to completing the required TrainTraq courses mentioned above, students must also confirm they've read and agree to adhere to the outlined guidelines by logging on through the Howdy Portal

It is the responsibility of each supervisor to verify that their student employees have completed their TrainTraq courses before they can return to work. Below are the steps supervisors can take to verify that the student employees have completed the TrainTraq courses. 
  1. Log into SSO.
  2. Select TrainTraq.
  3. Change role to Manager.
  4. Select “Transcript” on the drop-down menu under Employee.
  5. Select the appropriate employee to review their TrainTraq transcript, which should include the two required courses. 
Mandatory COVID-19 testing for the entire Texas A&M university campus – regardless of vaccination status – will run from August 23rd through September 10th.

All students, faculty and staff at every Texas A&M location are required to participate in this first mandatory COVID-19 testing program for Fall 2021. Everyone will be required to submit a COVID-19 diagnostic test provided at no cost by Texas A&M. Visit the Texas A&M University Covid-19 Guidance webpage for more information about testing details, exemptions, and sanctions for not complying with mandatory testing and reporting.
All who test positive must self-report and follow the Guidance for Sick and Exposed campus members.
Student employees are not in leave-eligible positions; therefore, they do not qualify for any type of state paid leave in accordance with System regulations. However, beginning April 1, 2020 under the FFCRA, there may be paid leave that would be applicable. 
All employees, including student workers, can find information regarding Emergency Paid Sick leave on the Division of Human Resources website. It is important to note that employees who have received or in the process of receiving unemployment compensation benefits may not use FFCRA leave to be paid for the same work hours.
This is set to expire on September 30th, 2021.

No. As always, regulations and university Standard Administrative Procedure 33.99.08.M0.01 do not allow students to be scheduled for work during scheduled class times. This includes online courses.

Alternate Work Locations (remote work) for student employees will be allowed until December 31, 2021, or until the COVID-19 federally declared national emergency is rescinded, whichever occurs later, if the following two criteria are met:
  • The student is in a position that does not regularly allow remote work and
  • The physical location closes due to an extenuating circumstance related to COVID-19.
Please read the August 19th Notice Regarding AWL Extension for Student Employees memo for the full details.
Mandatory testing for all students, faculty and staff begins August 23rd and is ongoing through September 10th.