What if I need to stay home because I’m sick or I have to take a leave of absence related to COVID-19? Will we be compensated for that time off?

BNSF has relaxed our policies for anyone contracting COVID-19 or directed to quarantine. We will not discipline anyone for following quarantine guidelines. We can do this because we’re confident that our teams know the importance of doing our jobs to fulfill our critical role in the supply chain.

Absences for those employees showing symptoms who opt to get tested will be handled with leniency. Absences caused by normal illnesses and sickness will be handled consistent with previous handling and under existing policies and guidelines.

Scheduled employees: If you or an immediate household member tests positive for COVID-19, or if you or an immediate household member has been told by a healthcare professional (must be documented) to quarantine as a result of potential exposure, you must alert your supervisor and contact Leaves Administration by phone at 817-352-3371 or by email at LeavesAdmin@bnsf.com and seek a medical leave of absence. Upon confirmation of a positive test, or submitting the appropriate medical documentation mandating quarantine, BNSF will compensate you for the first four workdays that you are on leave:

  • TYE Crafts – compensated 1/52nd or their daily rate
  • Engineering Crafts – compensated at their daily rate of service
  • Mechanical – compensated at their daily rate of service
  • ATDA – compensated at their daily rate of service
  • Clerical – compensated at their daily rate of service

In addition to the BNSF 4-day sick leave benefit, the new CARES Act temporarily eliminated RRB’s seven- day waiting period before railroad workers can receive sickness benefits—allowing employees to begin collecting the RRB benefits on the fifth day. With the combination of BNSF and RRB COVID-19-related sick leave benefits, eligible railroaders can receive compensation for initial days off of work if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are otherwise subject to a quarantine order.

BNSF scheduled employees may apply for Leave for the BNSF lump sum sick leave pay at LeavesAdmin@BNSF.com and for RRB benefits at RRB.gov.

Under certain circumstances, a scheduled employee may be granted a personal leave of absence. Such leave would be unpaid. We have also relaxed our vacation policy so that employees with COVID-19- related issues may utilize unused vacation while they are on the approved leave. Employees must maintain their contractually mandated starts—or a combination of vacation/working starts—each month to extend medical benefits to the following month.

Once you’ve recovered or completed the quarantine, follow existing processes to return to work. Some cases will require the Medical Status Form and a review by Medical, but most will only require a medical clearance interview.

The BNSF Attendance Guidelines are not in conflict with these recommendations/requirements, as attendance is reviewed on a case by case basis. Employees are expected to use customary mark-off procedures, including timely communication with manpower management, where applicable, and their supervisors. If you are a supervisor and have questions about what to do in a particular situation, please contact your local Human Resources representative.

[Coronavirus FAQs – Updated: July 6, 2020]

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