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COVID-19: Employee Guidance

March 17, 2020
Dear Employees,
 
On March 16, President Napolitano released an Executive Order that critical steps must be taken to limit the exposure of members of our community to the disease within our community, to care for those who have fallen ill or otherwise been exposed, and to assure the continued functioning of critical operations.
 
Effective immediately, all “non-designated” UC Merced employees will work remotely 100% of the time.
 
Division heads should designate employee groups who are not eligible, or have limited ability to telecommute, and create plans to reduce the on-site density of employees as much as possible.
 
“Designated employees” are those who are not eligible for, or have limited ability to, telecommute. These employees must perform their jobs on campus to:
  • Ensure the health and safety of the campus community.
  • Provide direct customer service that cannot be performed from another location.
  • Ensure critical continuity of operations on campus that cannot be performed from another location.
  • Respond timely to an emergency.
 
Temporary Telecommute Agreements should be executed for eligible employees to achieve this goal. This Agreement should be used in all instances where management has determined that work may temporarily be performed from home or at an alternate location during this crisis.
There is no set duration for these agreements, but they should be reviewed at least every 30 days.
 
In situations where designated employees can work temporarily from home or from an alternate location, we ask that managers work to identify these opportunities, implement them as soon as possible, and document them in a Temporary Telecommute Agreement.
 
For all non-designated employees, we ask that supervisors execute Temporary Telecommute Agreements that reflect 100% remote work as soon as possible.
 
Managers and supervisors should determine
  • The positions and tasks where work can be performed remotely.
  • The appropriate level of work for telecommuters and how work will be assigned and how performance is measured.
  • The working days, hours, and times of work on telecommuting days.
  • Availability and methods of communication for employees who are telecommuting.
 
For all employees, especially those whose work cannot easily be done remotely (including hourly, represented and student workers), managers and employees should develop a work plan for those special assignments, projects, job-related reading or training that could be completed remotely.
 
Departments may enter into telecommuting arrangements with the approval of the department head and in consultation with the respective dean or vice chancellor, who is responsible for documenting the division’s workflow and ensuring Temporary Telecommute Agreements are in place.
 
Paid Administrative Leave
 
All employees are eligible for a one-time allotment of up to 128 hours of paid administrative leave, subject to these conditions:
  • All hours must be used by Dec. 31, 2020.
  • he hours may be used intermittently, either before or after the use of any accrued leave or other paid leave, at the request of the employee, in consultation with the supervisor, as long as this doesn’t adversely affect the delivery of essential university services.
  • The number of hours for employees who work less than full-time will be prorated according to the percent of the appointment.
  • Exempt employees who do not accrue sick or vacation leave are eligible for this one-time allotment of the paid administrative leave.
 
The paid administrative leave may be used only:
  • When an employee is unable to work due to the employee’s own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member;
  • When an employee is unable to work because the employee has been directed not to come to the worksite for COVID-19-related reasons and/or the worksite has implemented a COVID-19-related remote-work program, or is under a shelter in place order and it is not feasible for the employee to work remotely;
  • When an employee is unable to work because a COVID-19-related school or daycare closure requires the employee to be at home with a child or dependent, and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely or in conjunction with the childcare commitment.
 
We encourage managers and supervisors read the full guidance on remote working arrangements and determine who must be designated to remain.
 
Even for designated employees, the university recommends meetings be held using Zoom or another tool that provides for social distancing. Following recent federal guidance, we strong discourage in-person gatherings of more than 10 people.
 
Remember to visit UC Merced’s COVID-19 Emergency Management site for updates, all university communications and credible sources of health and safety information. Please continue to practice hand washing and social distancing, and take care of yourself and one another.
 
Best,
 
Nathan Brostrom
Interim Chancellor
 
Gregg Camfield
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost