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COVID-19: Telecommuting Guidelines

March 13, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

The health and safety of our campus community remain our foremost concern as we all explore ways to maintain campus operations during the nation’s response to COVID-19. We are committed to doing all we can to mitigate the spread of this virus into our community.

In coordination with the University of California and other campuses, UC Merced is issuing guidance on remote working arrangements for employees during this period of heightened concern. The full guidance can be found on the Human Resources page on the Emergency Management website.

Supervisors must determine how best to designate staff for their units’ success.“Designated staff” are those who are not eligible to telecommute; these staff members 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.

Approaches could include flexible work schedules, such as fewer but longer workdays, or alternating staff between on-site and telecommuting work. The guidance document suggests several potential approaches.

In determining a remote working arrangement:

  • Supervisors must document individual agreements. A form for documenting that agreement can be found on the Human Resources page of the Emergency site.
  • The documentation must include duration of the arrangement, days and hours, location and contact information.
  • Employees must abide by all normal workplace rules such as meal breaks, advance approval of overtime and approval of sick, vacation or other leave.
  • Employees must be able to ensure they are working in a safe environment and can protect university records and equipment.
  • Supervisors must treat workers equitably.

As always, our spirit of community will go a long way here toward coming to agreeable resolutions that balance the university’s and employees’ needs. Human Resources staff remain available to assist with any discussions or special circumstances.

Remember that all university communications and links to credible sources of information can be found on our COVID-19 website.

Thank you,


Nathan Brostrom,

Interim Chancellor


Nicole Pollack

Chief Human Resources Officer