We have been fighting for an extension of telecommuting for all of URA for months. On Friday, November 20th, Sr. VP Vivian Fernandez sent an email that extends the expansion of telecommuting until March 31, 2021.
If you have a currently have a telecommuting agreement, then there is no change. If there is a change to your work schedule, and there is a request for additional in-person work, please ask what has changed other than the growing numbers of COVID positive rates. This is not the time to let our guard down, and we will continue to fight for to keep you healthy and safe.
Steps to protect your rights:
You do not need to reapply for a telecommuting arrangement that was already approved and on file. Continue to work according to that plan.
- If you are told to return to in-person work ask your supervisor: “what is the operational need?” Important: make sure you get a response in writing. Some managers try to avoid this question and instead explain to you all of the safety measures in place on campus. Continue to insist on a response to only this question.
- If there is no true critical operational need for in-person work, contact us immediately. Your supervisor does not have total discretion to force you to return if your work truly can be performed remotely.
- If there is a critical need for in-person work, make sure the safety measures are appropriate. If not, you should object to working under unsafe conditions.
- If you have a medical or family reason for not working in-person (and there is actually a critical need for in-person work), request a flexible work hours arrangement that includes telecommuting or a leave request. Important: this should be your last option. Attempt steps 1 through 4 first.
As classes begin and some students return to campus, we have heard from members that some departments are asking them to return to work. Our agreement with Vivian Fernandez, and her subsequent email on August 13th clearly states that the telecommuting rule relaxation policy has been extended through December 31th, 2020 and is automatically updated unless there is a change to your work schedule along with continued encouragement for department heads to be flexible in telecommuting arrangements, which include flexibility in work hours.
If you are requested to return to work in person and there is no operational need to do so, please contact us to help. This is particularly impactful as parents of school age students will require greater flexibility as K‑12 schools reopen.