Your child was sent home from school for two weeks, your husband was exposed to COVID and has symptoms, or you need to self-quarantine. You can use your own sick time for any of these options. In short, try to telecommute first. If telecommuting is not an option, use sick time instead.
Article 44 – Sick Leave of the URA-AFT Agreement is already strong. Even pre-pandemic, you could use your own sick time to care for yourself if you were ill or injured. The only requirement in Article 44 is to call out no less than 15 minutes before your work day starts. Doctor’s notes can be requested by a supervisor but cannot be a requirement for using your earned sick days.
Article 44 always permitted 15 days to care for family or pick up a child from school. You might need to fill out the form in Appendix I or have the school nurse sign off.
Article 44 always permitted sick days for medical, dental and wellness visits. COVID testing and vaccination visits count as medical visits too. You can use sick time for planned or unplanned visits for medical or dental reasons or for wellness visits. If unplanned, use the same 15 minute advanced call out rule (or inform your supervisor that you are ill and need to leave early for the day).
For remaining needs related to COVID, Sick Leave Expansion is in effect through December 31. Refer to Vivian Fernandez’ memo announcing the temporary expansion of permissible use of accrued paid sick time. 10 days are allowed for quarantine even if you are not actually sick. Unlimited sick time can be used for school closure or child care necessities.
If you have no remaining sick days, consider applying for an unpaid leave of absence or using remaining V, PH or AL days. You might also be eligible for the New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance, Family Leave Insurance or Unemployment Insurance programs while on unpaid leave status (check with the New Jersey Department of Labor directly). Article 22 of our union contract allows for requests for unpaid leave for personal reasons.
Having issues with using these benefits? If your supervisor is being unreasonable, contact email@example.com immediately.
Telecommuting Policy Relaxation Through December 31, 2021
Our union has pushed for this policy expansion since the pandemic began last year. However, we’ve received concerns from union members recently about unreasonable supervisors who ignore the policy. Some supervisors are reasonable but getting pressure from above to restrict your telecommuting or make unreasonable changes. Here is our recommendation for utilizing the policy:
Quote from Vivian Fernandez’ memo: telecommuting “provides flexibility necessary to balance…operational and service needs…with employee well-being”.
Make a request in writing. Request the continuation of your current arrangement or propose a new arrangement. Make sure you say, “I need to telecommute to maintain my well-being.” Your well-being might be impacted by how you arrange child care, school closures, and quarantining of yourself and household members. Do not hesitate to request telecommuting if a potential exposure to COVID is suspected. Note: you are not making a medical accommodation request under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) which is a separate process that can be reserved for later.
Was your request ignored, delayed or refused? Ask tough questions in writing. “What is the operational and service reason for your denial?” “Please explain how you balanced the operational needs against my personal well-being as required by the policy.” “Do you need any further information from me about why telecommuting is critical to my well-being right now?” “When will you be providing me with a response in writing?” If a supervisor says, “we just need you on campus” or “because I said so”, continue asking the tough questions. Do not settle for an unreasonable response.
Is the operational need legitimate? If your supervisor provides a reasonable explanation for why you cannot telecommute, consider: (1) requesting a medical accommodation, (2) requesting telecommuting the usual way—exempt staff always could request telecommuting according to Article 59 of our union contract, or (3) using your own sick time to stay home without working.
Join colleagues to create collective pressure. Telecommuting can be requested by anyone. Colleagues can submit a request at the same time, ask the same questions and demand updates together.
If all else fails, union representatives may be able to file a formal grievance on your behalf. Send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use Sick, AL or PH days if your situation at home is truly urgent.
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – More than 20,000 Rutgers employees could have their scheduled 3% raises postponed and others could lose their jobs as the university deals with a projected $260 million deficit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school has declared a fiscal emergency as referenced in certain labor union contracts, which then triggers a mandatory 21-day negotiating period.
During the time, the university and its labor unions “investigate” the next step before any action is formally taken by Rutgers, according to a statement provided to TAPinto New Brunswick by a university spokesperson.
That action could include the postponement of a scheduled 3% wage hike that is scheduled to kick in on July 1.
During a video conference last week with leaders of a coalition of 19 labor unions representing more than 20,000 employees at Rutgers, Christine O’Connell called for the university to take a “humane” approach to negotiations. O’Connell, the president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, is urging the university to “do as little harm as possible.”