Employee Options Regarding Working Remotely Outlined by HR
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – With classes being conducted remotely for the remainder of the semester due to precautions related to preventing the spread of COVID-19, some University of Arkansas employees may be considering options for working remotely while the university remains open. Human Resources is providing the following update to better inform employees of their current options.
Leave and Attendance
Currently, the university's regular leave and attendance practices are in effect until there is a declaration by campus administration to implement a change to regular operating procedures. This applies to all employees. While the university remains open, Human Resources has shared general guidelines for managers and supervisors to consider regarding remote work/work-from-home arrangements so that the university can maintain operations while taking every precaution to reduce the spread of infection.
- If an employee who can substantially perform most of his or her essential job duties remotely asks to work remotely, then the request may be processed under the university's Telecommuting policy, Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 412.3. Supervisors have significant discretion when determining whether to allow employees to work remotely, especially under the current circumstances.
- If an employee requests a remote work arrangement due to their own medical condition, the request should be coordinated with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. This helps ensure confidentiality of any medical information and proper documentation of the reasons and the accommodation provided. The relevant forms are available on the OEOC Accommodation page.
- If an employee requests a remote work arrangement as protection of a family member with a medical condition and the employee has been approved for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act to care for the family member, then the employee may take FMLA leave and will not be asked to work while on FMLA leave. However, if the employee voluntarily chooses to work remotely, then the employee's accrued leave balance will not be charged.
- Hourly employees may work remotely at the discretion of the supervisor if their job duties are able to be properly performed remotely.
- Further, graduate and teaching assistants will continue to work, but their duties may be altered.
In addition to these guidelines, please refer to the revised Fayetteville Policies and Procedures 409.5, Acute Communicable Illnesses: Protective Measures and Leave Procedures in the Event of Outbreak. If the policy is activated, the campus will be notified.
These measures are not just intended to protect the health of employees working remotely or from home. Reducing the number of employees in the workplace is also a critical step to protect the health of our colleagues whose job duties cannot be performed remotely.
Employees Who Cannot Work Remotely
For those employees whose duties cannot be completed remotely, managers and supervisors can adopt practices to help minimize the spread of infection and protect the well-being of our community, such as the following:
- Establish flexible work schedules for staff where possible to reduce the number of people working near one another at the same time.
- Implement social distancing practices meant to reduce close contact in the workplace, such as maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others.
- Consider transitioning all meetings to telephone conference or video conference platform.
- If administrative offices close, staff from Payroll Services, Financial Affairs and University Information Technology Services will work remotely to process each payroll while administrative offices are closed.
- In order to ensure timely payment of a paycheck even if the campus reduces operations, you must enroll in direct deposit or elect to receive a pay card. Due to the Coronavirus there may be a delay in issuing and mailing paper checks.
- Any employees who need to update their bank account information for direct deposit should do so immediately. Any requests to change bank account information received when campus offices are closed will not be processed for security reasons.
The best source for additional information and the latest news and updates regarding COVID-19's impact to campus is the university's Coronavirus Update site.
While no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among the University of Arkansas community, the situation continues to evolve rapidly. So, please continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly and disinfect surfaces that could become contaminated (phones, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.).
Please note that guidance from the CDC, Arkansas Department of Health and university may change rapidly given the fluidity of the situation. Any changes will be updated in the "Updates" section of the university's Coronavirus Update site.
About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.
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