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Interim Policy for Remote Working Exceptions and Temporary Emergency Leave


Interim Policy for Remote Working Exceptions and Temporary Emergency Leave

Overview

Pacific has revised its Interim Policy for Remote Working Exceptions and Temporary Emergency Leave effective March 29, 2021, to align with California's most recent legislation Senate Bill No.95.

The updates to this interim policy supports Pacific's Returning to Campus Plan, which is based on a framework of personal responsibility and the following guiding principles:

  1. University of the Pacific will endeavor to provide a healthy and safe environment in which to learn and work.
  2. The university will—on all campuses—comply with federal and state law as well as applicable regulations and orders, including public health orders. We also will rely on pertinent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, which is updated from time to time.
  3. Pacific faculty and staff will focus on our mission to provide a superior, student-centered learning experience.
  4. Pacific is dedicated to our values at all times, including Integrity and accountability.

Paid leaves, Staff & Faculty

  • Full-time benefit eligible employees
    • COVID-19 paid leave provided by Pacific is 160 hours, or 20 days
    • Eligible employees are entitled to a minimum of 80 hours of COVID-19 related paid leave retroactively from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (If COVID paid leave was previously exhausted below 80 hours)
  • Part-time non-benefit eligible employees
    • COVID-19 paid leave provided by Pacific is equal to the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work, over a two-week period
    • Eligible employees are entitled to an equal number of COVID-19 related paid leave hours determined by their normal work schedule, over a two-week period retroactively from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (If COVID paid leave was previously exhausted below minimum)
  • Unused COVID-19 paid leave balances will expire on September 30, 2021

COVID-19 paid leave reasons include

  • A covered employee may take leave if the employee is unable to work or telework for any of the following reasons:
 
Sick / Recovering from COVID:
 The covered employee is subject to quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the California Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer with jurisdiction over the workplace, has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine, or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
 
Sick / Recovering From COVID Vaccine:
The covered employee is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related symptoms
 
 
Caring for a Family Member:
The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation period or has been advised by a healthcare provided to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises.

 

Payroll has established two new earning codes for employees to record COVID-19 leaves on your timesheet or leave report:

  • COVID Sick Pay – to be used:
    • The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation period related to COVID-19 as defined by an order or guidelines of the California Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a local health officer with jurisdiction over the workplace, has been advised by a healthcare provider to quarantine, or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
    • The covered employee is attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related symptoms
  • COVID Care Pay – to be used:
    • The covered employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a COVID-19 quarantine or isolation period or has been advised by a healthcare provided to quarantine due to COVID-19, or is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 on the premises.

Please notify your supervisor in advance if you are not able to report to work due to a COVID-19 related matter. In addition, you should also communicate with Human Resources if you have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Payroll has also created a new leave category (COVD) for COVID-19 related leave balances. When you use the COVID Sick Pay or COVID Care Pay earning codes, your COVID Leave balance will be reduced. Your current COVID Leave balance reflects any hours taken in 2020 and 2021. This information is on your paystub and can be seen in employee self-service using the insidePacific portal

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

  • An employee who is sick or has an ill family member may be entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) under certain circumstances. Some instances of COVID-19 may qualify as a “serious health condition." FMLA/CFRA leaves are unpaid, however eligibility for other benefits will determine compensation. Employees should be encouraged to avail themselves to Pacific's leave options available under the applicable policy or collective bargaining agreement provisions.

NOTE: if a doctor restricts you from work, the normal leave policy process will apply and a release from your treating physician will be required to return to work. For questions regarding leaves, please contact Human Resources at employee_benefits@pacific.edu

  • Employees taking sick leave will be required to document their sick leave in accordance with normal Web Time Entry timesheet/ leave report practices.
  • Academic appointees please refer to the Faculty Handbook, for information on paid absences and faculty administrative leaves.

These measures are subject to change as the situation evolves. Additional information regarding applicable leave provisions can be found on Human Resources Benefits webpage here.

COVID-19 Interim Telecommuting Exceptions

University of the Pacific's existing Staff Telecommuting Policy outlines eligibility, procedures, and expectations regarding staff members working remotely. However, short-term telecommuting can be an appropriate option for staff members in extraordinary circumstances, such as during the current outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which fall outside of the Telecommuting Policy for a limited period of time.

Employees can be given flexibility in working remotely for legitimate reasons (for example, self-isolation due to travel, caring for children during school closures, caring for elderly family members or others at risk with weakened immune systems, or for self-care if the employee is at risk, among others). Exceptions to the Telecommuting Policy last only for the duration of the outbreak, as defined and communicated by the University.

Supervisors, at their discretion, may allow members of their staff to telecommute on a short-term basis. Supervisors are responsible to ensure that their departments perform critical work to care for the Pacific community and maintain university operations. They may be flexible in offering telecommuting to non-essential functions.

Critical Support Personnel and Advance Planning

Critical Support Personnel (CSP) are those employees who are expected to report to work in the event of University closure or other extraordinary circumstance, if it is safe to do so and even if they are not instructed to do so. CSP's are identified by their supervisors and confirmed by division leadership. In extreme circumstances, CSP may have legitimate reasons for being unable to report to work (such as the examples cited above), communicate with supervisors regarding absences as soon as possible.

Supervisors are encouraged to speak with CSPs as early as possible regarding their status and role, for planning purposes and to reassign work as necessary. CSP's may be required to cancel or curtail planned travel for business purposes, where such travel may be likely to lead to quarantine upon their return.

Eligibility for Short-Term Telecommuting

Supervisors, at their own discretion, may allow members of their staff to telecommute on a short-term basis during a COVID-19 outbreak. Supervisors are responsible to ensure that their departments perform critical work to care for the Pacific community and maintain operations to the appropriate extent communicated by the University; flexibility may be given to non-essential work.

Typical eligibility criteria for telecommuting (for example, one year of service) do not apply in such circumstances, and an approved Telecommuting Request Form /Agreement is not necessary.  

Supervisors should consistently communicate with their staff regarding the fluidity of such situations, as well as changing business needs (such as the need to report to campus). Supervisors or employees may end a short-term telecommuting agreement at any time and for any reason.

Expectations for All Staff

Telecommuting staff members are responsible to:

  • Fulfill the expectations agreed upon with their supervisor regarding the scope of their telecommuting assignment, such as:
    • Duties and responsibilities
    • Hours of work (rest/meal breaks, overtime, and other wage and hour requirements still apply)
    • Hours of availability to communicate regarding University business
    • Communication of work assignments, projects and reports
    • Communications regarding personal needs, including reporting absences of work due to injury, illness, or caring for a family member
    • The use of University equipment and materials

When Telecommuting, Practice Secure Data-Handling Hygiene

University employees are required to protect University information by following the University's policies governing information security, software licensing, and data protection; ensuring that unauthorized individuals do not access Pacific's data, either in print or electronically; and not accessing restricted-level information electronically unless protected through use of university servers and/or appropriate physical controls.

At all times, whether University work is performed at work, at home or through telecommuting, University business records, student records, consumer information, and other private, confidential or proprietary data should not be saved to personally-owned computers, hard drives, cloud storage or USB drives, or other personally-owned storage media. 

Rather, all University employees are required to follow University informational security requirements, and store such data on University servers (using VPN, Sharepoint or webfolder access).

 Failure to follow these rules and appropriately protect university information may result in discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Other Considerations for Telecommuters

  • Schedule and use Zoom in all meetings going forward. 
  • State your availability and set response expectations in your signature line/out of office on emails.
  • Forward desk/office phone to your home/cell phone if appropriate

Expectations for Supervisors

Supervisors should communicate specific expectations to individual team members based on the each person's employment position, the needs of the unit and the employee's personal circumstances. To ensure that any telecommuting assignment is mutually beneficial to both the University and staff members, planning and communicating expectations in advance of the telecommuting is crucial. Ongoing communications and meetings regarding the status of assignments, projects and department initiatives must be part of the routine of telecommuting during this time of urgency.

For sample expectations that you may tailor for your staff members, please see Appendix A.

General Employment Expectations

Staff members must comply with University rules, policies, practices, and instructions and understand that violation of same may result in termination of telecommuting privileges and/or discipline up to, and including, dismissal from the University.

Short-term telecommuting in extraordinary circumstances does not change the basic terms and conditions of employment with the University. Telecommuting assignments do not change a staff member's classification, compensation, or benefits. The accrual and charging of leave time is subject to the same policies and procedures applicable to non-telecommuting staff members.

University of the Pacific is an "at-will" employer, meaning that the employment relationship between the University and each of its staff members may be terminated at any time by either the University or the staff member, with or without notice or cause. Telecommuting assignments are not contracts or promises of employment. Nothing in a telecommuting assignment guarantees employment for any specific term, nor alters the "at-will" nature of employment.


About This Policy
Last Updated
3/31/2021
Original Issue Date
3/13/2020

Responsible Department
Human Resources