Employee Guidance FAQ

Is it safe for on-site employees to work on campus?

Yes. The decision to transition to remote learning is not motivated by any evidence that the campus is inherently unsafe at this point. We have made this difficult decision in an effort to significantly reduce the population density of the campus as a preventive measure to enable social distancing, a technique recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to mitigate the potential spread of the virus. The steps we have taken are intended to reduce the risk of infection for the students who are returning home, as well as for the essential employees and the small number of students who remain on campus.

If someone is not an on-site employee, can they come to campus to gather materials from their workplace?

Yes. Employees can certainly come to campus to retrieve items from their offices or other work locations. This is an individual choice. They should use social distancing practices while on campus.

What are the options for high-risk employees who are designated as onsite employees who are over the age of 60, pregnant, suffer from a chronic health condition or are in a mandatory quarantine?

Employees designated as working onsite who are over the age of 60, pregnant, or who suffer from a chronic health condition such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease are eligible for alternative work assignments during the COVID-19 outbreak. Such employees should contact Central HR at  413-687-2283 or Covid19HR@umass.edu, and the HR representative will work with the employee to approve the request and inform the supervisor.. The employee is responsible for finalizing the details of work assignment with the department.

Are there alternative work assignments available for non-exempt employees who are not required to be physically on campus?

Yes. Supervisors will communicate the parameters for remote work, including the tracking of hours, overtime approval and providing work direction.

How should an employee prepare to work at an alternative work site?

Employees should bring home their laptop and other necessary materials. Managers/supervisors can receive guidance on making alternative work-site arrangements.

Employees must use sick or other accrued leave for any portions of the day where work is not being performed.

The University recommends that any work performed off site through a University application be completed using University-owned equipment since that equipment has the most up-to-date security applications installed. IT should be consulted should any questions arise.

What happens if an employee becomes ill while working from an alternative site?

Should employees become ill or otherwise be unavailable to perform work, they are required to enter accrued time for absences from work duties during those times and notifying their supervisor.

What are the general obligations of an employee working remotely?

During established work hours, the employee is required to be available and ready for any work-related communication or task. The employee may be required to attend departmental or other meetings at the primary work location or on campus or via video conferences, if approved by the supervisor.

Work completed at the employee’s alternative work site shall be considered official University business. The employee must protect the information from unauthorized access, disclosure or damage and must comply with federal, state and University policies, procedures regarding access, disclosure and/or destruction of official University records.

Employees must ensure that University information, including personally identifiable information (PII) and student records is secure at all times.