Fall Update for University Staff
Bill Brady, vice chancellor and chief human resources officer, sent an email on Tuesday, Aug. 11 to staff with updates on continuing preparations for the fall semester. That email is as follows:
Dear UMass Amherst Staff,
I am writing to update you on UMass Amherst’s continuing preparations for the fall semester. As I have previously communicated, the university has been in ongoing conversations with its labor unions since the campus’s transition to remote learning in mid-March. Most recently, the conversations have focused on Chancellor Subbaswamy’s June announcement of our Fall Reopening Plan, which was adjusted on Thursday to again reduce the on-campus population of students.
The university has recently reached an agreement with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the University Staff Association (USA), and the Professional Staff Union (PSU) related to staff operations this fall. Some of the key components of the agreement include:
- A fifty percent (50%) discount on parking for staff for the period of September through January.
- A new process for staff designated to work onsite to request a flexible working arrangement.
- Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for onsite staff provided at the university’s discretion with no cost to the employee.
Similar to spring and summer, staff for fall will be designated as either remote, onsite, or hybrid (sometimes remote, sometimes onsite). While many staff already know their fall designation, those who have not yet been given a designation will hear from their supervisors in the next few days. Staff members who are designated as onsite or hybrid and have concerns about working on campus can request a flexible working arrangement by filling out a form found on the HR Fall 2020 website.
We ask that requests are made as soon as possible to ensure at timely review of requests prior to the fall semester. The following parameters will apply to flexible working arrangements going forward:
- All individuals who were previously assigned to work onsite but who requested remote work must reapply for the fall semester.
- Staff members assigned to work onsite or a hybrid schedule who do not report to campus for work and who cannot successfully work remotely will be required to use accrued leave.
- Individuals designated “high risk” for COVID-19 include those employees 65 or older and/or those with certain documented underlying health conditions. Employees will be required to provide medical documentation.
The Office of Human Resources has put together FAQs for fall and they will be updated as necessary.
Your continued efforts on behalf of the university and our students are appreciated and inspiring. I am confident that together we will shepherd UMass Amherst through one of the most challenging times in its history.
Vice Chancellor & Chief Human Resources Officer