Dear Faculty, Staff and Student Employees:
As a follow up to Tuesday’s memo from Chancellor Block regarding UCLA’s transition to remote instruction through, at minimum, April 10 due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to share leave policies and other support services that are available to employees, including the option of remote work.
Our decision to make these dramatic shifts was motivated by our concerns for everyone’s safety. The best way to limit the spread of COVID-19 or any contagious disease, according to health experts, is to reduce community density. Remaining six feet away from others, wherever possible, can help prevent infections transmitted by an uncovered cough or sneeze and also by touching a contaminated surface. UCLA’s decision to transition to remote classes, postpone or cancel large events and reduce the number of people in dining facilities and residential buildings will help reduce the risk of the virus spreading on campus and in the broader community. Employees should remain home if they are sick to protect themselves and their colleagues.
As always, we encourage you to be mindful of employees’ health needs. While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the UCLA campus at this time, we are committed to the safety and welfare of our employees and hope this administrative guidance will be useful to departments and organizations as we all work to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19.
Campus Remains Open
Even though classes are transitioning to remote learning temporarily, the campus remains open for students unable to return home. It is important to keep in mind that research, health care, remote learning support, as well as business and operational support functions, will continue. Recognizing we are undergoing an immense transition in the way we currently deliver educational services, this requires that all of us work together through this period of change and uncertainty.
Remote Work Provisions
As campus remains open, we need to maintain business continuity to support campus needs, particularly during transitional periods. Departments are encouraged to develop business continuity plans that will identify where remote work opportunities are operationally feasible.
UCLA Telecommuting Guidelines are helpful in understanding the review and approval process for employees and managers to follow. Some employees can telecommute, others could telecommute if equipment is available and others cannot telecommute given their job functions. Respective deans, vice provosts and vice chancellors are responsible for ensuring business continuity and approval of plans that involve telecommuting.
We know there are going to be varied outcomes for staff based on these departmental business continuity plans. For example, most if not all health care workers and direct services employees will need to be on campus. Additionally, the way in which departments implement their plans could change day to day or week to week, depending on shifting conditions and departmental needs. These are unprecedented times, so we greatly appreciate your flexibility and understanding.
The University has enacted the following temporary actions for leave if an employee is directly impacted by COVID-19:
- Employees unable to work due to their own or a family member’s COVID-19 illness should use available leave balances (e.g., sick leave, PTO-sick or other accrued leave). If there are no available leave balances, the University will provide up to 14 days paid administrative leave to cover the absence.
- Employees unable to come to work due to public health or University-required quarantine or self-isolation measures may work remotely if operationally feasible. If remote work is not operationally feasible, employees should use available leave balances, and if there are no available leave balances, the University will provide up to 14 days paid administrative leave to cover the absence.
- Employees unable to come to work due to a COVID-19 day-care or school closure that requires them to be home with their child may work remotely if their department determines that it is operationally feasible; if remote work is not operationally feasible, employees may use all available leave balances, including sick leave and vacation.
- Departments may designate certain positions to work from home if operationally feasible. If employees are approved to work from home, it will be considered paid work status. Employees in positions who are directed not to come to work by the University and are unable to work from home due to the nature of their work, as determined by the department in consultation with Employee & Labor Relations, may be allowed up to 14 days of paid administrative leave. (Health care workers are considered exempt from this category of designation; please contact UCLA Health Human Resources for further information.)
- Academic appointees who do not accrue sick and/or vacation leave and who are not otherwise eligible for paid medical leave under applicable provisions of the Academic Personnel Manual will receive up to 14 days paid administrative leave to cover absences as described above. (Please contact the Academic Personnel Office for questions regarding academic appointees.)
Additional information regarding applicable leave provisions may be found within the Absence from Work policy (PPSM 2.210) (PDF) that applies to eligible policy-covered staff employees (SMG, MSP and PSS) who may be impacted, including probationary employees.
Catastrophic Leave Sharing Program
UCLA’s Catastrophic Leave Program is an option for employees who have exhausted their paid leave. It is also available to those staff members who may want to donate vacation hours for others who may need them.
Employee Assistance Program
Dealing with uncertain situations such as COVID-19 can take a serious toll on all of us. We would like to remind you that the professionals at the Staff and Faculty Counseling Center and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for student employees are available to help employees deal with the impact of these circumstances.
Pre K-12 Education
Please note that the UCLA Lab School and the Geffen Academy are transitioning to alternative teaching and learning. The Early Care and Education programs and centers will remain open and will operate on limited schedules until further notice. You may contact each school or program directly for further information.
Travel for Staff and Faculty
Effective immediately, all nonessential university-related international and domestic travel is suspended until further notice. Personal international and domestic travel is strongly discouraged given the associated risks of possibly being unable to return if the situation changes. The CDC has recently updated their travel warnings as the spread of COVID-19 continues. Travelers returning from countries designated Level 3 by the CDC are subject to 14-day self-quarantine upon return. If you decide to travel, please be aware that other countries could change travel restrictions without notice, flights may be canceled or new re-entry restrictions could be imposed when returning to the United States. To request approval to engage in essential travel, faculty should contact their deans in writing for approval. Similarly, all staff must request an exemption from their vice chancellors in writing.
During this challenging transitional period, staff plays a critical role in supporting the campus community. We are so grateful for the incredible work of our employees, especially during these difficult times. We also appreciate your continued understanding and flexibility. Our employees should monitor their own health with heightened awareness and stay home if they are sick. The options mentioned above are designed to help keep the entire UCLA community safe and should be used by employees when needed.
Please distribute this information to units within your purview.
Michael J. Beck
Administrative Vice Chancellor
Michael S. Levine
Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel