Let us know how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your work conditions.
Q: We’re hearing from staff in the colleges that there’s talk of consolidating support positions across multiple departments. Is there something to this, and if so is it part of a University-wide initiative?
A: These conversations are in preliminary stages at the division and college levels and HR has not been engaged by any manager at this time to discuss reassignments of any particular employees. With that said, due to the enrollment and budget challenges, combining of departments and staff reassignments are possible.
Q: What are the parameters for supervisors denying CPAL requests based on childcare needs?
A: Per the March 24 “Important COVID-19 Employment Information” language, employees eligible for Paid Administrative Leave under the following criteria may not be denied the CPAL.
“Am I Eligible for Paid Administrative Leave?
A. Employees 65-years-old and older or have an underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19. Employees under this category are placed on paid administrative leave until they can return to campus if they cannot telecommute.
B. State Staff Employees (Excluding Retired Annuitants, Intermittent Hourly and Immediate Pay Employees) All other state staff employees are expected to work if directed by their appropriate administrator. If an employee cannot work on campus or telecommute, 128 hours of prorated, one-time paid administrative leave is available, starting March 23, in the following situations:
i. When an employee is unable to work due to the employee’s own COVID-19-related illness or that of a family member who the employee would normally be able to use sick leave for;
ii. When an employee is unable to work because the employee has been directed by their supervisor or healthcare provider not to come to the worksite for COVID-19-related reasons and/or it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely; and
iii. When an employee is unable to work due to a COVID-19-related school or daycare closure and the employee is required to be at home with a child or dependent, and it is not operationally feasible for the employee to work remotely or in conjunction with the childcare commitment.”
Q: Telecommuting employees are incurring costs related to exceeding or upgrading data limits or purchasing work-related supplies. What procedures should they follow for reimbursement?
A: Per the telecommuting agreement, employees are not eligible for reimbursement for purchasing office supplies, office equipment, or internet data plans for working from home.
Personal cell phone use will be reimbursed in accordance with the Wireless Device Policy (Policy Number: EM: P11-07).
Per the ITS department: “If you need to borrow the monitor, keyboard, and mouse from your office, go ahead (just be careful when transporting and take a picture of how the cables connect so you can reconnect when you get home). Make sure to bring everything back when we all return.” Additional technology-related information and resources for employees can be found at https://its.humboldt.edu/work-from-home.
If employees require office supplies, they should check with their appropriate administrator and make arrangements to get such supplies from campus.
Q: Some employees still haven’t been notified of the status of their telework agreements; how close are we to having everybody notified?
A: Once the appropriate Vice President signs the telecommuting agreement, the employee will receive an automatic confirmation email. If an employee has not received such an email, the employee should first follow up and inquire with their immediate supervisors.
Q: Why are hourly intermittent employees ineligible for CPAL?
A: Per the direction from the Chancellor’s Office employees without a time base, such as retired annuitants, intermittent hourly and immediate pay employees are not eligible for CPA. No reason was provided.
Q: What early retirement incentives are planned at HSU during the current budget crisis?
A: Currently no definitive early retirement packages have been identified, however, HSU HR is investigating the extent of the campus’ capacity and authority to make decisions in this area. When HSU administration determines what early retirement packages can be offered to HSU employees, this topic, as required by article 21.39 of the Contract 2017-20, the University will notify CSUEU “and, upon written request from the Union, meet and confer regarding said availability.”
Q: Will employee evaluations still take place this year?
A: Yes, employee evaluations will be conducted as usual. The time-period covered by the evaluations will be May 1, 2019 - May 1, 2020. Fully signed evaluations are due in HR by May 31, 2020. The appropriate administrator will create a draft of an employee’s evaluation and send it to the employee. Once they agree on the final version of the evaluation, the appropriate administrator will enter it into Adobe Sign, which will be used for signatures this year due to COVID-19 related document-circulating challenges. HR department recognizes the importance of the in-person conversations that take place during employee evaluations. Therefore, future years’ evaluations will require wet signatures as they have in the past. For more information on this year’s evaluations follow this link.
Q: What is the status of the reclassification and IRP requests that have been in the queue and are past the contractually agreed upon timeframes?
A: There are currently 2 reclassification requests older than 180 days and 9 IRP requests that are older than 90 days. The HR department is working on addressing these requests and looking for creative ways to make up the time lost due to COVID-19 emergency activities. The HR department assures us that the process and criteria for review of these requests have not changed and that all requests are being given the same consideration as they did prior to the outbreak of the virus. Additionally, the HR department assures us that regardless of how long the review of these requests takes, the employees whose requests have been approved will receive pay retroactive to the 1st day of the month following the receipt of the request.
Q: Can we be asked to keep track of what we do so that our supervisor can "justify" our position after this is over?
A: Your supervisor can give you work directives that may involve requesting an accounting of your work. You should comply with the work assignments issued by your supervisor.
However, you do not need to “justify” your position. If you are a permanent employee you have a contractual right to your job (classification) including your salary and time base.
Q: What can I do to ensure that I am protecting my job at the university while I am working from home?
A: Do your work as best you can and maintain communication with your MPP supervisor, especially if you are having any difficulties completing work. Also, see the answer above.
Q: How do I get more involved in CSUEU?
A: There are several ways in which you can get involved!
Q: I was going to submit a reclass/IRP request just before the pandemic started - should I still pursue it?
A: Yes! If you think that you are eligible for a reclass or an in-range salary progression (based on the criteria listed in our contract, article 20.25 for IRPs) you should definitely fill out the Staff Compensation and Classification Request Form and follow the instructions on the form to submit your request. A classification review cannot be denied simply for budget reasons. It is true that with the current budget uncertainty, now more than ever, an IRP may be denied based on the lack of funds. However, that should not stop you from submitting your request. but it’s not impossible. And, per article 20.25c: "Where an employee has been notified in writing that the employee's in-range progression was denied solely due to a lack of funds, upon the employee's request, the employee's in-range progression application shall be re-evaluated in the following fiscal year." If that happens to you, make sure to follow up with your MPP supervisor and HR in the next fiscal year and ask for a re-evaluation of your request.
Q: If I have an active IRP/reclass (past the contractual timeframe) but am laid off or retire prior to the decision being made, will I get the $ in my final payout?
A: We think so. Be sure to contact the Union if this occurs so we can assist.
Q: The boundaries between working and not working, while working from home, have become more blurry. How do I ensure that I am not expected to work outside of my regular work hours?
A: One thing you can do is set your boundaries (work hours) and manage expectations of your response times in your auto-email response or in your email signature. Some folks set up an auto-reply that states that they are currently commuting. You can include a sentence about your work hours in that auto-reply and explain that you will be checking your email and responding to inquiries during these times. Other folks include a note about telecommuting in their email signature. That is also a good place to add a note about your work hours and the fact that you will be responding to emails during such hours. Here is an example of that note: "Thank you for your email. Due to Shelter in Place orders in the state of California, I am currently telecommuting until further notice. My work hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM. If your inquiry arrives in my inbox outside of those hours, I will do my best to respond to you when I return to my email on the next business day".
The other things you could do (if you are not the type of employee who must be available 24/7) is to truly not check your email outside of your work hours. We know it is hard to ignore the email you see on your phone on Saturday night - the easiest way to avoid feeling pressured to answer it is not to see it, so (if you can) stop checking your work email on your personal phone.