July 2, 2021; 11:30AM
This communication provides additional clarification on important return-to-campus topics and summarizes updated UNC System work and leave guidance issued on June 23, 2021. Please note that the information in this communication will be included on our university’s Return-to-Campus website, where you can find full university guidance related to our return to on-campus operations.
Teleworking and Returning to Campus for Fall Semester
For more than 14 months, in response to the pandemic, we have maintained employee teleworking arrangements, per UNC System and public health guidelines. Current public health guidance, which permits us to look forward to a safe return to campus for fall semester, indicates that our emergency teleworking program is no longer necessary to ensure employee safety. This was reinforced in UNC System guidance issued June 23, which states: “Institutional use of flexible work arrangements, including telework and alternative work schedules provided under the public health emergency provisions of the Communicable Disease Policy, ends June 30, 2021.”
- Leaders of all campus operational areas have been directed to plan for the return of their staff to pre-pandemic work arrangements in preparation for our fall semester return to full campus operations.
- We have not set a specific campus-wide date for the end of current work arrangements at this time. Each operational leader will manage the return of their employees according to their specific operational needs leading into the Fall. Many employees have already returned to on-campus work to support preparations for the upcoming semester and this incremental return will continue throughout the remainder of the summer.
Post-Pandemic Flexible Work Arrangements
In the coming months, we will work to develop and implement a permanent campus policy balancing reasonable options to support employee work-life needs and our obligation to ensure that the operational needs of the university are always met.
- We will continue our thoughtful approach to developing a post-pandemic campus policy regarding work flexibility options for staff, which will include discussions of lessons learned during the pandemic.
- A permanent campus policy will comply with the full conditions of the new UNC System Regulation on Flexible Work Arrangements and Remote Work, which provides guidelines to ensure consistent standards across the UNC System.
Current CDC guideline, as well and local and state public health guidance, indicates that our previous increased-risk consideration process is no longer necessary. We recognize that some health conditions and other personal circumstances may still impact some employees’ ability to return to on-campus work.
- Employees who need a disability accommodation due to health-related concerns should complete the applicable Accommodation Request Procedure. Requests are reviewed confidentially on a case-by-case basis by the Office of Disability Resources.
- If the personal circumstance is not related to a health condition, employees should discuss the circumstance with their supervisor and the supervisor and/or employee may consult with the Office of Human Resources for assistance as necessary.
COVID-19 Employee Leave Options
Many of the emergency COVID-19 leave programs implemented to support employees throughout the pandemic ended effective June 30. However, certain programs have been temporarily extended beyond that date, although some in more limited form.
- Employees may continue to use vacation leave, sick leave and bonus leave interchangeably, through December 31, 2021, for COVID-19-related absences only.
- Until the end of the public health state of emergency declaration (currently extended through July 30 at 5:00 p.m.), employees may:
- Continue to use paid work time to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during regular work hours, with supervisor approval, up to eight hours in one day. This applies to both doses of vaccines requiring two doses.
- Receive paid administrative leave if they experience an adverse reaction to the vaccine. This applies to the day the vaccine is administered and up to one day after receipt of the vaccine. This applies to both doses of vaccines requiring two doses.
- Receive paid administrative leave if they are subject to a quarantine order, or advised by a health care provider or public health official to self-quarantine, and cannot telework. Absences due to isolation orders, non-quarantine possible exposures, or symptoms are no longer eligible for paid administrative leave and employees must apply accrued personal leave to these absences.
- Continue to access leave from our COVID-19 Shared Leave Bank for specific COVID-19-related absences and if they have exhausted all accrued personal leave.
More details on remaining leave options are posted on our Human Resources COVID-19 website.
Face Covering Policy
As a reminder, the university’s face covering policy has been updated to reflect that face coverings are still required in indoor locations on campus for unvaccinated individuals and remain optional for vaccinated individuals. Please review the university’s face coverings policy here.
Please remember that neither individuals nor departments may implement more stringent requirements than those prescribed in the face coverings policy.
As always, please contact the Office of Human Resources with questions or to discuss any concerns you may have. Please remember to visit our Human Resources COVID-19 website to access resilience and stress management resources.