COVID-19 Status of Operation and Telework Policy

July 27, 2020 (updated October 8, 2020)

(On Oct. 8, 2020, Dr. Bruce Jarrell announced that most Mandatory Teleworkers can anticipate to telework until at least March 31, 2021. Some employees may return prior to that date to perform approved on-campus work, and where practical Mandatory Teleworkers will be provided three (3) weeks notice. Mandatory Telework may continue after March 31, 2021, if pandemic conditions require.)

The University's Telework Policy (VII-6.11(A)) outlines ordinary rules and expectations surrounding telework. This COVID-19 Status of Operation and Telework Policy states temporary guidance and flexibilities related to telework in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Policy also offers temporary guidance related to the use of accrued leave. This Policy is effective commencing July 27, 2020 and will be in effect for an unspecified period of time while the University continues to address COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances. This Policy will be changed by the University as conditions change. This Policy will remain in effect until amended or rescinded by the President.

I. PANDEMIC CIRCUMSTANCES CATEGORIES OF OPERATION

The rules and expectations of COVID-19 Telework are impacted by the existing state of university operations. This Policy establishes three categories of operations at UMB. The President will determine which category applies to UMB’s operations based on the current COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances, guidance from the State, and recommendations of appropriate public health experts. UMB will remain open during all categories of operation listed below.

The categories of operation are:

a. Low Density Operations: During COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances, UMB may move to a state of Low Density Operations. During Low Density Operations, only employees who are Mission Critical - On Campus are allowed to be on campus or at other work sites as designated by the President. During a state of Low Density Operations, each Mandatory Teleworker is required to continue teleworking. Only mission critical activities will continue on campus and at other work sites.


During a period of Low Density Operations, an employee who is not able to work remotely, as determined by the direct supervisor, may be eligible to use Administrative Leave. Any employee who is "Mission Critical - On Campus" may be required to report to work for regularly scheduled shifts or work hours. As COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances change, the President may further reduce operations by pausing certain Mission Critical activities, and an employee deemed Mission Critical – On Campus must stay in contact with the direct supervisor to determine whether the assignment, shifts, or work hours change.

An employee who has a worksite other than the UMB campus or another UMB facility should defer to the operational status of that worksite.

b. Moderate Density Operations: During COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances, UMB may move to a period of Moderate Density Operations as a means to dramatically reduce the density of individuals on campus. During Moderate Density Operations, a UMB employee who is able to telework, as determined by the employee’s direct supervisor, is required to do so ("Mandatory Teleworkers"). A Mandatory Teleworker’s job may require periodic or part-time presence on site. A Mandatory Teleworker may be allowed and/or required to return to campus or the regular off campus worksite for purpose of fulfilling solely the job functions requiring on-campus presence, while continuing telework for the remainder of the job functions. At minimum, UMB will operate in a state of Moderate Density Operations under this Policy while the State of Maryland is operating in Level II or higher of its Pandemic Flu and Other Infectious Diseases Attendance and Leave Policy​​.

No Mandatory Teleworker should be allowed or required to return to campus unless the appropriate review processes have been completed and required approval has been obtained. Sporadic presence of a Mandatory Teleworker (defined as one half day up to four half days per month) must be coordinated and approved by a Dean (with notification to the Provost) or Vice President based on a compelling reason. Part-time presence of a Mandatory Teleworker (defined as more than four half days per month) must be approved by UMB as part of a more comprehensive and coordinated return-to-campus plan (e.g., Experiential Learning, Research, etc.) or as part of a targeted group plan (e.g., Financial Services) based on the criticality of these functions. Each Mandatory Teleworker allowed or required to be on campus on a sporadic or part-time basis may be required to complete training and daily symptom screening.

c. Normal Operations: If COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances reflect a low to moderate number of COVID-19 cases, consistent with the normal incidence of seasonal influenza, UMB may move to Normal Operations. During Normal Operations, Mandatory Teleworkers may be directed to return to work at their regular work site. Where practical, Mandatory Teleworkers will be given 3 weeks advanced notice of returning to Normal Operations.

II. RULES AND EXPECTATIONS OF TELEWORK DURING PANDEMIC CIRCUMSTANCES

a. Each employee who is expected to perform some or all of the employee’s UMB job functions via telework during COVID-19 Pandemic Circumstances is required to complete a COVID-19 Telework Agreement to be approved by the employee’s direct supervisor. The COVID-19 Telework Agreement offers the employee and the supervisor the option to define work and scheduling expectations with specificity. At minimum, each employee will use the COVID-19 Telework Agreement to acknowledge rules and policies applicable to all teleworkers.

b. Subject to Section I(b) above, part time or sporadic presence at an employee’s primary workplace for on-site operations may be required during Mandatory Telework. Transportation and parking costs for such attendance are the employee's responsibility.

c. Consistent with standard UMB policies, advanced approval of the direct supervisor must be obtained for any annual leave or accumulated holiday leave to be taken during Mandatory Telework. Additionally, an employee must notify the supervisor in advance of taking personal or sick leave. Mandatory teleworkers who are not able to perform their telework functions are expected to use accrued leave and should contact Human Resources with any questions about leave eligibility.

d. An employee should be permitted to work a flexible work schedule unless it is operationally important that the employee work defined hours. In order to have a flexible work schedule, a non-exempt employee must acknowledge 1) shift differentials are not available for mandatory telework and 2) overtime is not authorized and must be approved by an employee’s direct supervisor.

e. An employee is required to notify the direct supervisor if the conditions identified in the employee’s COVID-19 Telework Agreement change or if the employee’s telework location changes.

f. Mandatory telework is not authorized at sites that are not a reasonable commuting distance from an employee's regular worksite. With the exception of brief periods of time, telework should be performed from an employee’s regular residence within commuting distance of the worksite.

g. A mandatory teleworker is required to comply with all information security rules and protocols issued by UMB or academic or administrative units of UMB.

h. A mandatory teleworker who is issued UMB equipment is required to comply with all rules applicable to the use and maintenance of UMB property, and may be required to sign an additional acknowledgement related to this responsibility.

i. During Emergency Operations, an employee who has been approved to perform some or all job functions on site may be required to stop or limit on site work functions and to perform more telework functions.

III. LEAVE FLEXIBILITIES DURING PANDEMIC CIRCUMSTANCES 

a. UMB employees accrue leave in accordance with standard University policies, and leave should be taken consistent with these policies. Failure to take one’s personal, holiday, or annual leave on the basis of UMB, State, or Federal travel restrictions or guidelines is not a basis for requesting a Payment for Denied Annual Leave under USM VII-7.00 or UMB II-2.40(a).

b. Employees needing leave for reasons related to COVID-19 may be entitled to additional leave, including advanced sick leave, consistent with temporary flexibilities issued by the University System of Maryland and federal law.