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A Message from Carlos García Regarding Temporary HR Policy Changes Due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Dear Fellow Employees,

I want to begin by expressing on behalf of the College our deep appreciation for everybody’s hard work, diligence, and concern as we navigate the difficult undertaking of pandemic response. Without the high quality of your contributions, Vassar’s ongoing response to this could not be successful. Following up on President Bradley’s message to the College yesterday, I am writing to provide additional information about two temporary HR policy changes that we have made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: if you or a member of your household may have a condition that places you at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, please read this message carefully—it includes measures intended to support your staying healthy. If you are unsure of the risk factors for serious illness, please refer to the materials included at the end of this message and contact your doctor.

In her message yesterday, President Bradley emphasized a goal of reducing the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 on campus while maintaining campus operations to the extent possible—and thereby continuing to support the students and employees who depend on Vassar. The following changes are designed to support this objective while enabling members of our community to safeguard themselves if they or members of their households are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

“Telework” Program

In order to reduce risk for those who must be on campus each day, and to avoid interrupting the jobs of some higher risk individuals, we have created a temporary, optional Telework program. Beginning March 18, teleworking will be available to employees whose supervisor determines that, due to special circumstances, their role can be performed off-campus.

This program will conclude on April 10, unless circumstances lead the College to extend it.

Participating in Telework

  • Visit go.vassar.edu/telework to learn about the information and technology needed to create a successful remote environment
  • Discuss the teleworking option with your supervisor and, if approved, identify the digital tools you’ll need to telework
  • If your supervisor approves, they will email their approval to both humanresources@vassar.edu and servicedesk@vassar.edu, along with any needs that have been identified
  • While teleworking, you will receive your regular pay

Note: Supervisors and employees are expected to coordinate their off-campus working days based on the unique activities of their unit. Supervisors retain discretion to specify the days on which employees are approved for telework; with appropriate notice, they may require that employees either report to campus intermittently, or otherwise conclude the teleworking arrangement. Supervisors may not give preferential Telework access to employees based on familial status or any of the criteria set forth in the Vassar College Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment.

Temporary Accommodations

Vassar’s leave policies are temporarily modified, effective immediately, to encourage employees to stay home when they are sick and to support employees who themselves or whose household members may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Employees who are ineligible for the telework program may be excused from work for medical or personal reasons. This modified leave option is available to employees through April 30, unless circumstances lead the College to extend it.

Requesting Temporary Accommodation

Hourly-Paid, Benefit-Eligible Employees:

  1. Submit a Medical Accommodation Request to Human Resources
    Payment: Your first week will be paid from your own accruals. Thereafter, you will receive 60% of wages from Vassar College. You may elect to supplement the difference (up to 40%) with your “sick bank” (CWA, Auxiliary, Non-union Staff) or your own accruals.
  2. Submit a Non-Medical Accommodation Request to Human Resources.
    Payment: Your absence will be paid from your sick accruals; once your sick accruals are exhausted, you will either be unpaid or may elect to use personal or vacation accruals.
    There will be no disciplinary action due to the absence.

Administrators (including hourly-paid Administrators):

  1. Submit a Medical Accommodation Request to Human Resources
    Payment: There will be no change in your pay.
  2. Submit Non-Medical Accommodation Request to Human Resources.
    Payment: Your first week will be paid from your personal/sick time; thereafter, you will be unpaid or may elect to use vacation accruals. There will be no disciplinary action due to the absence.

Non-Benefit Eligible Employees with Regular Work Schedule:

  1. Submit a Medical Accommodation Request to Human Resources
    Payment: Your first week will be paid from your own sick accruals (if you have any). Thereafter, you will receive 60% of wages from Vassar College.
  2. Submit a Non-Medical Accommodation Request to Human Resources.
    Payment: You will be unpaid.
    There will be no disciplinary action due to the absence.

Risk Factors

For more information about the risk factors of COVID-19, please refer to these materials:

Finally, let us take care of ourselves and each other by taking steps to stay healthy and avoid the spread of COVID-19—stay home when you are sick, wash your hands properly, and follow cough and sneeze etiquette. Contact your doctor if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or who recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

I expect that employees will have questions about these changes—we welcome them. Please do not hesitate to contact humanresources@vassar.edu with any questions, and continue to monitor the college’s COVID-19 website for important updates: https://www.vassar.edu/coronavirus-updates/.

Thank you again for your continued efforts to support our College community, including each other.

With deep appreciation,

Carlos L. García
Vice President for Technology and Human Resources
Chief Information Officer
845-437-7230

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, March 13, 2020