Further Guidance for Alternative Work Arrangements in Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 10, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

this updated message was sent to your supervisors and managers today for you to continue discussing alternative working arrangements in light of the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 situation.


Dear Supervisors and Managers:

We are continuing to update our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and are writing to provide additional information about alternative work arrangements, flexible scheduling, and the use of sick and paid administrative leaves. The campus is open but shifting to operating in an alternate way for instruction and work wherever possible. We need to maintain many operations even as much of our instruction is being transitioned to an online format, and we are seeking your support to provide increased “social distancing.” As described below, we have developed a Temporary Remote Work Agreement that can be used to document modifications to an employee’s regular work location, assignments, and schedule.

Alternative Work Arrangements
We continue to encourage all managers and supervisors to think creatively about how to support all employees, including student employees, in caring for their health - and reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19 - while still enabling them to continue to perform the important work they do. Our employees have different jobs and responsibilities and the modifications we can make to their work will vary based on those differences. There will not be one solution that works for or is right for everyone, and some individuals, due to the nature of their work, will be asked to continue to report to work.

In situations where work can temporarily be performed from home or an alternate location, we encourage managers and employees to work together to identify opportunities to allow employees to work remotely and document such arrangements on a Temporary Remote Work Agreement. For all employees, especially those whose work cannot easily be done remotely (including hourly, represented, and student workers), managers and employees should work together to develop a remote work plan to complete special assignments, projects, job-related reading or training. In developing a remote work plan, managers should be mindful of employees who may not have internet access. Some training recommendations are included at the end of this message.

Flexible Scheduling
Subject to the needs of the University, managers should consider flexible work arrangements such as having employees work on-site with reduced shifts (fewer hours or fewer days). This can be coupled with remote work assignments for the time not spent on-site.

Use of Sick Leave and Paid Administrative Leave
For specific guidance on the use of sick leave and paid administrative leave please refer to the guidance provided by the UC Office of the President. For assistance in applying the guidance to specific situations, please consult with the Academic Personnel Office, your Regional HR Manager or People & Culture. 

Next steps
We appreciate the kindness, care, and compassion that has been demonstrated by our community as we continue to work through this unpredictable situation. Campus leaders and UC leaders are continuing to meet daily to think through these issues and are preparing to take the necessary measures to protect the health of our employees. As we receive more information and service needs change, we will provide further guidance. Please contact the Academic Personnel Office, your Regional HR managers or People & Culture for assistance in managing any employment-related issues.

With gratitude,
Eugene & Ben

Eugene Whitlock, Assistant Vice Chancellor, People & Culture
Benjamin E. Hermalin, Vice Provost for the Faculty

As part of developing a remote work plan, managers should work with their employees to identify opportunities for both training and learning & development. The top training priority is the mandatory compliance training, which includes Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment training for managers and supervisors and for staffEthics and Cybersecurity training. The next priority for the campus community is Unconscious Bias Training.

For learning & development, all employees, especially managers and supervisors, should consider completing the online management program, Grow Today. This fully online workshop series is designed for all staff, from seasoned people leaders to those desiring to become a manager, supervisor, or team lead. It includes the core curriculum of the UC People Management Certificate and the full curriculum for the UC Implicit Bias Certificate

You can also take this time to prepare to ‘Achieve Together’ (our new Performance Management program) by visiting our updated website, which now includes FAQs, program guides and employee training. You can also check out our online learning opportunities for both individual contributors and managers/supervisors.

We also recommend checking out our transferable skills library. This provides curated learning paths from our partners at LinkedIn Learning, which is another source of development opportunities that all members of our UC Berkeley community can access.  


If you are a manager who supervises UC Berkeley employees without email access, please circulate this information to all.