Non-essential employees to continue to work remotely

Published April 23, 2020


To all employees from Mark Coldren, Associate Vice President, Human Resources

In response to the continuing COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Cuomo has extended to May 15 the directive indicating that all non-essential state employees in all New York State agencies and public authorities are not to report to work.

As a reminder, non-essential employees are defined as anyone who does not need to be physically present to perform job functions, or who are not required to meet the core function and programs of their agency or institution during the state’s emergency response.

Essential employees continue to be defined as anyone whose job function is essential to the effective operation of their agency or institution, or who must be physically present to perform their job; and those involved in the COVID-19 emergency response, and individuals who are currently providing a vital service for students who returned to campus and who are enrolled via distance learning. Once again, I would like to express the gratitude of the entire UB community to all of our essential colleagues for their efforts to maintain the operations of the university every day.

Please also note that state-funded student workers are still operating under the governor’s executive order, which provides direction on pay, working from home, and reporting to work only if deemed essential. Supervisors of student employees should continue to submit timesheets for work up until May 15. Federal Work Study (FWS) students should also continue to be paid until the identified funding is depleted. If any department has questions regarding FWS student funding, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Included with the governor’s May 15 extension is a host of tools for campuses to use, including but not limited to:

  1. The ability to work remotely.
  2. The ability to redeploy staff and provide alternate assignments.
  3. Continuation of pay for full-time and part-time employees currently through May 15 for anyone not working or not assigned to work.
  4. Continuation of pay for any employee quarantined up to 14 days.

In compliance with the State Executive Order for face coverings, UB’s Environment Health & Safety team is currently facilitating the distribution of masks for all essential employees. In anticipation of non-essential employees returning to UB campuses, we will need to prepare for resources and materials, per State guidance and mandates. To be more efficient and effective in this transition, all Personal Protective Equipment and disinfectant materials will be sourced centrally for the entire university. This would include face coverings and disinfectant cleaning materials such as Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer. Centralizing this process will enable consistent, compliance-based and cost-effective purchasing to be accomplished. Individual units should not initiate purchasing transactions for any of these items. Acquisition, storage and distribution will be managed centrally. More information about this process will provided as plans are developed for the return of non-essential employees to campus.