Temporary alternate work assignments

Published March 17, 2020


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

In this continuing evolving situation, UB is taking proactive and prudent measures to ensure the health and safety of the UB community in accordance with the guidance provided by Federal and State governments, including the SUNY Chancellor, SUNY Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Erie County Department of Health. It is important that you review UB’s COVID-19 website to receive the latest information and guidance from the University (https://www.buffalo.edu/coronavirus/).

While we understand that the novel coronavirus is creating anxiety and uncertainty, we must follow university policies and practices regarding health and safety issues including the approval of alternate work locations.

University Guidance

  1. Students, faculty and staff are cautioned against making judgments regarding a fellow student or colleague’s health. If you see someone who is clearly ill, encourage them to contact their health care provider or UB’s Student Health Services.
  2. Faculty and staff who are not feeling well are asked to stay home and consult their health care provider as needed. Please notify your supervisor that you will be absent.
  3. If faculty or staff are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, contact your health care provider. Be sure to call ahead and tell your provider about any travel and symptoms you are experiencing.   Faculty or staff must notify their supervisor and then Mark Coldren, associate vice president for human resources, at (716) 645-8155 or mcoldren@buffalo.edu to ensure that the University takes appropriate preventive actions. 
  4. In the event that the Erie County Health Department determines an employee meets the criteria for possible infection, local and state health authorities will work with the university to determine appropriate steps.  Information about an individual’s medical condition is confidential, and should be disclosed only to HR, supervisors, medical and safety personnel and others with a need to know.
  1. If you voluntarily disclose that you have a specific medical condition or disability that puts you at increased risk for COVID-19, or that you are living with someone with such a condition or disability, the department will keep this information confidential.  Your supervisor will consult with their unit HR manager to determine the type of assistance that will be needed to mitigate your risk. The appropriate response will depend upon your job duties, responsibilities, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Temporary Alternate Work Assignments

By direction from the NYS Governor’s office, effective March 17, 2020 and until further notice, all non-essential SUNY employees shall be assigned to perform their work-related duties and responsibilities from alternate work locations, via telecommuting.  This telecommuting assignment is part of a telecommuting pilot program, recently negotiated by New York State and the CSEA, PEF and UUP labor organizations.  Both the telecommuting assignment and the telecommuting program apply to all SUNY employees, including M/C designated employees.

The Essential employee designation includes those employees whose worksite presence is necessary to the continued operation of the University, who are integrally involved in the COVID-19 response effort, or those who must be present at the workplace in order to carry out their work-related duties and responsibilities.  Non-essential status may change at the discretion of management; accordingly, employees should contact their supervisor daily to confirm their status.  As the operational needs of the COVID-19 response change, management may modify specific job functions and/or work locations.

All telecommuters will be required to submit a work plan that includes hours worked and work completed. Employees must treat a telecommuting day as a regular workday in which the employee must maintain a regular work routine. More information about this policy as well as necessary forms will be provided as soon as possible.  Employees will be required to complete the UB Temporary Alternate Work Assignment form (attached to this email).  Completed forms will require unit leadership signatures and then should be submitted to the Office of Human Resources.  If you have any questions, please contact Mark Coldren at mcoldren@buffalo.edu, or 645-8155, or the HR Service Center at 645-7777.