The deadline to submit requests for modified work arrangements has passed. This page will be updated should subsequent opportunities arise.
Early in March Case Western Reserve announced that the university planned for a Fall 2021 semester featuring full occupancy of residence halls and in-person classes and extracurriculars—in short, an experience much like the ones before COVID-19 arrived.
Part of realizing that aspiration is ensuring that our buildings and grounds again feature the hum of activity and energy that usually characterize our campus. For this and other reasons, the university expects employees to resume work on campus as of August 23—unless their department or unit has submitted a request for a modified work arrangement.
After you click Send, the file will be automatically uploaded to a secure Box folder and you will receive a reply email confirming that your file has been uploaded to Box.
Some schools and units may require an additional level of review before form submittal; supervisors should ask their leaders whether such processes apply within their schools or broader UGEN areas.
As you complete your form, please keep in mind that:
- Only exempt employees may participate in the hybrid pilot program;
- Approved pilot programs should plan to have 85 – 95 percent of staff present on any given day;
- The plan should specify how the hybrid schedule will achieve its intended goals or objectives and, in turn, what measures you will use to measure its progress toward each of those goals.
Please know that Case Western Reserve values all non-exempt employees and recognizes their vital importance to the institution’s ability to advance research and education. Unfortunately, federal regulations involving exempt and non-exempt classifications can limit employers’ ability to offer similar flexibility to both groups.
While we were unable to offer non-exempt employees modified work arrangements this month, this initial round of pilot projects will inform subsequent efforts that likely will include non-exempt employees.
In simplest terms, providing non-exempt employees the opportunity to work remotely outside of an emergency situation (like the pandemic) requires that organizations establish clear structures and processes that allow the university to comply fully with federal guidelines.
For example, the university must be able to demonstrate that non-exempt employees are:
- properly compensated for their actual time worked;
- provided overtime compensation when working more than their designated hours per week;
- communicating with their supervisors regarding their work hours—including instances when overtime hours may accrue; and
- receiving clear direction from their supervisors when overtime is or is not permitted.
As noted in the Aug. 2 email and associated guidance, we are requiring supervisors participating in the first pilot projects to demonstrate their success by establishing measurable outcomes. This aspect of the process is just one of the ways that we hope to identify ways to include non-exempt employees in subsequent projects. We anticipate the application process for the next round will begin in October.
Because the university does not have experience in operating a campus with in-person classes and activities—as well as full residential housing—after the pandemic. We need to see the impact of such significant population increases on the university’s ability to fulfill all aspects of its mission before determining whether remote or hybrid models should be a regular part of the university’s operations.
Given existing vaccination rates, we do not anticipate a full return to remote operations. That said, if such a transition becomes necessary to protect the health of the campus, we will implement it.
If the university receives and approves a request for modified work arrangements from your unit or department that includes remote work for you, then you can continue to work remotely. The more important question is whether the department or unit maintains or improves its expected performance with one or more of its people working remotely.
If you are unable to come to campus because of a medical reason, you may apply for an accommodation from the Office of Equity.
Each request is reviewed individually by a team of legal and human resources professionals based on the information the supervisor provides. Some units may appear largely similar, but in fact have unique aspects of their staffing or responsibilities.
The offices of General Counsel and Human Resources will review the requests as expeditiously as possible. Supervisors who want to give their employees greater notice should plan to submit their requests as early as possible.
Right now, the university is focused squarely on having a safe, healthy, and successful start to the academic year. The university will provide additional details regarding the process of evaluating possible policy changes next month; schools and units will need to collect information over time before it is sufficient for thorough and credible analysis.