May 13, 2020   |   Back to News Exec Branch Interim Workforce Return Guidance The following guidance is in effect starting May 10, 2020 and will remain in effect until further notice.
 
Consistent with preliminary guidance from the COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Command Center and Reopening Advisory Board, the Executive Branch will be extending the current remote workforce arrangements to ensure full adherence to the health and safety provisions of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan presented by the Baker -Polito Administration on May 11, 2020. The extension of these policies are important to complement measures underway in many sectors across Massachusetts to support required social distancing and a staged reopening.
 
The Reopening Advisory Board's anticipated May 18th report will provide greater clarity on any near-term shifts in telework options for employees tied to specific business reopening and related demand on in-person public services. Reasonable notice will be given to staff ahead of any significant changes to current guidance. 
 
Please read the guidance carefully and in its entirety. Please share relevant guidance with your staff.
  • HRD is extending the previously announced expanded scope of telework (also known as telecommuting or work from home) to respond to COVID-19 for employees with regular work functions, or alternative work assignments provided by managers, that can be performed remotely: 
  • Telework will be defined as performing regular work functions or alternative work assignments provided by managers at a place other than the regular assigned work location (typically, at home).
  • Employees will be considered to be teleworking if they are using state-issued computers or personal devices that comply with the EOTSS acceptable use policy to accomplish either their regular work functions or alternative work assignments provided by managers. Visit the page on Remote Access Technology FAQs for more information on personal device technology requirements.
  • Agencies and managers are expected to make their best efforts to provide employees with the required technology to perform their regular work functions from home. In the absence of the required technology, agencies and managers are expected to provide employees with alternative work assignments that can be completed from home with employees’ current state-issued technology or with employees’ personal devices that comply with the EOTSS acceptable use policy.
  • HRD is also extending the previously announced waivers of the following provisions of the Executive Department Telework Policy for employees with regular work functions, or alternative work assignments provided by managers, that can be performed remotely:​
  • Prohibition on providing dependent or adult care while working from home (teleworking)
  • Requirement for secretariats or agencies to establish a Secretariat or Agency Telework Program for the administration of the Executive Department Telework Policy
  • Requirement for managers/supervisors and employees to enter into a formal, written telework agreement with their agency and to provide that agreement to agency HR
  • HRD is preparing to implement virtual telework best practice training and telework technology training requirements. Both managers and non-manager employees who are currently teleworking will be required to take these trainings. HRD will begin rolling out these online training offerings in a phased manner starting in late May. Reasonable notice will be provided to staff regarding training requirements, expectations and deadlines.
  • HRD anticipates that some agencies may need to direct certain employees to begin reporting to the workplace on a full-time, part-time or intermittent basis in the coming weeks in order to restart select agency services that are currently paused, operating on a limited basis, or being provided through a modified approach. This need may also arise as a result of the impending expiration of executive orders or federal/state waivers that currently grant operational flexibility. Agency leadership should contact Marianne Dill at the Office of Employee Relations to discuss these situations and determine how to proceed.
  • HRD is keeping in place the timesheet guidance provided in Version 3 of the Timesheet Question and Answer (Q&A) document until further notice. Version 3 is the current version of the Timesheet Q&A document. No additional changes to the guidance in the document are being made at this time. Please read Version 3 of the Q&A carefully, distribute to your employees, and ensure that they have followed the guidance when you approve their submitted timesheets. Version 3 of the Q&A with the amended end date provision is provided through a link at bottom of this email. Time should be recorded consistent with Version 3 effective April 26, 2020 until further notice.​
  • HRD is continuing to provide agencies the ability to advance sick or vacation leave as needed to employees who do not have available sick or vacation time and need to use these leaves for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19. Employees who are advanced sick or vacation leave will have sick or vacation leave reduced as it is accrued until the advancement is paid back in full. Contact agency HR for more information.
  • Employees that have been required to report to work and need alternative childcare arrangements are encouraged to review the list of Exempt Emergency Child Care Programs that have been established across Massachusetts under the direction of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). For more information on this program or on reserving space with a provider, please visit the following EEC website: https://eeclead.force.com/apex/EEC_ChildCareEmergencyProcedure
  • We anticipate that some employees may encounter difficulties entering their time. Please reach out to your employees and reinforce the importance of reporting time diligently. The deadline for reporting time is each Thursday at 5pm. Please share the following Employee Self Service page with your employees so that they have it ready and available to enter their time: https://www.mass.gov/employee-self-service 
  • Likewise, if you have direct reports, please ensure that you approve their time promptly. The deadline for approving time is each Friday at noon.​
  • As a last resort, if an employee is unable to enter their time for a given week, please enter their time on their behalf. For subsequent weeks, please help the employee access Employee Self Service (HR/CMS) and ensure they follow the regular process for entering time.
 
For additional information on telework, Employee Self Service, and the emergency childcare programs, please visit the following links. These webpages will be updated on a regular basis with the latest guidance and additional resources:  
We appreciate your diligence in following these special procedures. Please reach out to your agency’s HR department for any further information you may need.
Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
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