New York and SUNY approve new telecommuting program for all employee classifications

The Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) and SUNY have approved a SUNY-wide telecommuting program.

New Paltz will adopt the parameters of this program, which will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2021 and replaces the campus’s Flexible Work Options framework communicated earlier this summer. We have high hopes that the program will be extended beyond that date and become a permanent tool in supporting our current and future workforce, but there is currently a sunset date.

This program grants the College authority to support telecommuting arrangements from all employee classifications, including UUP, CSEA, M/C, PEF, PBA, GSEU and NYSCOPBA. While we welcome the added flexibility this provides our campus, we remind employees that telecommuting is not an entitlement and may not be possible for all areas or all positions. Decisions on telecommuting remain at the discretion of the College.

This telecommuting program requires at least 50% of the employee’s time to be in person on campus. There is no option for 100% remote work under this program. Employees can achieve the minimum 50% time worked in person through a range of scheduling options depending on operational need.

Your proposed schedule must be discussed with your supervisor and requires approval by the divisional vice president. Supervisors must take into consideration the operational needs of their area, the constituents they serve, and whether employees currently meet or exceed performance expectations.

Employees must remain in good standing and demonstrate that they are able to continue working effectively on this schedule. Supervisors have discretion to change an employee’s telecommuting plan as necessary to meet institutional needs.

Employees must use a new Telecommuting Program Application and Work Plan form to request a telecommuting arrangement under this SUNY-wide plan. This form was developed by the Governor’s Office on Employee Relations in consultation with unions, and includes documentation of work undertaken in the remote arrangement. Supervisors will be responsible for ensuring that work articulated in the plan is being met and that operational needs are supported properly within the plan(s) approved.

If an employee has a medical need that impacts their ability to meet the full scope of their obligation or schedule, the employee must first complete the ADA process. Telecommuting may be one tool to support medical recommendations, but must be reviewed within the ADA process.

This program dovetails well with our recently announced Flexible Work Options framework for MC and UUP employees. Those who have submitted and been approved under this framework will not need to resubmit a new plan or seek reapproval unless the current plan includes less than 50% of in-person presence. You will be asked to transition to the new form for scheduling and documentation of work. Those who need to move their plan to the new form are asked to do so by Sept. 3, 2021. Forms can be scanned to hrdi@newpaltz.edu.

Instructional faculty do not need to submit a request for telecommuting but must continue to communicate with department chairs and deans regarding any requests for changes in modalities of instruction or changes to obligation.

The Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion will offer trainings to support planning under this new program on the dates and times listed below. Union representatives are welcome to attend these sessions. If there are questions or concerns, please direct them to Ginger Jurecka-Blake, director of organizational development & training, and we will try to provide answers or clarifications promptly.

 

SUNY Remote Work Info Sessions

Monday, Aug. 16, 10 – 11 a.m. (link to register)

Friday, Aug. 20, 2 – 3 p.m. (link to register)

 

We hope that this new telecommuting program will be one of a range of tools to better support our employees.