Updates, 5/18/2020

Work from Home

On Thursday, May 14, the Governor extended his order that non-essential employees work from home through May 28th. The new order does modify his earlier order to permit public employers to reopen those activities that are consistent with the reopening phase in their region.
What this means is that nearly all our bargaining unit members will continue to work at the location where they presently are working at least through May 28th. The only exceptions to this may be a small number of our members who are at campuses in regions of the State that are now in Phase 1 of reopening and who engaged in what are defined as Phase 1 economic activities.
For our bargaining unit, that may include work involving agriculture (those predominantly at the tech campuses taking care of livestock and farms, most of whom were deemed essential from the start) and those who may be supervising a construction project on campus and perhaps maintenance supervisors. We are working with SUNY to clarify this small group of individuals as well as what may occur when regions move to Phase 2. In that stage, there will be a greater number of professionals who may be asked to return to work on campus. However, if the Governor does not shift from his stated plan on reopening, nothing will happen on that for at least 2 weeks.

Holiday Leave

As we continue to deal with the great variety of issues we face during the Coronavirus Crisis period, we have achieved another success that I wanted to share with you. We have reached agreement with GOER and SUNY to extend the time for expiration of holiday compensatory time earned for work on the Memorial Day 2019 and July 4th 2019 holidays. The Memorandum of Agreement reflecting this agreement is attached.

Article 23.5 of the State/UUP Agreement provides that holiday compensatory time which calendar and college year employees earn when they work on holidays normally must be used within one year of when it was earned. If not used, it is forfeited at the end of the year.. This MOA extends the forfeiture date for holiday comp time earned in May and July 2019 to December 31, 2020. This gives us an additional five to seven months to use the time we’ve earned.

It’s obviously very timely, as the agreement will provide employees who have been unable to use this holiday compensatory time because of recent COVID 19 response efforts with additional time to use this leave. This is primarily (although not exclusively) a potential benefit for our members at the hospitals who have had leave plns, and in some cases previously approved leave requests, disrupted by COVID 19 response efforts.


The Department of Civil Service is aware that third party companies, unaffiliated with The Empire Plan, are targeting enrollees with offers to obtain medications for no cost or reduced cost. Do not provide your personal information to these companies; they are not authorized by The Empire Plan. If you are able to provide details regarding the call such as the phone number and the medications they say they will cover, please report this information to the Plan by calling the toll-free number at 1-877-7-NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447) and selecting option 4 to reach the Prescription Drug Program. If you have any questions about your Empire Plan prescription drug coverage, please visit www.cs.ny.gov/empireplanrxprogram or call The Empire Plan toll-free number.