UUP, state extend telecommuting agreement for SUNY employees

United University Professions has reached agreement with the state to extend a telecommuting agreement that will allow employees to work from home or from alternative work locations.

The agreement, which was set to expire Oct. 2, will now run through the end of the day on Jan. 1, 2021. It allows UUP-represented employees to telecommute if operationally feasible and directs that telecommuting requests should be granted to the greatest extent possible, said UUP President Fred Kowal.

“This is an important agreement that will reduce density on SUNY campuses and allow employees who wish to work from home to continue to do so,” said Kowal. “It also ensures that supervisors will make every effort to grant employees’ telecommuting requests.”

“We are grateful to the state and to new SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras for working with us to extend this agreement,” Kowal said.

The extension includes no changes to the telecommuting agreement. Click HERE to view the telecommuting agreement.

The agreement has been in place since March 13; both sides agreed to it as a pilot program and a “multi-layered strategy to prevent sustained spread of COVID-19 in New York State, especially among the state workforce,” according to a copy of the agreement.

Kowal said the agreement extension is extremely important for parents—especially those with young children and children being schooled remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic—with child care issues It’s not a perfect solution, but Kowal said he was hopeful that the agreement would help parents juggle work and parenting duties.

“What the agreement will do is allow parents to continue working from home, which will limit their exposure to coronavirus while caring for their children,” said Kowal.

Telecommuting employees will be subject to a work plan which will define the telecommuting schedule and the work to be performed while telecommuting. SUNY cannot provide computer or office equipment or provide reimbursement for costs of internet access to employees interested in telecommuting but can provide necessary office supplies.

The agreement provides for the possibility that telecommuting may be mandated. However, it will not be mandated if the employee does not have the necessary computer equipment or internet access to work from the telecommuting work location.