UA System Office Moves to Limited Business Model

Friday, March 13, a state of emergency was declared for Alabama and the nation to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This announcement – which includes the closing of K-12 schools statewide starting Wednesday at 5 p.m. and relaxing absentee policies in some schools for the beginning of the week – has prompted questions about UAS policies that address remote work, essential staffing, and childcare issues.

With guidance from Human Resources, leaders across the System Office and our universities have assessed resources and staffing needs as we work to minimize in-person contact while maintaining essential services. The UAS Office will begin transitioning to a limited business model for employees Tuesday, March 17, to be fully implemented by 5 p.m. The limited business model will be in place for at least 14 days beginning March 17 and ending end-of-business March 30 until further notice.

This limited business model identifies employees in one of the below work groups as determined by the employee’s supervisor:

Workgroup 1: Essential employee who must report to the physical location of their work
Workgroup 2: Essential employee whose physical presence is not required and is able to work remotely via telecommuting
Workgroup 3: Non-essential employee who will not report to work and will not telecommute

At this time, a limited business model is in the best interests of the health and safety of our students and staff, and is an important community service to minimize the COVID-19 spread. During this time, it is vital that everyone in every group practices aggressive and meaningful social distancing as well as proper hygiene to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19. If you experience symptoms, call before you go to the doctor.

How will limited business operations work?
Employees are assigned to the appropriate group by their unit leadership/supervisor and should follow the supervisor’s instructions. Your group assignment is subject to change if business needs arise.

Workgroup 1: will report to work as normal (unless you are sick or have been in immediate contact with a person known to have COVID-19)

  • Maintain social distance and good hygiene. Utilize phone calls and virtual meetings as much as possible (even for small groups). Supervisors should make every effort to exclude student employees for on-campus work. If a supervisor thinks a student’s role is essential, approval must be granted by HR before a student is assigned to Workgroup 1.

Workgroup 2: will stay home and continue to work (as soon as possible but in effect no later than 5 p.m. Monday, March 16). If you do not need to return to your physical work location, don’t. Do not return to your physical work location if you are sick or have been immediate contact with a person known to have COVID-19.

  • Carefully read, complete, and sign the attached Temporary Telecommuting Agreement and send to your supervisor (scan or digital photo is OK), the supervisor should then forward the completed agreement to Human Resources (jharrison@uasystem.edu)
  • The temporary telecommuting agreement was established as part of UAS’s efforts to support business continuity. It is temporary and should not be confused with UAS’s standard telecommuting guidelines. Highlights of the agreement include:
    • Supervisors determine which positions and employees are suitable for telecommuting, not the individual employees themselves.
    • The temporary telecommuting agreement can be modified or terminated at any time, especially if operational needs warrant the change.
    • Employees should understand obligations regarding securing UAS records and transmitting information.
  • Workgroup 3: will not work (after being notified of your group assignment by your supervisor)

    • The COVID-19 pandemic makes it necessary to limit on-site personnel to only those whose functions are imperative during the limited business operations. Not all functions can be done remotely or are required under extreme circumstances.
    • Workgroup 3 employees will be paid administrative leave during the initial 14-day limited business period. In the event of a prolonged disruption, leadership will work with all sources (federal, state, etc.) in an effort to continue financial support of our employees.
    • If you need to go to your physical work location to get critical personal belongings you will need during the next two weeks, coordinate with your supervisor for approval and to stagger timing with others to minimize personal contact.

    Timekeeping: Due to moving to the limited business model, HR and Payroll will delay the go-live dates for online timekeeping and requests. Employees will not be using the new iSolved system to clock in, clock out, or request time off until HR/Payroll provides further notice.

    Phones: Rather than forwarding your work phone to your cell phone, please change your outgoing voicemail message on your work phone to instruct callers to call your cell phone directly. This will alleviate capacity constraints if too many work phones are forwarded. Click here for instructions on how to update your voicemail from on or off campus if you are physically located in Tuscaloosa: https://oit.ua.edu/article/voicemail-instruction-voip/. All others follow your campus’s instructions. For your convenience, a quick list phone listing that provides cell phones of UAS employees is provided.

    Please take care of yourself and each other. Utilize services such as UAB eMedicine and our Employee Assistance Program (scroll down the webpage for information on American Behavioral Services). Please see our website for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 as it relates to the UA System Office.