By SUSAN JONES
The draft proposal for a new permanent flexible work policy is open for comment through Feb. 27.
The University first developed an interim flexible work policy in July 2021, as many staff were returning to campus for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
The Office of Human Resources reports that there currently are 2,230 employees with flexible work agreements, which is down from 4,400 in fall of 2021. Those agreements vary both by work hours and location. Of the 2,230, there are 144 employee with agreements for fully remote arrangements.
David DeJong, senior vice chancellor for business and operations, said in a recent interview: “I don’t foresee remote work going away; I don't see it going nationally. … I think it’s working really well.” He said the flexible agreements are contracts that protect both sides.
The interim policy was done on an emergency basis to deal with the situations created by the pandemic. The new policy emphasizes more the benefits of flexible work for the employee and the University. It’s opening sentence reads: “Flexible work options demonstrate the University’s commitment to supporting employees’ work-life balance, efficient management of space and resources, employee recruitment and retention, sustainability initiatives and financial management.”
The policy applies to all full- and part-time staff, including temporary and student workers, but it does not apply to faculty. Flexible work arrangements can be initiated by the employee or their supervisor, but must be approved by the supervisor.
The policy outlines what needs to go into a discussion about flexible work arrangements, including training on remote work IT security; workstation security and safety; need for University equipment and dependent care arrangements, which are required.
Departments can opt out of offering flexible work arrangements if it is determined that the work can not be completed remotely. HR said this week that At this time, there are no departments that have renewed their opting out of flexible work arrangements, but there are areas with essential employees that have opted out in the past.
All University community members with Pitt student, faculty or staff log-in credentials can review and comment on the draft version of the University's Flexible Work policy through Feb. 26.
Get details about the policy development process and FAQs, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
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