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Telecommuting and Employee Support

March 17, 2020

To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President and David A. Tirrell, Provost
Date: March 17, 2020
Re: Telecommuting and Employee Support

Every day, Caltech staff provide services critical to the Institute's operation and to the success of its research and education mission. We are grateful for the dedication of so many Caltech employees and we are committed to the health and safety of every member of the Caltech community. In that spirit, Caltech is implementing, effective immediately, a reduced on-campus operations model that defers activities, or transitions work to remote locations (home office, private space within your residence, etc.), whenever possible.

To support staff members who are telecommuting, Caltech's Human Resources, Information Management Systems and Services (IMSS), and the Office of the Provost have created a Caltech Telecommuting website, which includes telecommuting guidelines, information on connecting remotely to Caltech systems, a set of tools for collaboration, and guidelines that explain how to handle work calls remotely.

A number of responsibilities, however, require employees to work on-site. Where necessary, on-site work should be carried out in a manner that is consistent with social distancing practices. In addition, campus leaders are exploring opportunities to redeploy skillsets of staff whose regular work area has reduced operations. Please speak with your manager to determine whether specific tasks can be deferred or should be transitioned to a remote work location, how best to perform your on-site work with appropriate social distancing, and whether your skillsets can be redeployed outside your usual area.

Employees should work with their managers to ensure that required hours and responsibilities are met whenever possible. If your work cannot be done remotely, if you can only telecommute for a portion of the day, or if there is a temporary lack of work because of COVID-19-related response measures and your skillset cannot be redeployed, the Institute has committed to continue to pay all full-time and part-time benefits-eligible employees at the current base rate of pay. This policy is effective March 16 and will also apply to those members of our community who are self-isolating in compliance with public health requirements, or who are caregivers to young, elderly, or ill family members without other means of care.

Employees who are affected by any of the above circumstances should work with their managers to determine required work responsibilities. Similarly, if you are ill, you should charge that time to sick leave; if you are taking a planned vacation, you should charge that time to vacation leave.

These are exceptional times that have required all of us to take swift action and make drastic changes to our daily routines as part of a collective effort to mitigate the spread of disease. As circumstances unfold, we will review this among other temporary policies, and communicate changes with you and your managers and supervisors. We recognize the uncertainty these restrictive measures have brought, both on campus where we have reduced operations in many areas, and at home where many confront new challenges around personal and family care. We will do our best to support you and to keep you well-informed of Caltech's plans and processes.