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Back to School Guidance for Commonwealth Employees 

As schools announce their re-opening plans for the COVID-19 pandemic, commonwealth employees may have questions or concerns about their work schedule and/or temporary telework status.

Employees should review the following information to understand and evaluate their options for leave, alternate work schedules and telework. Employees should consult with their supervisors and must receive approval for any changes. 

Work Schedules

  • Alternate work schedules (AWS), including flexible AWS, may be considered where operationally feasible and in accordance with alternate work schedule policy. 

  • Whether teleworking or reporting to the workplace, employees must obtain advance written approval from their supervisor before beginning any change to their work hours or working outside of normal business hours.

Telework

  • The commonwealth will continue to maximize the use of temporary telework and personal safety protocols for those reporting to the workplace in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

  • Temporary telework arrangements that are currently in place in agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction will continue until at least January 1, 2021 unless an agency has an operational need to return employees to a physical work location or if the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency is rescinded prior to December 31, 2020. Decisions involving child learning and/or dependent care arrangements that will occur after January 1, 2021 should not be based on a current, temporary telework arrangement or the expectation that a future, temporary telework arrangement may be approved. 
  • Employees who telework are expected to be available to both their supervisors and/or customers and to be able to perform their essential job functions during their scheduled work shift. 

  • Employees are required to use leave when not working and engaged in personal business such as dependent care, in-home child learning, etc. 

  • Commonwealth-provided devices and equipment are for employee use only. Under no circumstance should any other household member use commonwealth-provided equipment.  Please refer to Management Directive 205.34 – Amended - Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy.

Leave

      • Eligible employees may request ECC leave if their child's school/care is closed due to COVID-19 or the school's reopening plan allows the option of selecting a classroom, hybrid virtual/classroom or virtual learning model due to COVID-19.

      • Effective August 17, 2020, ECC leave may be requested intermittently (less than full day increments) on a prospective basis. Retroactive changes will not be permitted. Approval is at the agency's discretion. Employees should attempt to develop a schedule, working cooperatively with their supervisory staff, which meets the employee's needs and in consideration of the times that are least disruptive to normal operations.

      • Employees are expected to continue to follow applicable procedures for requesting absences, including the call-off notification procedures.

      • ECC leave is part of an employee's overall FMLA entitlement. If you had an FMLA event within the past 12 months, your ECC leave entitlement will be less than 10 weeks. Please contact the FMLA Absence Services Team prior to making decisions regarding your dependent's school/daycare arrangements. 

      • The FMLA Absence Services Team may be reached at ra-spfabsence@pa.gov or 717.346.4667.