Child and Dependent Care Guidance for Supervisors
Colorado State University is sensitive to the needs of our workforce during this unprecedented time, including those who may identify as Vulnerable Individuals, those who live or care for Vulnerable Individuals, and those parents and guardians adapting to the changing landscape of K-12 virtual school schedules. We expect all supervisors to offer maximum flexibility and to consider all options to support our workforce. We also urge supervisors to maintain ongoing communication with employees right now; this is especially important given the numerous challenges many are facing. Employee needs will likely evolve in the coming months and we know that extending empathy and grace will be critical to our employees’ continued health, well-being, and overall experience of their support from and value to the university.
Supervisors are asked to consider flexible options to support our employees who have school-aged children or dependents who require care.
For those who qualify, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides an option for a leave of absence to care for children under 18 years old if onsite school or childcare is not available, or if an employee has dependents who require care. Leave may be taken in a continuous block or intermittently. If an employee qualifies for this leave, CSU is legally required to provide it. (https://hr.colostate.edu/current-employees/benefits/sc/leave/family-medical-leave/).
The university has also created its own resources to support employees who have child or dependent care needs. Employees can apply for a temporary work adjustment through an online application (https://oeo.colostate.edu/#1585667398674-b35b9a43-a247). CSU Human Resources and the CSU Office of Equal Opportunity will work with supervisors and employees to explore options.
We also recognize the public-health-defined category of “Vulnerable Individuals,” individuals who have a qualifying medical condition or who are age 65 or older, which puts them at increased risk if they contract COVID-19. Employees who qualify as Vulnerable Individuals or who live with or care for a Vulnerable Individual should also apply for a temporary work assignment using the same application (https://oeo.colostate.edu/#1585667398674-b35b9a43-a247). They can then work with the Office of Equal Opportunity and with their supervisor to identify a modified assignment.
Modified assignments are considered temporary in nature and may be revisited prior to January 1, 2021 to determine if the arrangement should continue. Supervisors are encouraged to reach out to their university HR partners or to CSU HR and to consider the questions below in conversations with employees:
- What type of adjustment is the employee requesting? If the modification request has an impact on departmental operations, what other creative solutions could be considered?
- Is continued work from home a possibility? If not, what other adjustments can be considered?
- Can the employee’s schedule be altered?
- Can work hours be flexed to allow the employee to support personal needs?
- If the employee is required to report to the job site, can the regular schedule be adjusted (days of the week, shift/hour change?)
- Can their role be adjusted temporarily while supporting the needs of the unit?
- Is the unit applying an equitable approach to all employee requests?
- Have we considered all the options?
Scenario 1: Susan has been asked to return to the office; her role is to provide customer service to students and staff. Susan requests to work remotely because her elementary-school-aged child needs support and care during school hours.
Options: Susan and her supervisor Marline determine the best approach is to set “office hours” for support. Marline posts a sign on the door and updates the website directing questions to Susan’s email and work phone; this allows Susan to work virtually from home. Marline and Susan partner to set office hours for questions, provide an email address and service level agreement to reply within 24 hours to inquiries. The department also explores setting up a computer kiosk to phone or video chat with Susan during office hours via Teams to speak with the person directly.
Scenario 2: Anthony is an essential in-person employee who requests an adjustment to his schedule to care for his school-aged child. Anthony’s regularly scheduled shift begins at 8:00 AM.
Options: Anthony’s supervisor Gillian works with Human Resources to create an alternative shift that will provide Anthony the ability to support his child with online learning during the day and report to work later in the afternoon. Providing Anthony with an adjusted start time of 3 pm and including guidance to perform tasks and a way to contact Gillian for guidance after hours allows Anthony the opportunity to balance his personal and work obligations.
Scenario 3: Theresa requests a modified assignment to care for her elderly mother who is considered a Vulnerable Individual. Theresa is a faculty member with a course schedule that requires a physical presence in the classroom to deliver instruction to students.
Options: Theresa’s department chair and Dean review the course schedule to determine if another faculty member could deliver the content in person this semester or if the course can be delivered online. Susan’s department chair is able to modify the course to a primarily online delivery for the fall semester and pair a Graduate Teaching Assistant with Theresa to support the limited in-person class experience.
Scenario 4: Martin is an essential in-person employee who requests to work from home to care for and assist in the virtual learning plan for his school-aged child.
Options: Martin’s supervisor Natasha arranges for necessary work that would allow him to work from home part-time and works with Human Resources to gain approval for Martin to take leave for the remainder of the week under the Families First Corona Response Act. Another option they considered was to reassign Martin to an alternate assignment that would have allowed him to perform work remotely; however, Martin needed an adjusted schedule to support the distance learning of his elementary-aged child.