Most Harvard Staff Will Be Remote through June 30

And other changes to Harvard’s COVID-19 workforce policies

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Most of Harvard’s faculty and staff members will continue working remotely through June 30, 2021, executive vice president Katie Lapp announced in an email to University employees today. While Harvard has successfully limited the spread of COVID-19 on campus, Lapp wrote, “cases are rising in the Commonwealth and across the country. Unfortunately, this means that the pandemic will continue to affect our lives, and how we do our work, for some time to come. “ 

Last month, Harvard’s schools announced plans for the spring semester, some of which include a hybrid teaching component that will require some faculty and staff to come to campus. “As the spring semester unfolds,” Lapp added, “schools or departments may ask individuals to return to campus for certain activities, in which case adequate advance notice will be provided.”  

Citing Harvard’s “continued financial pressure as students defer admission, on-campus programming is canceled, financial aid needs increase, and new costs for campus testing, tracing, and safety must be absorbed,” Lapp announced a change to Harvard’s emergency excused absence policy, which was implemented earlier this year to sustain the full pay and benefits of employees whose work cannot be performed due to the pandemic (dining-hall workers in a school that is fully remote, for example). Starting January 15, up to 70 percent of pay for these workers will be covered; it was not immediately clear how their benefits will be affected. Staff members who work through third-party contractors (security guards who are employed by Securitas, for example) will “in general, be ineligible” for the program, though the University has not yet specified which workers that includes.  

The University will also extend through June 30 a benefit that allows staff members to take up to 10 days of paid time off “to care for well dependents whose schooling or care arrangements have been disrupted by COVID-19,” Lapp announced. And, in recognition of staff members’ “remarkable creativity, grit, and determination” this year, Harvard’s winter recess for employees will now begin on Monday, December 21 rather than at noon on December 24 as it typically does.   

Read more articles by: Marina N. Bolotnikova

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