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Telework Arbitration Decision (and short-term expansion)


(1) Telework Constraints Temporarily Relaxed

Josh Geballe, a.k.a Connecticut's Chief Operating Officer, has advised agencies to loosen up Telework constraints over the next couple of weeks.  This is for several reasons including that  testing requirements have been temporarily suspended and the COVID positivity rate is spiking. If you wish to expand your current telework schedule as a result, discuss this with your manager as directed by Josh Geballe, COO of CT.  His instructions to agencies reads as follows:

    • Consider situational telework.  Employees who wish to maximize their telework around the holidays should discuss with their managers, and managers are encouraged to accommodate such requests as much as possible.

(2) SEBAC Prevails in Telework Arbitration

In further Telework news, the arbitrator has ruled that the union's Last Best Offer governing telework caps was the most reasonable. As a result, employees may request any amount of Telework (consistent with job duties and operational needs).  The award provides that agencies can require one day of physical presence in the office per week.  An agency's determination that an employee must be in the office more than 1 day per week is subject to appeal...generally, this means that employee telework requests exceeding 80% telework can be denied without appeal. However, and more importantly, requests of 80% or less, if denied, can be pursued through the appeal process.

[We just received this Telework arbitration award and are still digesting it ourselves.  We know it is an important decision for our members so we wanted to let everyone know right away.  There will be more news on this as we implemented the agreement]



Mandatory Testing Requirement Temporarily Suspended

COVID-19 Testing: The State has temporarily suspended the COVID-19 Testing Requirement for State Employees who have not been vaccinated.  This is due to the high volume of demand on testing infrastructure and the desire to prioritize resources for symptomatic individuals.   The testing requirements have been suspended from thru January 3rd and enforcement of the testing policy will resume on January 11th.  However, Agencies that are currently conducting on-site testing will continue to do so, but there will be no enforcement action taken for non-compliance during the suspension period.

PL Time: A final reminder that your 2021 Personal Leave time expires on December 31, it is "use it or lose it"...please ensure that you use your PL time before the end of the year or it will be forfeited.


Student Debt Forgiveness

In 2019, AFT filed suit against the US Department of Education (Weingarten v DeVos) over the US DOEs failure to properly manage the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). The US DOE settled this lawsuit entitling anyone who was previously denied student loan forgiveness under this program will now have an opportunity to have their loans re-evaluated for forgiveness. Further, the DOE has changed its policies to better serve those holding student debt rather than serving the loan management companies. 

This is of particular importance for CT State Employees as the PSLF guarantees that those who work in public service and consistently pay their monthly student loan bills will have the balance of their loans forgiven after 10 years. This means, state employees who consistently make student loan payments may now qualify for the elimination of any remaining debt.

AFT (A&R is a local of AFT) has committed to continue its fight to reduce the crushing impact that student can create and has also partnered with an online resource called Summer ( AFT will provide this resource for free to all AFT/A&R members. The goal is to help union members reduce the impact of student debt but also to limit the all-to-often traps that have been set by student loan management companies. If you are an A&R member and you want to better manage your student debt, we encourage you to follow this link to the AFT website.

Open Budget Committee Meeting

The Budget Committee will be holding its annual Open Budget Meeting at the A&R Office on January 20, 2022  5:30pm.  This annual meeting is an opportunity for any A&R member to propose budget items for consideration and to view the upcoming budget as it is being prepared.  All members are invited to attend and participate or just simply listen.

Updates 12/8/21

First, a "thank you" to our amazing Social Committee and all of our volunteers led by co-chairs Rhonda Salvatore and Donna LoCurto for a fantastic drive-thru Holiday Party.  It is not easy getting 500 cars thru a parking lot in 5hrs but we think it went well and we hope everyone enjoyed!  We had several raffles and a guessing game, our winners were:

Catherine Shepherd-DCF won the 65" TV for guessing the 301 ornaments on the Christmas tree
Catherine Leaper-DSS won the Breakfast Basket
Karen Rozum-DOT won the Comfort Basket
Lisa Burgio-DMV won the Wine Basket
Carole Levesque-DRS won the Italian Basket
Lisa Lewis-DCP won the Lottery Frame
Silvia Saenz-DRS won the Men's Basket
Barbara Giansanti- DOC  won the Wine Chiller

Next, we are still working with the State to settle a wage package for our successor contract.  This has now been on-going for a year and while both sides are finding these discussions exceedingly lengthy, we are not yet on common ground.  A&R has not declared our negotiations to be at impasse yet but we are running low on tolerance at this point.

Along with this, here are a few of contractual reminders: first, please do not forget to use your remaining Personal Leave by December 31st.  There is no extension nor is there carry-over.  If you do not use your PL time by December 31st it is lost and there is nothing we can do to get it back for you. 

Also, while we believe our contract calls for TopStepPayments to be paid on time in January 2022, the State does not seem to agree and most likely will not be paying them until we finalize our successor agreement.  We have filed the grievance on this issue already. 

Lastly, a reminder that HEP requirements need to be completed by December 31.  There is latitude to become compliant before being removed from HEP, however, make sure you schedule any necessary appointments and anyone with a "chronic condition" who does not complete their requirements by 12/31/21 will not be eligible to collet the $100 payment.

And of course, don't forget to sign up for Telework via the State's Telework Request portal.