New Temporary Telework Agreement

- UPDATED 6/28 -

Link:  Telework Transition Request Form

The official Telework Transition Request Form is linked above.  Anyone who wishes to continue to Telework should complete/submit this form even if you have already received approval for your requested schedule (it's a record-keeping thing). 

A couple of items to clarify:

If you are on a 5/4 schedule, please indicate on the form in Item 12 "Other", that you wish to continue your 5/4 schedule.

If your request is based on an ADA accomodation, please indicate "Medical Request" in Item 12 "Other"...do not submit any actual medical information on this form.

If your request is denied, you can discuss with your supervisor an alternate schedule which would be acceptable (e.g.- requesting fewer or different days)...this will not impact your ability to appeal the denial.

If you wish to appeal a denial, use this email link and provide us with the below information. 

  1. Your name
  2. Agency, unit, job title
  3. Personal phone #
  4. Non-state email address
  5. Your requested schedule
  6. Your denial form from the agency

Keep in mind, that pending a determination on your "new" request, you will continue using your "current" telework arrangement..."current" means your schedule prior to May 13th.

 

- UPDATED 6/24 -

View the Transitional Telework Agreement

The official Request Form referenced in the agreement has not been released as of today.  We are advising that anyone wishing to request a schedule above 50% to either do so using a compatible form already circulated by your agency or make the request to your supervisor via email...once the official Request Form is released, please follow-up utilizing the official form.  Remember, if you are already doing 50% telework you will automatically qualify for continued 50% telework, if you are exceeding 50% you may request to continue telework up to 100%.  When operationally feasible, 50%-80% telework will be generally acceptable.


With the Governor's July 1st deadline to return to operations under the existing telework agreements, A&R, with the other Unions of SEBAC, have been in active negotiations to make the agreement reflect what we have learned over the past fifteen months -- telework works. 

Under the new agreement, if you have been teleworking regularly during the pandemic, you can continue to do so for at least up to 50% of the pay period.  The agreement guarantees 50% of a biweekly period shall be automatically granted upon request of the employee (for employees who were able to do so during the pandemic period).  The agreement allows for employees to request more than 50%, when consistent with operational needs, but typically not to exceed 80%.

Agencies must also provide "flexible scheduling for members consistent with business and operational needs." 

The agreement also recognizes that, while Connecticut is doing very well in combating this pandemic, it is not over yet, and it impacts everyone differently. Members who are "COVID-fragile" and have a doctor's note indicating that returning to the office would present a health risk may continue their current telework arrangement. Those that live with a "COVID fragile" family member can similarly continue their current telework arrangement (apply using FMLA P-33B form).

The agreement also provides that an employee keeps their current Telework schedule pending a response by the employer to the newest telework request.

State service seniority will control where there are conflicts in requests.

A universal registration form will be created and we will provide that link as soon as it is available to us.
We will also post the full agreement as soon as we are able to do so.

Should the need arise, there is an appeal process for any unreasonable denials, and we will be providing a link for that as well.

This agreement is valid through September 1, 2021 with the potential to extend through year end. During this period we will continue to engage with the state in hopes of reaching a permanent telework deal that recognizes the benefits of telework for all parties involved.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this agreement, please email us at telework@andr.org or contact the A&R office at 860 953 1316.

-6/18/21

Professional Development 2021

For those who have already signed up for the May 28th Professional Development Day, the email with your Zoom links and workbooks was sent out today (Friday May 21st), so please check your email.

For those who haven't yet signed up but plan to do so for the May 28th or June 4th sessions, remember, you are now at agency discretion; they can deny your request due to lack of sufficient notice at this point.

However, there is still room, so if you wish to sign up, use this link: 

https://leadernet.aft.org/webform/ar-professional-development-day-2021

 

Governor Announces Return To Office

As we are all aware, the Governor communicated, via email, his desire for State employees to return to the office for at least some portion of the work week.   He has identified two dates for returning to the office:  June 1 for front-facing customer service and July 1 for all others.  This does not mean the end of Telework, the Governor specifically identifies the Interim Telework agreement and states “we will continue with the pre-COVID-19 interim telework guidelines, which allows eligible employees, in the covered bargaining units and others including managers, to work from home up to 50% of the time with manager approval”.   

What strikes us is that Gov Lamont’s return to the office directive appears to be more of a public consumption announcement as opposed to a logical policy position.  He presents his  “let’s plan for our new normal work environment” while unveiling a plan that simply states, let’s get back to 2019.  What he ignored is the obvious conclusion that high-frequency telecommuting should remain as the “new normal”.  It ignores that the telecommuting directives we have been operating under were actually exceedingly successful and far more efficient than the common office structure he wants us to revisit.  Even if we pretend the virus is no longer highly contagious and can no longer lead to serious health consequences, his “going forward” plan should recognize that we accomplished a tremendous amount of positive work-product while telecommuting, while at the same time reducing traffic congestion and lowering our carbon footprint.

That aside, the Telework Interim Agreement that the Governor addresses in his email is outdated at this point.  That agreement was designed as a way of testing Telecommuting; we no longer need to test it, telecommuting has passed the test.  Telecommuting works!!!   We expect that those who were able to telecommute last year will continue to telecommute at least 50% of the tme after July 1.  Many were already  working a hybrid schedule consisting of some in office work combined with telecommuting, such schedules should continue.  A&R and a few other unions will be meeting with the Office of Labor Relations very soon to negotiate the Interim Agreement into a much more relevant document.  Management’s prior assertions that telecommuting was impossible or too complex to manage have been shown to be demonstrably false.  It is our intention and our hope that we will have a better agreement with the Governor on the future of Telework now that all of our employees have proven that it is a success. 

-5/13/21

Final A&R Facebook Contest Ends Wednesday 5/12 8PM

Pandemic Premium Pay

COVID Premium Pay and Other Developing Rumors

As has been widely reported in the press, Governor Lamont has proposed what has been referred to as “combat pay” bonuses for state employees working on the front lines in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.  There has been much speculation, also reflected in the press, regarding the details of how that plan would be enacted, who will be eligible for the payments, and how much those payments will be per employee.  Similarly, there are legislative proposals at the General Assembly which would provide $5 per hour for state workers required to work on-site during the pandemic, and up to $10 per hour for those at specific risk due to the nature of their work (working in congregate settings such as nursing homes, group homes, corrections facilities, and etcetera).  Potential payments referenced in the press run the gamut, from a low of about $500 under the Governor’s plan to a high of up to $20,000 under other proposed legislation.  However, these are mere speculations. The ultimate outcome, of course, is subject to Legislative approval, and that approval does not appear near at hand.  Further, any bill under consideration by the General Assembly must navigate the legislative process and therefore is subject to change.  To be certain, this is a developing narrative.  To give some perspective, in Massachusetts last year, some front-line health care workers received “hazard pay’' bonuses of $500 related to the coronavirus pandemic.

To be clear, Governor Lamont’s plan does not specify which employees will qualify for pandemic Premium Pay, nor does it specify the amount of pandemic Premium Pay qualifying employees will receive.  While we appreciate the general sentiment of the Governor’s proposal as presented in his Plan for the American Rescue Plan Act, the proposal itself consists of a mere two sentences: “The Governor recommends $10 million for premium pay for front line state employees. This funding will provide financial recognition for the essential workers who gave us security during the COVID-19 pandemic”.  The state employee unions have collectively been seeking to compensate those employees who put themselves in harm’s way to carry out the onsite mission of the state throughout the pandemic.  We support the idea of premium pay for all employees, in both the public and private sectors.  This issue has been simmering “behind the scenes” throughout the course of the pandemic. We will continue to seek and support pandemic premium payments.  A&R’s position is that there should be funds made available and those funds should be distributed equitably to all state employees who were designated level one COVID essential and required to report onsite at work during the pandemic.

 

-5/4/21