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Remote work with kids? FSU clarifies employee notice about child care

Remote work with kids? FSU clarifies employee notice about child care


Remote work with kids? FSU clarifies employee notice about child care

Nada Hassanein
Tallahassee DemocratPublished 10:42 AM EDT Jul 3, 2020A Florida university is backing off a notice requiring workers to seek outside child care days, according to an update sent to employees Thursday.Florida State University issued a notice on June 26 to employees saying in August it would revert to “normal policy,” which doesn’t allow employees to care for children while working remotely.The cited policy states “arrangements must be made for the care of the child or dependent by someone other than the employee.” It also says the “specifics of the arrangements may be requested by HR” as part of a telecommuting agreement.In another notice sent June 26, the human resources office further explained that policy was suspended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.Save better, spend better:  Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up hereDays after the emails caused confusion among employees and got national attention with stories by the Washington Post and People magazine, the university issued another update Thursday to clarify the policy.”What we’re talking about only applies to staff members. It does not apply to professors,” spokesman Dennis Schnittker said.In the update, FSU officials said the existing policy was designed to ensure staff were communicating with their supervisor about schedules when working remotely.Senior shopping hours: Costco Wholesale Club will soon reduce its COVID-19 senior hours to twice per weekGo to the movies at Walmart?: Walmart to turn 160 parking lots into drive-in movie theaters in August”We realize that the timing of the message – as COVID-19 cases continue to rise locally and around the state – caused confusion and anxiety for many employees. That is the opposite of what we want to communicate to our dedicated faculty and staff,” the email read. “We want to be clear – our policy does allow employees to work from home while caring for children.”The email continued, advising managers to work with human resources to “develop solutions for schedules.””We regret that our initial communication caused any unnecessary worry and concern or oversimplified a very nuanced issue,” the update read.On Wednesday, the university held a virtual town hall meeting discussing remote-work guidelines and precautions amid COVID-19. The discussions included the university’s “position” on remote work during the pandemic.In its notes from the town hall, the human resources office said for employees who don’t have daycare options or choose to home-school their children in the fall, there are options for alternative remote work schedules, such as working nights or weekends when other child-care options may be available – though that depends on the job and supervisor approval.But for less flexible positions that require work during specific times when “childcare is not available … personal leave may be appropriate,” wrote Renisha Gibbs, a human resources administrator.As for how the policy will be enforced, “we trust our employees to abide by policies,” Gibbs said. “There are no remote work police checking up on employees.”Schnittker added that the university continues to monitor the COVID-19 crisis.”It is very unlikely that that temporary policy on the remote work will be lifted any time soon… as we continue to see the cases spike,” he said.Reach Nada Hassanein at or on Twitter @nhassanein_.

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