COVID-19 Remote Work Guidelines

July 28, 2020

As conditions change, this page may be updated at the discretion of the Provost and the Executive Vice President.

Remote Work Overview

Remote working is designed to allow employees to work from home just as they would in the office (i.e, answer calls, correspond to emails, work on projects, attend meetings via teleconference). With the growing recognition of an increased need for remote work, we recommend that you partner with your local IT support staff to take stock of your equipment (computers, chargers, etc.) and proactively test your capability for reliable remote access. This may include testing your home network connection and your ability to remotely access critical applications and on-campus systems, as well as applying necessary software updates. 

If relevant to your role, please leave work each day prepared to work from home the next day. That includes taking your laptop and any other equipment you may need to continue to work remotely.

Remote Work Basics

To be successful and ensure performance and productivity do not suffer, we advise the following: 

  • Ensure you have internet connection
  • Guarantee you have calls forwarded to your home or cell phone devices 
  • Download teleconferencing software to be able to hold and attend meetings as necessary
  • Log into your email and calendar
  • Ensure you can access our applications and files remotely
  • Think of special projects staff can complete at home, who do not traditionally do so 

Workday Return to Campus and Guide to Changes to Work Location

As the University transitions back to on-campus work, HR analysts should follow the steps outlined in the new Workday Return to Campus and Guide to Changes to Work Locationto update individuals’ work addresses. The guide also provides instructions for individuals to update their tax forms to ensure the proper taxes are withheld from their pay.

Temporary Limited Campus Operations FAQ

Limited Campus Operations FAQ

On March 27, the University of Pennsylvania limited its onsite operations to life-sustaining essential activities until further notice. We will keep you updated well in advance when more information is available on an exact date for returning to onsite operations.

During this period, those employees engaging in life-sustaining activities will continue to work onsite, following social distancing guidelines and taking other recommended precautions. (Please refer to the University Notification from March 20, 2020 for additional information about life-sustaining activities at the University.)

All other employees should continue to work remotely, if possible. Those who are unable to work remotely will continue to remain in paid status.

Essential employees who are sick should not come to work. Each day before coming to campus to work, essential employees should ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Do I have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:
    1. A fever (if you have an available thermometer) or fever symptoms (if no thermometer is available for your use)? (Fever symptoms may include sweating, chills and shivering, headache, muscle aches, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration and general weakness.)
    2. Shortness of breath
    3. Cough
  2. Has anyone in my household been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms?
  3. Since I last reported to work, have I had close contact (within 6 feet for 10 or more minutes) with anyone outside your home who has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis or COVID-19 symptoms?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, yet your supervisor know and do not come to campus. The University has extended its sick time policy, allowing essential employees to take time off beyond their current sick time balance. For more information, please go to the Penn HR COVID-19 sick time and leave page.

Talk to your supervisor immediately about your job functions and what work you can do remotely. Review resources on HR’s COVID-19 website for faculty and staff.
Some staff and faculty may use this time to undertake special projects, continuous learning, or online training. Some work that must be done on-site will be suspended during this time. More information will be forthcoming as this situation evolves. Additional tools and guidelines can be found at ISC’s remote work tools website or The Center for Teaching and Learning Resources and Strategies for Teaching Remotely.
At this time, all University paid employees will continue to be paid, whether they are working on campus or remotely. For those whose managers state they cannot work remotely, they will also remain in paid status. This guidance is true for full-time, part-time, and temporary staff and faculty.

Wearing Protective Masks

Everyone entering Penn’s buildings, regardless of their role, should be wearing masks to prevent infections beginning Monday, April 13, 2020. This decision is predicated on the CDC’s recent guidance that the use of face coverings may be effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 from an individual who is infected but asymptomatic.  

Penn will provide the masks for essential life-sustaining employees to use. Essential employees should speak with their managers for information regarding the process for obtaining masks. Schools and centers should email to request masks for distribution to their essential employees. 

Additional information about how to use, reuse, remove and store masks can be found at the  EHRS website.

Handwashing and Social Distancing

While masks may mitigate against the risk that you will expose a co-worker to COVID-19, it is not expected that a mask will provide the wearer with extra protection. Therefore, it is imperative that all essential employees continue frequent handwashing and practice social distancing while on campus performing life-sustaining activities.  Employees should maintain no less than a 6-foot distance from others at all times.  Employees should not congregate in break rooms or in other areas on campus where social distancing cannot be maintained.  

Speak to your manager about what they would like you to do while working remotely. Additional tools can be found by going to LinkedIn Learning for additional resources.
Penn's Paid Time Off Policy and accrual rates remain in effect. Eligible staff members can still submit requests for time off and take approved time off.

Time away from work is still worthwhile, perhaps now more than ever. Travel or social gatherings with friends and family outside of your home may not be possible for now, but a day away from remote work screens and phones can be just the break you're looking for. So send that request to your supervisor, then take that accrued time off to renew your energy or attend to personal needs.

You can check your time off balance and submit your request by logging in at Workday@Penn. Review this Workday Tip Sheet for instructions.

Visit the Workday@Penn website for more details about time tracking during limited operations.

Time Worked

Exempt Employees

Exempt employees are defined as employees who, based on duties performed and the manner of compensation, are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions. Exempt employees are paid an established monthly salary and are expected to fulfill the duties of their position(s) regardless of hours worked. Exempt employees are not eligible to receive overtime compensation or compensatory time off, and are not required to adhere to strict time, record keeping, and attendance rules for pay purposes.

Non-exempt Employees

Non-exempt employees are defined as employees who, based on duties performed and the manner of compensation, are subject to all FLSA provisions. Non-exempt employees are required to account for time worked on an hourly and fractional hourly basis and are to be compensated for qualified overtime hours at the premium (time-and-one-half) rate. Non-exempt employees are required to accurately record all hours worked using Workday. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per day and per workweek require the approval of the manager. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in disciplinary action.