Flexible Work Arrangements to Accommodate Caregiving Responsibilities During COVID-19

Please distribute widely.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we know that many are facing the challenge of balancing caregiving (whether for children, elderly parents, or others) and homeschooling responsibilities while also working from home. We are committed to accommodating and supporting our employees during this difficult time, and are relying on our managers, supervisors and academic administrators to be flexible within our new work arrangements to help minimize stress on employees while ensuring that required work is completed while working remotely

Flexible working arrangements should begin with a one-on-one discussion between an employee and their manager in respect of the employee’s caregiving responsibilities. Discussions should include exploring a variety of flexible workplace options during this period.

Important Note: Employees who require flexibility for caregiving responsibilities do not need to submit the Employee Absence Self-Declaration Form.

Recommended Steps:

  1. Review Guidelines: Review options detailed in the COVID-19 Temporary Special Telecommuting Work Arrangements Guideline.
  2. Confirm Expectations:Discuss your situation and needs with your manager or direct supervisor. Confirm a clear and specific agreement in writing that addresses the types of flexibility available for your role.
  3. Establish New Team Routines:Discuss the timing of team meetings and expectations of response times with your manager or direct supervisor. To accommodate family responsibilities, you might need to be offline at specific times each day and those should be considered.
  4. Work with your Manager to Reassess Workload: Your manager may reassess, reassign and reprioritize work to create additional flexibility for the entire team. It is possible that some projects could be delayed, or there may be tasks that could be postponed for the duration of COVID-19.

Examples of flexible work arrangements include:

Flexible schedule

This is an arrangement whereby employees vary their working hours to accommodate caregiving responsibilities. Some possible examples to consider:

  • Establish specific deliverables wherever possible, rather than focusing on hours of work.
  • Adjusted start/end times, such as: 7:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. or 9:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Extended work period of 8:45 to 6:00 p.m. with a two-hour mid-day break.
  • Work entirely flexible hours through the week, provided deliverables are met and productivity is maintained, and hours of work/availability are shared with the team.
  • Establish core hours and/or core duties and allow flexibility in how other hours and duties are arranged.

Compressed work week

A written agreement between employee and manager to work longer shifts in exchange for a reduction in the total number of working days in a week. Compressed weeks can be configured in a variety of ways, such as: 5 days in 4, or 3 long days and 2 short days.

Further Assistance:

Employees are asked to discuss any required flexibility directly with their manager.

If further support is needed, please contact your HR Divisional Office for support. Employees may also contact the Family Care Office for assistance with determining which types of work arrangements are most suitable to accommodate their family responsibilities and the type of work they do.