Update on employee caregiving resources
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October 12, 2021
As the fall semester begins its second month, we want to thank all of you for your support and for embracing our return to our vibrant and beautiful residential campus. The energy and enthusiasm of 47,936 students living, taking classes, and working with us is remarkable.
As everyone is aware, the arrival in the U.S. of the more infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 means we are still operating among an elevated rate of cases across the country, including here in Wisconsin. The continued uncertainty has raised renewed concerns about disruptions, particularly for caregivers of unvaccinated children and of elderly or immunocompromised family members. UW−Madison will continue to be flexible as disruptions related to COVID-19 occur by providing options to employees, including:
- Remote Work: Per the Remote Work Policy, remote work arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis. School/college/division leadership, in conjunction with supervisors, are responsible for deciding where remote work is possible and where it may hinder the performance and mission of the unit. Remote work provides flexibilities to help manage caregiver responsibilities.
- Reasonable Accommodations: Reasonable accommodations for an employee’s own disability or medical condition may be available under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Requests are considered on an individual, case-by-case basis. For concerns or questions related to a disability or underlying medical condition, employees may contact their Divisional Disability Representative (DDR).
- Other Options: For concerns or questions unrelated to an employee’s own disability or medical condition or where ADA is not applicable, employees may contact the human resources department at their school, college, or division to discuss questions and concerns. Other options include, but are not limited to, job share/split, alternative work week, variable hours, and reassignment.
- Resources: Employee guidance, supervisor guidance, and resources related to caregiving are available at https://hr.wisc.edu/covid19/family-caregiving/. A new resource is being developed by OHR that describes different options available to employees, including better defining accommodations, workplace flexibilities, remote work, and leave, and that guides employees, supervisors, and others in navigating disruptions. This resource will be posted on OHR’s Family Caregiving website.
Unfortunately, not every situation can be accommodated such as when a determination has been made that remote work is not feasible or that the work must be done at a particular time and in a specific venue, such as is the case with in-person instruction or managing certain research experiments. In situations involving instructional responsibilities, please communicate with your department chair and school/college leadership for assistance in addressing the circumstances in a manner consistent with course learning objectives and obligations.
Employees seeking assistance in balancing work and caregiving responsibilities are encouraged to share their concerns with their supervisor or department chair to explore possible options to address their needs. Please be supportive of each other in these very difficult times. Every employee concern will be individually evaluated by supervisors based on duties, work environment, and workplace needs.
Employees who have questions or concerns about particular requests or options available to them are asked to consult with their college, school or divisional human resources representative. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources has family caregiving resources available for employees at https://hr.wisc.edu/covid19/family-caregiving/.
We appreciate your continued efforts to support our campus community.
John Karl Scholz
Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education