The extension of the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place status means the Lab will remain in safe and stable standby mode until at least May 4, when the current shelter-in-place orders for our area are scheduled to be lifted. The prolonging of our standby status means some employees will soon run up against the previously announced Administrative Leave limit of 16 days.
We are pleased to share with you that the Lab has authorized an increase to the number of paid Administrative Leave days available for each eligible Lab employee from the previous 16 days to 22 days, which can be used through April 15. This increase enables us to continue to pay Lab employees who are not able to work on-site and who cannot telework as outlined in the paid Administrative Leave guidance. Paid Administrative Leave is authorized by each individual’s supervisor and line management.
We continue to encourage telework for as many employees as possible. Please continue to work with your supervisor to identify telework opportunities that enable you to balance your work and personal responsibilities, such as child care and/or eldercare. Through supervisory leadership and flexibility, the vast majority of our employees have been able to contribute to the Lab’s mission without using Administrative Leave.
In coordination with DOE and UC, we continue to look for additional ways to provide continuity of work and pay for our workforce. The recently passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides additional categories of leave available to employees in defined circumstances; a Department of Labor notice can be found here. In addition, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allows government contractors, including Berkeley Lab, to offer workers paid leave and assistance in some circumstances. We are working to develop guidance on the implementation of these laws at Berkeley Lab and will provide further details soon.
We are doing everything possible to minimize the financial impacts of this unprecedented event on all our people. The uncertainty this situation brings can cause anxiety, but know that our leadership team is doing everything within our authority to ensure our people are taken care of and protected from workplace risks, including the coronavirus itself and the financial impact caused by it.
Please watch for updates on the Lab’s status via email, in Elements, at status.lbl.gov, on our COVID-19 website, or Twitter @LBNLstatus. Thank you, again, for your continued support of Berkeley Lab’s mission in these difficult circumstances.
Deputy Lab Director and Chief Operating Officer