Majority of Harvard Personnel to Work Remotely Through June 2021


Amid a skyrocketing nationwide coronavirus case count, University Executive Vice President Katherine N. Lapp announced in an email last week that the majority of faculty, staff, and academic personnel will continue working remotely through June 30, 2021.

In her Nov. 12 missive to faculty, staff, and academic personnel, Lapp cited “real financial challenges and uncertainty” stemming from the pandemic that necessitate University-wide operational changes.

“We expect continued financial pressure as students defer admission, on-campus programming is canceled, financial aid needs increase, and new costs for campus testing, tracing, and safety must be absorbed,” she wrote. “This combination of factors is expected to result in a larger deficit from operations for the current year, thus placing constraints on the University’s finances.”

Lapp wrote that this expectation justifies a modified emergency excused absence policy, which has sustained regular salaries and benefits for all directly employed staff and some contract workers since the pandemic halted their work in March.


“As most parts of the campus remain closed, and the financial impacts to the University continue, there are limits to our ability to do so indefinitely,” she wrote.

Effective Jan. 15, 2021, directly employed staff will only receive up to 70 percent of their normal pay under the policy, and the majority of contract workers will be ineligible for this emergency benefit.

The University is also extending its new dependent well care benefit, which Lapp wrote will provide eligible staff up to 10 days of paid time off between Jan. 1 and June 30 to care for dependents who are well but whose care arrangements have been disrupted by COVID-19.

“This benefit is intended to reduce the stress that families are facing due to the competing demands of work, caring for dependents, and remote schooling during the pandemic,” she wrote.

Lapp also announced that changes to policies on the use of sick time — including flexible use for illness, isolation, and quarantine for workers and their dependents — will also remain in effect through June 30, 2021.

Harvard will extend winter recess in recognition of employees’ “remarkable creativity, grit, and determination,” according to Lapp. It will now start on Monday, Dec. 21, rather than at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24, as previously scheduled, she wrote.

—Staff writer Camille G. Caldera can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @camille_caldera.

—Staff writer Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.


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