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PEF, GOER agree to extend telecommuting agreement to January 1, 2021

By KATE MOSTACCIO

After days of continuous negotiations, PEF and New York state agreed on terms to extend the temporary, emergency telecommuting agreement a third time, allowing PEF members to request work-from-home arrangements through January 1, 2021.

“We are pleased the state recognized the concerns and took into consideration the needs of our members,” said PEF President Wayne Spence. “Extending this agreement will afford members the flexibility they need to deal with childcare issues stemming from virtual learning and daycare closures; reduce density on public transportation and in office buildings; and help contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Telecommuting under this agreement may be up to five days per week and allows PEF members, when feasible, to conduct all or some of their work at home. Each agency has discretion over its workforce and supervisors and human resources must approve all applications.

“PEF is grateful for the support of the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General and the Comptroller for their role in making this extension happen,” Spence said. “Our members provide vital and essential services for New York state and telecommuting allows them to continue to do so while also protecting themselves, their families and their communities. We hope this extension allays some of our members’ concerns during this difficult time.”

The telecommuting agreement includes provisions to protect PEF members.

“We made sure to include protections for our members by negotiating built-in appeal processes for both mandatory and voluntary portions of the temporary agreement,” Spence said. “We asked for and received a training, which occurs prior to the actual telecommuting. Although this is an emergency situation, we must proceed with a guarded mind to protect the integrity of the PEF contract and make sure our membership is shielded from interpretive managers.”

Members can direct any questions to their PEF field representative.