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Division of Finance and Administration

Questions and answers: Impacts of COVID-19 on staff recruitments, salaries and positions

June 8, 2020

The following presents the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on UC Merced staff recruitments, salaries and positions.

Guidance

  • Pausing all in-process and new salary-related actions (including salary adjustments pursuant to reclassifications, equity requests and stipends) through June 30, 2021.
  • Starting July 1, 2020, pausing all existing stipends through June 30, 2021.
  • Placing a 6-month hold on all new and backfill hires, including limited and contract hires. There will be a waiver process, requiring any request for exceptions to go directly to the chancellor and provost.
    • Current recruitments, if no offer has been extended, should be halted (even if some or all the candidates have been interviewed).
  • Extending for two months all existing limited and contract positions that are up for renewal on or before July 1, 2020. Review by the chancellor and provost has already begun for contracts subject to renewal after July 1, and decisions will be communicated before those renewal dates.

Waiver Criteria

  • Positions critical to the health and safety of the campus community and campus assets (some examples may include, but are not limited to, designated staff such as public safety, custodial services, etc.)
  • Positions required to support the quality of research, remote instruction or student success
  • Positions for which deferral would result in greater fiscal costs to the unit and campus, or reductions to or forgoing of revenue streams
  • Positions which if left vacant would pose a significant legal or audit compliance risk.

A simple waiver form is currently being developed and will be made available to campus units.

Questions and Answers

Recruitments

1. I already have a recruitment posted and am interviewing. Can I complete the process?

The recruitment is paused unless an offer of hire has already been made. The pause on recruitments is effective immediately. Please consult with your vice chancellor or dean to request a waiver if one is needed.

2. How does my department request an exception based on a critical need?

The need for an exception must be discussed with your respective vice chancellor or dean. If the vice chancellor or dean supports your request for a waiver, your respective position delegate will submit the Position Control Exception Request Form. The form must document how the position is critical to university operations in order to proceed with your request. All submitted exception requests will then be reviewed by the chancellor and provost. Exceptions are expected to be limited, and final approval by the chancellor and provost are required. If approved, the request would follow university’s normal process guidelines.

3. What happens if I’ve conducted interviews and I did not receive approval to fill the position?

Please reach out to your assigned recruiter for guidance on how to engage with candidates.

Stipends

1. How are we going to end stipends for represented employees?

The university is required to pay stipends per the collective bargaining agreements if staff are performing substantially all the duties of a higher classification for a period of 15 to 20 consecutive working days. Managers will need to reorganize the work so that staff are not performing substantially all of the higher-level work per the collective bargaining agreement. Departments are encouraged to reach out to their compensation analyst who will assist in identifying work that can be redistributed to existing staff according to their classifications.

2. My work significantly grew in scope and complexity. What happens to the work if I am not paid a stipend?

Please speak with your manager about the work you are performing. You will jointly discuss and assess if you are able to continue to complete the full scope of current duties. In some cases, based on the volume or complexity of tasks, the manager may need to consider adjusting, reassigning, or pausing some specific job tasks. The manager is encouraged to contact their HR Compensation Analyst if needed for assistance with questions about assessing possible options with assignment of responsibilities and duties.

Classification and Reclassification

1. The reclassification has been completed but hasn’t been submitted to payroll. Can the reclassification be moved forward?

All reclassifications are paused at this time and will not be processed.

2. Will reclass reviews/adjustments be considered if there is no salary adjustment as part of it?

All reclassifications are paused at this time and will not be processed.

Contract and Limited-Term Positions

1. Can I hire limited-term and contract positions since career positions are paused for recruitment?

All limited-term and contract positions are also paused for 6 months, through November 30, 2020.

2. Can departments extend current limited and contract appointments?

All limited-term and contract positions will expire at the end of the current contract provision. Contracts set to end on or before July 1, 2020 will be extended to September 1, 2020. If an extension is needed and your vice chancellor or dean deems it critical under the waiver criteria it must be approved through the waiver process. Please consult with your respective vice chancellor or dean to request a waiver if one is needed.

3. Is this in effect for just 6 months? Or if we have a contract that is up a year from now, does it apply there as well?

A review process to renew all limited and contract hires is in effect through November 30, 2020.

4. Does this apply to grant-funded contracts and limited term positions?

At this time, 100% grant-funded staff and contract hires and renewals are not subject to the six-month pause as long as they do not use any core funds

Retention and Productivity

1. Is leadership concerned that talent will leave?

The retention and, importantly, well-being of our employees have been at the forefront of conversations among leadership around these very difficult decisions. We have extremely talented individuals at UC Merced and value each and every one. Our hope is that staff will weather the storm with us and continue to help UC Merced thrive. Unfortunately, these measures are needed to help secure the financial future for our institution so we may continue to meet our core mission.

2. Is leadership banking on people just being grateful to have a job and thus assume productivity will remain at the same level?

The challenges that COVID-19 brings for all our campus community are significant. These cost-savings decisions were not made lightly. We understand the challenges during the pandemic with productivity as each of us are facing unique difficulties, including taking on additional tasks, caring for children at home, and health challenges due to COVID-19. We encourage you to talk openly with your manager about your concerns with work challenges during this time. You may also access the Employee Assistance Program and the Ombuds Office for additional support.

Student Staff (casual/restricted) Employment

These measures will not impact those who are employed in a student staff classification (Student Asst 1-4, Resident Assistant, ASUCM).

Grant-funded Positions

At this time, 100% grant-funded staff and contract hires and renewals are not subject to the six-month pause as long as they do not use any core funds

Academic Personnel

Guidance for faculty and academic appointees will be released through Academic Personnel as soon as possible.