This document is the result of collaborative efforts between UML and SEIU, Local 888. This document is solely intended to provide guidance with respect to the implementation of existing alternative work schedules provided for by the parties’ collective bargaining agreement and not intended to alter, modify, or change in any way the express terms of the collective bargaining agreement. 


An engaged, vibrant, stable, financially sound campus is at the core of the UMass Lowell ethos. The parties recognize that a vibrant, engaged campus community involves face to face interactions amongst faculty, staff, and students on campus. The parties further recognize that new work models have emerged stemming from the global pandemic. 

Prior to the pandemic, most of our employees at the university worked on-campus in support of our student, teaching, research, and administrative operations. As a result of the pandemic, many university employees shifted to a remote working environment to conduct responsibilities associated with their position during a public health emergency. The university continues to evaluate the appropriate work model for the future of its workforce. 

The university recognizes that the application of remote/hybrid work can offer advantages for both the university and employees where these arrangements are operationally effective and do not compromise the fundamental values and identity of the university. Some advantages may include increased productivity and performance, relief of campus space constraints, increased job satisfaction, and recruitment and retainment of a highly qualified workforce. The application of remote/hybrid work may also present operational challenges to the university’s various business units. Some challenges may include ensuring equity in the implementation of schedules, the promotion of campus engagement and community, and coordinating logistics of an on-campus and remote workforce. 

The collective bargaining agreement between the parties recognizes the granting of alternative work schedules based on the needs of the department, including, but not limited to, hours of office coverage, adequate supervision, levels of staffing, and health and safety concerns. Such schedules may include less than twelve-month work years, four-day full-time work weeks or other less than full-time work schedules and summer work schedules. 

The agreed upon process includes: 

  • Alternate work schedules shall be requested in writing by the Unit member to his or her immediate supervisor and the area Dean, Vice Chancellor, or designee, not less than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the requested start of the recommendation. 
  • The appropriate Dean, Vice Chancellor, or designee, following consultation with the Human Resources Office, shall respond in writing to the unit member not more than ten (10) business days prior to the start of the requested schedule change. 
  • No more than two requests for a change in work schedule shall be allowed in any twelve-month period. Such requests shall not be unreasonably denied.
  • Remote/hybrid schedules should be reviewed on an ongoing and frequent basis to ensure schedules are meeting organizational needs. 

Mutual Understanding of the Parties 

The parties’ mutual understandings with respect to remote/hybrid work arrangements include: 

• The value of in-person interaction, relationship building and community, the need to attract and retain high-quality talented workforce, and the need to ensure equity and fairness as fundamental aspects of the approach to remote/hybrid work arrangements. 

  • There is no one size fits all model; the job responsibilities and the operational needs of a unit/department/university are factors when considering remote/hybrid work schedule requests. 
  • Remote/hybrid schedules are not in perpetuity and are subject to modification based on departmental/university operations such as in-person meetings, events, daily/weekly staffing levels, and on-going assessments of remote/hybrid work arrangements, which may result in revocation upon sufficient notice.
  • Employees should not use remote/hybrid work schedules in lieu of vacation leave, sick leave, FMLA, other types of leave. Incidental or brief periods of absences should be managed by use of the appropriate leave as approved by the supervisor. 

Considerations for Remote/Hybrid Work Requests 

In determining if remote/hybrid work schedules are suitable for a business unit/employee, the university’s considerations should include: 

  • The impact to campus services and student support 
  • The impact on productivity, customer service, operational efficiency, and team collaboration 
  • The position’s job duties and responsibilities 
  • The employee’s work performance 
  • The supervisor’s ability to successfully manage employees in a remote/hybrid work environment 
  • The employee’s ability to be free from non-work-related responsibilities, obligations, and distractions 
  • The position’s needs to access equipment, materials, and files on campus 
  • The position’s requirement for in-person meetings 

Documentation of Remote/Hybrid Schedule 

Remote/hybrid schedules should be documented on the Remote/Hybrid Work Schedule Form (doc) and reflected in the employee’s Outlook calendar. Once “Approved” or “Denied”, please forward the completed and signed form to:

Remote/Hybrid Work Expectations 

  • Regular communication between the employee and supervisor should be identified, discussed, and documented in advance of any remote/hybrid work arrangement. 
  • Employee’s remote/hybrid work schedule will be reflected in their Outlook calendar. 
  • Communicate the expectations for in-person attendance, with the understanding that an employee may be required to report in-person during a scheduled “remote day” with sufficient notice. 
  • Communicate to employee the performance expectations and the metrics of monitoring work performance. 
  • Determine appropriate remote work location and technology needs to successfully perform work functions. 
  • Appropriate arrangements for employee child, dependent and/or eldercare needs. 
  • Establish communication methods e.g., Zoom, Teams, Skype, email, phone. 
  • Employee shall be free from non-work activities that could distract them from completing university business during scheduled work hours. 
  • Professionalism standards to include camera being on during Zoom/Team meetings, appropriate work attire and camera background in meetings, etc.