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Covid-19 Resource Page


This page is dedicated to UC-AFT's response to COVID-19 and to resources from within and outside of UC that may support our members during this public health crisis. Thank you for the important work you’re doing to support UC students and your colleagues through this challenging time.

UC Union Coalition letter to Drake Urging Extension of COVID Relief Benefits January 12, 2022

COVID Effects Bargaining Update September 7, 2021

Unit 18 COVID Side Letter Agreement 2021.2.26  (Expired)

Academic Employees Temporarily Working from Oversees FAQ June 2, 2021

Reopening Letter from Union Coalition to President Drake July 28, 2020
COVID-19 Bargaining Teaching Faculty
COVID-19 Bargaining Librarians
UC Leave Policy for COVID-19
Resources for Teaching

Unemployment  (Workshop registration link below)
Student Debt Forbearance: Finding Relief from Student Debt (Workshop registration link below)
Legal Updates: Parental Leave for Education Workers (Workshop registration link below)
COVID-19 FAQ’s for UC-AFT Teaching Faculty
UC Berkeley Labor Center COVID Resource List

COVID-19 Bargaining Teaching Faculty
As the University responds this public health crisis, and as our members rise to the challenge of providing continuity for students, our union is working to track and address health and safety risks, intense workload pressures, intellectual property and academic freedom concerns, and more. Collective bargaining is our chance to address these concerns head on so that we can serve our students safely without having our rights compromised by emergency measures. The issues raised by COVID-19 are the same issues we're fighting for in our bargaining campaign: manageable workloads, job stability, and fair compensation. 

On March 10, we submitted a Demand to Bargain to the University for teaching faculty.  On March 11, we distributed a survey to members to gather issues and concerns.  We then devoted our March 13 bargaining session at UCSD to sharing the hundreds of responses to our survey with UCOP negotiators, and to negotiations over the impacts of the University's COVID-19 response on our members and our work.  Our initial proposal and our bargaining update from March 13 are linked below.

UC-AFT Initial Proposal COVID-19 Impacts 2020.3.13
COVID-19 Effects K-12 Addendum: Geffen, Lab, Preuss
Teaching Faculty Bargaining Update #16 UCSD

Intellectual Property
One of our demands is that the University waive all claims to our intellectual property as they require us to place our materials on university owned servers and online platforms.  Davis announced on March 19 that they will not assert ownership.  Other campuses have issues memos pointing to existing policy, which allows the university to take ownership when "exceptional university resources" have been used in the process. We have a statewide contract, which means we need clear assurance from UCOP that UC will waive all claims of ownership during this time. We will continue to negotiate toward a statewide committment by UC.

To address faculty questions or concerns about online course ownership issues, campus leaders have issued the following statement:

"UC Davis will not assert ownership of copyright in Course Materials (as that term is used in the Ownership of Course Materials policy) or other instructional or scholarly content for works created by UC Davis faculty/instructors and for which the University could claim copyright ownership when such works – including, but not limited to, class recordings via AggieVideo (powered by Kaltura), Lecture Capture, Canvas, Zoom and Google Meet – were created as a result of the temporary suspension of face-to-face classroom teaching due to COVID-19.”

Kristin H. Lagattuta, Ph.D.
Chair, Davis Division of the Academic Senate

Preparation Week
One of our demands is a to have the first week of Spring term be a paid week of training and preparation for the shift to online courses. This has been refered to as a soft start, preparation week and transition week. The Council of Vice Chancellors issued a guidance memo to the campuses, which has not been made public, suggesting that the first week after spring break on quarter campuses be an optional transition week.  This does not provided enough clarity for our member or our students about expectation for the first week. It also does not address semester campuses where our members began shifting courses online before spring break. The Council of UC Faculty Associations has called for two weeks of preparation time at the beginning after spring break.  Here is a partial list of universities that are dedicating one week to paid training and support as faculty convert courses online include Duke University, the University of Texas Austin and almost 20 other Texas colleges and universities, University of Alaska, University of Wyoming, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Arkansas, Middle Tennessee State University, Northeastern, New Mexico State, Ohio State, and many more.  We strongly, strongly urge the UC to follow suit in the best interests of students and faculty.

COVID-19 Bargaining Librarians
On March 13, we began circulating a survey to librarians. On March 19, we submitted the following Demand to Bargain to UCOP.

UC-AFT demands to bargain over the effects to Unit 17 of the University's COVID-19 response measures.   The effects we have identified thus far include but are not limited to:

  • shifts to remote and online work formats
  • use/cancellation of telecommuting agreements
  • need for adequate technical support, home internet access, and hardware
  • reduction of professional development opportunities
  • changes to merit review procedures and criteria
  • cancellations of professional conferences at which librarians were going to represent UC

We anticipate identifying additional effects based on responses to a survey we have circulated.

UC-AFT's advocacy on behalf of students, faculty and librarians is not just about ourselves, but about constructing the future of public higher education long after the crisis is over.

General Recommendations
1. Save all reciepts for expenses incurred resulting from changes to your work due to Univeristy policy around COVID-19.
2.  Document all additional work and time expended due to transition to and performance of online teaching.
3.  Make a plan for what you will do in the case that you begin to feel flu-like symptoms.  

UC Leave Policy for COVID-19

April 27: COVID-19 Leaves and Job Protection Guidance for Academic Personnel
April 27: COVID-19 Leave Guidance for Academic Supervisors (updated 4/27/20) (PDF)
April 20: COVID-19 EPAL Request and Tracking Form for Academic Appointees (MS Word)
April 14: 4th Issuance Leave Guidance for Supervisors of Academic Appointees
April 13: Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Related Leaves and Job Protections
April 7: Eligibility for Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
April 2: COVID Letter and FAQ's

March 27: 3rd Issuance Leave Guidance for Supervisors of Academic Appointees
March 20: 2nd Issuance Leave Guidance for Supervisors of Academic Appointees
March 18: Per Diem and Variable Staff Appointments

March 17: Leave Guidance for Supervisors of Academic Appointees
March 16: Executive Order Napolitano
March 9: Paid Leave and Remote Work Provisions

At the bargaining table on March 13, UCOP's chief negotiator said that the University would abide by proposals that they committed to bargaining but that have not yet been ratified as part of our contract. See the relevant clauses below.


1. Eligibility
a. NSF who have an average of 66% or greater appointment for a full academic year (three quarters or two semesters) who are unable to work for reasons of
personal illness, injury, or disability are eligible for Paid Medical Leave.

2. An eligible NSF shall be granted Paid Medical Leave as follows:
a. Eligible NSF with fewer than ten (10) years of employment in the bargaining unit at the same campus who do not accrue sick leave shall be eligible for a
maximum of twenty-two (22) weeks of consecutive or intermittent paid medical leave within a ten-year period for personal injury, illness or disability.

b. Eligible NSF with ten (10) or more years of employment in the bargaining unit at the same campus who do not accrue sick leave shall be eligible for a
maximum of thirty-six (36) weeks of consecutive or intermittent paid medical leave within each subsequent 10-year period, for personal injury, illness or disability.

Resources for Teaching
These documents may help you connect with your students under unprecedented circumstances.

Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption
Consortium on Graduate Education Community Doc for Online Teaching
Teaching in the Context of COVID-19
Global Society of Online Literacy Educators


CA Employment Development Department COVID-19 Unemployment Information

Unemployment & Underemployment Benefits for Educators Workshop
(click on time slot below to register)

Wednesday, April 22, 2020
12:00pm - 1:30pm
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Are you losing your job (or losing hours) as a result of the current pandemic? Is someone in your household unemployed or underemployed? In many cases, you may be eligible for benefits you’re not aware of. Unemployment benefits have been significantly expanded as a result of recent laws, and we’ll cover important changes members need to know about. This workshop will also demystify the process of applying for unemployment benefits. Learn about requirements of the Employment Development Department (EDD) and the step-by-step process when applying for benefits. This workshop will particularly benefit part-time faculty, temporary certificated staff, and anyone facing reduced, cancelled, or unscheduled teaching loads in the present and near-future. 

Student Debt Forbearance


Thursday, April 23, 2020
12:00pm - 1:30pm
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Anyone paying back federal student loan debt can request a 60-day pause due to disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The policy – announced by the U.S. Department of Education – is aimed at providing relief to millions of college student loan borrowers during this time of uncertainty in Americans’ jobs and economic lives. The suspension of loan payments does not wipe out debt. Borrowers have to request the delay, referred to as “forbearance,” from their lender. During the 60-day pause, interest will also be waived, dating back to March 13. The Department left open the possibility of extending the two-month delay in payments.

You can follow developments on student debt relief during this crisis by following the organization Student Debt Crisis, which is advocating for and tracking proposals. Student loan debt affects 4 million Californians who carry an estimated $1.41 billion in debt.

Legal Updates: Parental Leaves for Education Workers
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Members frequently ask how to prepare for childbirth or adoption, and which laws and programs provide benefits. Are school employees entitled to the leave and pay provisions of FMLA and CFRA? How do members know if they’re eligible for disability benefits, and under which plans? What are my rights to child-bonding leave? What benefits are common in union contracts, and how do members coordinate all of these benefits with the employer? Join one of our attorneys to find out how it all works and provide the answers your members need.

COVID-19 FAQ’s for UC-AFT Teaching Faculty

In addition the FAQ below, check out AAUP's Principles and Standards for the COVI-19 Crisis.

General Guidance

UC-AFT faculty are going above and beyond to keep teaching and reaching students during an extremely difficult time. We’re all in this together, and we’re pouring everything we’ve got into doing high-quality and creative work under challenging circumstances. That said, if you’re asked to do something you’re uncomfortable with, or if you have questions about your rights and responsibilities, contact your UC-AFT field representative immediately. And if you have unmet financial, food, or housing needs right now, please let your union know by completing this survey.

Workload and Transition to Online Courses

I’ve been asked to transition all my courses online on very short notice. I’m happy to do it for my students, but this has required a lot of additional work. Will I be compensated for this additional time?

Article 24 of our contract (Instructional Workload) allows for a course equivalency or other form of payment for work that is in addition to regular teaching duties. Article 24 Section B.1.h specifically cites development of online instruction materials, course redesign, or web content as work that deserves an additional payment. You may request compensation for extraordinary workload from your department chair with reference to Article 24.B.1.h. If you do so, please let your UC-AFT field rep know what response you receive.

Should I document the additional time it takes me to transition my course online?
Yes. You should document all extra time you spend modifying, developing, and posting online materials. You should also document time it takes to access and learn new online platforms, and the time required to teach remotely that is above and beyond what you normally dedicate to in-person classes.

What should I do if I’m asked to increase enrollments in my courses or told that my enrollment caps are going up?
Assert your right to be paid for additional work under Article 24 and document all additional work thoroughly. Our union has proposed in bargaining that enrollment cannot go up as a result of collapsing multiple courses into one. Contact your UC-AFT field representative.

How much effort should I put into my online courses?
Do the best that you can under the circumstances. Our bargaining proposals seek to ensure that this is a temporary shift to online learning and that student evaluations of teaching will be handled appropriately given the circumstances.

I’ve received messages about being flexible with instruction during the first week after spring break. What does that mean?
It means UC admin has responded favorably to information our bargaining team shared with them about UC-AFT faculty needing time and resources to ramp up online instruction. It’s a victory for our union.

You may dedicate time to preparing your classes, obtaining equipment, learning how to use new tools, and consulting colleagues and support staff about best practices. You may teach students how to use remote tools and orient them to an online environment instead of teaching syllabi content. You may rebalance or trim some course content if it ultimately helps students achieve the overall learning goals of your class. Generally, you may use the week to ease into full teaching. And if you don’t need to do any of this, you can launch into full spring teaching right away.


What paid leave am I entitled to?
The UC Office of the President is granting all UC employees 16 days of paid leave for self-quarantine, COVID-19 related illness, or care-giving. In addition, thanks to our UC-AFT bargaining efforts, the administration has agreed to give paid medical leave to UC-AFT teaching faculty who have full academic year appointments at 66% or greater. You may be eligible for up to 22 weeks of paid medical (if you have less than 10 years service) and up to 36 weeks of paid medical leave (if you have more than ten years service). This leave can be taken intermittently, meaning you don’t have to take the full 22/36 weeks all at once. Winning this leave is a major UC-AFT victory.

What if I have to purchase equipment to make my online courses run well?
We have proposed that out of pocket costs for equipment necessary for effective remote teaching be reimbursed by the University. The University has not agreed to this and instead is directing us toward equipment loan programs that may be available on the campuses. If you purchase any necessary equipment for remote teaching, keep the receipts and document the reasons why the equipment is necessary for your remote course.

Am I eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if I become sick as a result of being exposed to COVID-19 while working on campus?

Reduction in Time, Layoff and Unemployment

Can I be laid off or reduced in time as a result of COVID-19?
Unfortunately, yes. That said, our union is proposing measures that would mitigate the need for layoffs for courses that might be challenging to teach online. One key measure is giving teaching faculty full discretion over how to teach their courses remotely and ensuring a discussion with teaching faculty about ways to maintain their courses prior to any decision to cancel a course.

What should I do and say if I fear I’m in danger of losing classes?
Contact your department chair immediately to discuss creative ways to reach students remotely or define alternative service and professional development work you can perform now. Perhaps that means meeting with students in your choir class one-on-one by Zoom for short periods to review their parts individually instead of having the whole choir rehearse together. Perhaps that means recording a routine for your dance students to practice at home instead of in the studio. Your department may have curriculum development needs that you can fulfill if your classes are canceled. The important thing is to be clear and proactive in saying that you want to work, you can work, and you have ideas for completing work that needs to be done.

Can I file for unemployment if I lose a class or am laid off entirely?
Yes. You should apply as soon as the layoff or reduction in time is effective. The State of CA has changed the rules so that unemployment eligibility begins immediately. There is no longer a one week waiting period. 

Should You Become Ill

What should I do if I become ill and cannot teach my courses?
You should immediately notify your department chair and inform them of when you will begin to use the 16 days of paid administrative leave. If your appointment is 66% or higher, you are also eligible for extended paid medical leave, but it may be wise to reserve this for more severe illness and ongoing health complications.

What should I do if my department tells me I have to arrange for a substitute lecturer for my courses if I get sick?
It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that your courses are covered in the case that you are ill. Article 8.B of our contract (Instructional Support) says that a UC-AFT faculty member may request University assistance in arranging a substitute to satisfy the instructional obligations of the course. And, that if the University decides that a substitute is appropriate and necessary, it will assume all related expenses.

We recommend that if you have colleagues who are qualified and available to substitute for your courses in the case that you become ill, you should make plans with them in advance. You might want to share this plan with the department in advance to ensure a timely transition. That said, teaching faculty are not obligated to provide for or arrange for their own substitutes.

What should I do if my department tells me I have to arrange for substitute TAs if one of my TAs gets sick?
UC-AFT teaching faculty are not responsible for providing substitute TAs. If your TA becomes ill and cannot work, inform the department immediately of your need for another TA to fill in. If the department doesn’t provide a substitute, document all additional work you perform as a result.