Mason Shifts to Remote Work, Offers Emergency Leave

Fourth Estate/Alexandria McAlpine

As the U.S. adjusts to staggering unemployment rates, Mason employees telework


As the coronavirus strengthens its grasp on societies all over the world, Mason employees have adjusted to a life of working from home as other Americans face unemployment. 

Mason Human Resources and Payroll has implemented a Telework Toolkit to help accommodate employees, including a Flexible Work Agreement in order to work remotely. 

This toolkit also provides instructions for those working remotely for Mason from outside of the U.S., and allows for Mason employees to host and attend video conference sessions or conference calls via Cisco Webex.

According to Mason Human Resources, Public Health Emergency Leave is now available for employees to enter in on their timesheets for multiple reasons, including attending to medical needs of themselves or a family member; having chronic health conditions or being age 65 or older and there are no alternative flexible work options; making alternative childcare arrangements due to day and school closures; and if an employee’s job is not conducive to telework.

Assistant Athletic Director for Communications Mark LaFrance explained that working from home has changed how the athletic department functions greatly. 

“So much of what makes working in college athletics special are the people and the thrill of competition,” LaFrance said. “Being away from our Mason Athletics family and not having games and events certainly has been challenging and a big adjustment. But I’ve been so impressed by the resolve and maturity of our student-athletes and how they’ve adapted to this new normal.”

LaFrance also commented on the ways the athletics department has been able to tell stories from afar. 

“We’ve found new ways to tell the student-athlete story, and I really love the content we’ve been putting out from our communications office,” he said. “Oftentimes in college sports, there are so many games that people can forget how impressive our student-athletes are in all facets of their lives.” 

He continued, “I think the stories and content we’ve put out have showcased why our athletes love to compete and how successful they are in their academics and off the field pursuits.”

According to The Washington Post, 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment since President Trump declared the coronavirus a national emergency four weeks ago on March 10. 

The loss in jobs has nearly set back all of the 22.8 million jobs gained from 2010 as a result of the 2008 Great Recession rebound. 

The unemployment rate increased to 20.2 percent within the first week of April, according to a study on labor market estimates. 

The number of hours worked per adult declined 25 percent from the second week of March due to lower hours for employees, resulting in a 21 percent decline in earnings. This was found most pronounced for workers who are female, older and less educated. 

The coronavirus has also resulted in over 60 percent of work hours being conducted from home — a dramatic increase from roughly 10 percent in 2017-2018.