Carnegie Mellon University

Guidance on Remote Work Related to Coronavirus

Effective March 16, 2020, until further notice

As announced on March 11, Carnegie Mellon University is implementing temporary new policies and practices based on social distancing strategies recommended by health experts in order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19). While existing Human Resource (HR) policies and practices will continue to be in effect, we are instituting temporary exceptions to these policies and practices as described below. The temporary exceptions referenced below may be subject to change depending on evolving circumstances and will end when the university determines appropriate.     

Although the university has decided to conduct classes remotely, we remain open and are encouraging people to engage in social distancing practices. In many circumstances, university work can be performed remotely and the university encourages supervisors to consider allowing it where practicable. The guidelines below are to assist supervisors in working with employees to make these determinations and to guide changes in practice which will apply to those for whom remote work is approved.

We also recognize that there may be staff whose job responsibilities cannot be performed remotely, but who have specific health or other circumstances which may require specialized plans. Staff in such a situation should consult with their supervisors, who will work with HR on individual case-by-case resolutions.

Below are guidelines for remote work for faculty, staff and student workers for the Pittsburgh Campus. Guidelines for other locations are being handled with HR in a manner that is specific to the situation in those regions.


As announced on March 11, 2020, faculty are expected to deliver graduate and undergraduate programs remotely, virtually or through alternative teaching and assessment. Alternative teaching should not include a return to campus to teach in a group setting. Faculty are expected to work with their deans and department heads regarding the details of course delivery and research.

Staff — Exempt, Non-Exempt and Non-Union

All exempt, non-exempt and non-union staff members who wish to work remotely and believe that their job functions are conducive to working remotely should work with their supervisors to determine whether such an arrangement is practicable. More detail can be found on Guidelines for Remote Work. HR business partners are available to assist with these discussions. 

Final determinations shall follow the chain of authority in each college or division.

Where a remote working arrangement has been approved, staff members should work closely with their supervisors regarding job responsibilities and meeting expectations. Staff members will continue to be paid for all time worked. 

Non-exempt employees must continue to accurately complete a timesheet of all time worked through the Workday system. Non-exempt employees should regularly coordinate with their supervisor regarding work assignments and work hours while working remotely. Non-exempt employees may not work overtime on a remote basis without written pre-approval from their supervisor. 

Supervisors should treat employees consistently. For unique situations, supervisors should contact their HR business partners.

Please see refer to HR’s detailed guidelines regarding remote work for more information.

Union Workers

Currently, it is assumed that the job functions performed by union workers do not allow for remote work. 

Graduate and Undergraduate Student Workers (other than Students on Stipends)

Where remote work has been approved by supervisors, hourly student workers and teaching assistants should work directly with their supervisors to manage job requirements and expectations. Hourly workers must continue to accurately complete a timesheet of all time worked through the Workday system.

If remote work has not been approved, job requirements and expectations should be resolved through conversations with supervisors.

Students on research assistantships or fellowship stipends should work with their research supervisor to manage remote work arrangements, job requirements and expectations. Again, it is the university’s intention to permit this where practicable. The Research Office and Provost's Office will provide guidelines regarding stipends.

International Students and Non-immigrant Visa Holder Employees 

All international students and non-immigrant visa holders should work directly with the Office of International Education regarding any immigration or international questions or concerns. The university encourages them to discuss any international travel plans with the Office of International Education prior to traveling as there may be implications for immigration status/future benefits.

Resources for employees who are unable to work remotely

Resources for employees who are sick [pdf]