Working Remotely Outside of California and Internationally During COVID-19 and Fall Quarter 2021

Posted 10/27/2020
Updated 2/17/2021 (permission to temporarily work remotely from abroad in limited circumstance extended through summer 2021)
Updated 6/7/2021 (added: guidelines and instructions for requesting an exception in order to temporarily work remotely from abroad during fall quarter 2021)

The University of California has made clear that all employees who have legal authorization to work in the United States must be physically located in the United States (U.S.) during this period of remote work, unless they are on an approved sabbatical leave or change of duty station.

However, the University understands the variety of challenges many international employees are experiencing during the 2020-21 academic year and, in some cases, fall quarter 2021. The following guidance applies to academic appointees who are expected to work remotely due to COVID-19 (applicable through summer 2021) and for appointments that start or occur during fall quarter 2021 which permit a telework arrangement (applicable through December 31, 2021).

Working Remotely Outside of California

Employees who are working in the U.S. but outside of California should inform their supervisor and update their place of residence in UC Path, to ensure appropriate withholding, etc. H-1B employees who are working outside of commuting distance from Santa Cruz (but inside the U.S.) for 30 days or longer should consult with International Student and Scholar Services before changing work locations.

Working Remotely from Abroad Through Summer 2021

For those who are currently abroad and unable to arrive or return to the U.S. due to visa processing barriers or international travel restrictions, the University has extended permission to work remotely from abroad through the end of academic year 2020-21 and summer 2021

Academic appointees currently telecommuting from abroad, with appointments that extend beyond summer 2021 are required to obtain work authorization and work within the U.S. by fall 2021. Academic appointees who have an appointment that is scheduled to commence after summer 2021 are expected to meet work authorization requirements for University employment. Work location will be determined by the position and communicated during the appointment process.

Working Remotely from Abroad: Fall 2021

The temporary exception permitting UC employees to live and work remotely from an international location ends after summer 2021. However, the University understands that there will be proposed academic appointees who are not able to arrive in the US by the start of fall quarter, due to continued visa processing barriers or international travel restrictions. In such cases, the individual may seek an exception that would permit them to temporarily work remotely from abroad, up until the end of December 2021. 

Exceptions will only be granted to requests that clearly document visa processing barriers or international travel restrictions, and require approval from the Academic Personnel Office. Those who wish to request an exception must complete and submit this form as soon as possible, no later than August 16, 2021.

General Provisions for Academic Appointees Working Remotely from Abroad

  • Permission to temporarily telework from abroad only applies to positions that permit a teleworking arrangement; many academic positions do not permit full-time or routine teleworking.
  • The permission to temporarily telework from abroad applies only to those who are currently abroad and unable to arrive or return to the U.S. due to visa processing barriers or international travel restrictions. Employees who can work from the U.S. must do so.
  • University permission for academic appointees to temporarily work abroad does not imply authority under federal law to do so; academic appointees may be precluded from doing so due to federal and international regulations. 
  • Academic appointees who are abroad and facing barriers to returning to the U.S. are expected to keep their supervisor and/or unit head updated on their situation and expected return date.
  • Accordingly, academic appointees who are currently abroad should make every effort to secure the proper entry permit/work authorization and arrive or return to the United States as soon as possible.
  • The permission to temporarily telework from abroad, even for those with a visa processing barrier or international travel restriction, will end effective December 31, 2021.
  • For appointees who may be temporarily teleworking from abroad, hiring units must consult with the Export Controls office before offering an appointment.
  • Questions can be directed to the appropriate divisional academic personnel coordinator.

It is each employee’s responsibility to comply with all applicable laws, including tax filing and payment mandates, of the U.S., California, and any state where they reside and work. Employees are advised to consult with their tax or legal advisors if they have questions.

The University of California has developed the following FAQs regarding working from abroad:

Traveling and Living Abroad

If an academic appointee needs to travel outside of the country for personal reasons (e.g., to care for an ill family member) or professional reasons  (e.g., to attend a conference), they should apply for a leave of absence in accordance with the applicable leave policy (see CAPM 900.700) or collective bargaining agreement. 

Communicating Work Expectations 

Clear work and communication expectations should be set and enforced between the supervisor and the academic appointee.

For non-represented academic employees, expectations can be documented in a remote work/telecommuting agreement. For represented academic employees, it is recommended that the supervisor discuss their expectations during the remote work period and then follow-up by email to document the discussion. Communication patterns between the supervisor and appointee should be clearly stated and maintained.

See Also