Working Remotely Outside of California and Internationally During COVID-19

Posted 10/27/2020
Updated 11/19/2020

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. The following guidance applies to academic appointees who are expected to work remotely due to COVID-19.

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

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 is extending permission to work remotely from abroad through the end of academic year 2020-21. updated 11/19/20

  • The permission to temporarily work 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. are expected to 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. 
  • The academic appointee should consult with their department, program, or unit. 
  • Accordingly, academic appointees currently based overseas should make every effort to secure the proper entry permit/work authorization and arrive or return to the United States as soon as possible, even if the University of California continues with remote instruction/work.

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. 

New Academic Appointments

Normally, new academic appointments are made contingent upon the individual being able to obtain valid U.S. work authorization and arrive in the U.S. by the start date of their appointment (start dates may be postponed if necessary). 

For new appointees that may be temporarily working from abroad, hiring units must consult with the Export Controls office before offering an appointment. 

Questions regarding new appointments can be directed to the appropriate divisional academic personnel coordinator.

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.