COVID‑19 Staffing Update

To reduce the risk of exposure of infection further impacting the community health care systems and agency workforce, below is updated direction regarding COVID-19 as it relates to staffing.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Correctional Health Care Services are deemed essential agencies. Within the agencies, positions are deemed by the Hiring Authority as critical/essential (of which the public will expect the government to continue providing) or non-critical/essential. Effective immediately Hiring Authorities or designee should establish a staff management plan that maximizes telework to the extent possible while at the same time allowing for effective social distancing for those in that must remain in office, taking into consideration stay-at-home directives from state and local public health departments, and protects the health of employees over the entire length of this crisis.  This plan must ensure that mission critical (“critical”) functions and services are maintained, consistent with public health needs arising from this emergency.

Hiring Authorities or designee should do the following:

  1. Determine which critical employees cannot telework and need to continue to report to the office and establish appropriate social distancing protocols to keep them safe in the office.
  2. Establish a telework schedule for all other employees who are eligible for telework.
  3. For anyone whose job duties are not immediately critical to the continuity of operations, and are not viable for telework, a review should be conducted to determine if the employee can be redirected to other work that is either critical (#1) or eligible for telework (#2).
  4. As a last resort, for anyone who is not eligible for telework and cannot be redirected, Administrative Time Off (ATO) will be provided, regardless of available leave balances. Hiring Authorities will continue to report on all staff approved for ATO to CalHR for possible redirection to appropriate work in another department. All staff on ATO should be provided with directions on how to stay in daily reoccurring contact with management for assignment of duties.
  5. In establishing telework schedules, departments should prioritize those employees who are considered at greatest risk and employees who are impacted by school closures.
    1. For employees 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions, departments should consider all available options for telework and flexible work schedules.  Those employees not eligible for these options and subject to a local stay-at-home directive shall be provided ATO.
    1. This does not include people in essential classifications who are needed to protect our most vulnerable residents, such as hospital and health care workers, pharmacists, peace officers, firefighters, etc.

Rotational Telework Program

All hiring authorities or designee should review their ability to implement a rotational telework program where a number of support staff need to be physically present in the office.  Support staff can be pooled to cover departmental needs on a rotational basis. For example, each day two staff will be scheduled to report to work, and two will be scheduled as back-ups. The support staff not scheduled to report to work are expected to be teleworking.

It is the public policy of the state to continue to operate effectively during this emergency.  This approach will keep as many employees as possible engaged and will allow departments to deploy state staff to critical functions as absenteeism due to illness increases.

Other Important Changes

In our effort to further support social distancing directives, effective immediately all non-essential travel should be cancelled. All options for using technology solutions to conduct meetings should be considered.

Consistent with updated CDC guidance, anyone with a family member who has been confirmed to have positive test for COVID-19 should remain home. Employees in this situation are eligible to use all available leave types.

Please continue to track and report daily those staff teleworking, those assigned ATO, and the Absenteeism report.


  • Telework Arrangement and Task Log – Must be approved by a supervisor and IT.
  • COVID-19 related ATO: In the instance COVID-19 related ATO is considered, use this form. Note: All other options shall be explored. ATO approval shall be reassessed on a continuous basis. Signed copies of the form should be retained with the employee, immediate supervisor, and Official Personnel File.