Human Resources outlines guidance for ASG workforce operations
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Government employees working from home under the current Code-Blue work schedule format, are prohibited from working in the private sector or another workplace other than from home, according to Human Resource director Eseneiaso J. Liu in a memo outlining guidance for executive branch directors to follow as the ASG workforce operates under specific days working from either home or on site.
Liu explained that it’s important to make sure that government employees have a clear understanding of their work priorities, and the requisite responsibility of directors and agency heads to ensure that they take ownership of the “new working format.” (See Samoa News edition Apr. 1st for details of current work-format.)
According to the director, it’s imperative to set clear expectations when establishing work hours, prioritizing tasks, and attending meetings that usually would require physical presence. “It is essential to empower team leaders to create to-do lists and deadlines for employees to make sure projects are progressing at a good pace with completion deadlines met,” she recommends.
“To strengthen social distancing... employees must adhere to staying home along with the prohibition to work at the private sector, or another workplace other than home,” Liu informed cabinet members who have the primary responsibility for establishing and administering procedures for internal control and compliance with the new work schedule format.
Additionally, directors and agency heads are designated to provide necessary support for employees working from home and keeping track of their responsibilities as well as their time at home and not anywhere else. Furthermore, they are tasked with maintaining the required documentation of all employees and their daily schedules.
Time keepers and supervisors are tasked with the responsibility of reporting the total 80 hours per pay period with proof of the 20 working hours within each workweek. And if for any reason the timecards provided do not have proof of the 20 working hours within each week, Liu, noted that the Payroll Division will deduct the hours accordingly.
Employees subject to work on holidays are still required to request pre-approval prior to working these holidays respectively, she said.
Liu called on all ASG employees to familiarize themselves with provisions of the emergency declaration and internal policies in terms of their duties and responsibilities as well as their work schedule.
Employees are also informed to perform their duties as assigned and report to their supervisors on the progress of their activities and their whereabouts if not performing work from home or on a 20-hour work week.
“This will limit any liability which might occur during the period of working from home,” she said and emphasized that there should be no overtime accrued for employees on the 20-hour work week.
Furthermore, employees currently taking leave are still obligated to present leave slips and supplemental documents corresponding to the leave taken.
Liu explained that administrative controls — which are typically changes in work policy or procedures to reduce or minimize exposure to a hazard — require action to be enforced by each agency.
Examples of administrative controls for COVID-19 include:
• encouraging sick workers to stay at home and use paid sick leave, annual leave, comp-time;
• minimizing contact among workers, clients and customers
• emails, photo, video-teleconferencing
• establish alternating days or extra shifts that reduce total number of employees in a facility at a given time (50% staffing levels), allowing them to maintain distance from one another while maintaining a full onsite work week.
Liu encouraged all departments and agencies to abide with parameters in the COVID-19 declaration governing the ASG workforce.