Courts encourage alternate, remote work arrangements

Leadership of Florida’s state courts continues to take actions to protect public health and safety while maintaining essential access to justice.

COVID-19 alternate work

In response to guidance from state and federal health officials, courts throughout the state are encouraged to offer alternate work schedules and remote work options to employees. Prioritizing employees who are among identified vulnerable populations, and accommodating those with children affected by school closures, the Florida Supreme Court and the Office of the State Courts Administrator have instituted alternate and remote work policies and procedures.

“As we continue to address the effects of COVID-19, judicial branch leadership’s utmost concern is the health and safety of judges, officers, and employees,” wrote State Courts Administrator Lisa Kiel in a memo to chief judges and trial court administrators, among other branch leadership. “We are committed to taking all necessary precautions to protect all of you. At the same time, the work of the court system must continue.”

The steps encouraging alternate work arrangements are designed to protect the health of employees and their families and is also a critical part of efforts to stem community spread of the coronavirus.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention advised “employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.”

Employees who are authorized to work remotely will comply with telework policies in place before the current health emergency. Designations of mission-critical jobs and preparations for working remotely are part of long-standing emergency readiness reflected in the State Courts System’s continuation of operations plan, including detailed contingencies for use of technology to conduct the business of courts.

Those employees who do report to work are directed to follow best practices even within the workplace.

“Social distancing strategies should be put into place to the extent possible for those reporting to headquarters, including working in seclusion (in an office with the door closed), conducting meetings by phone, avoiding common gathering areas, etc.,” the memorandum states.

By Paul Flemming
Last Modified: November 06, 2020