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Work-life website established to help University community

by Sherry Fisher - September 19, 2005

The University has established a new website, WorkLife Connections, in recognition of the challenges faced by faculty, staff, and students in balancing the many facets of their lives.

The website was designed and organized by the Provost’s Childcare Implementation Committee, to provide the University community with better access to information and resources pertaining to childcare and other work-life issues. The website is a clearinghouse of information and resources to help people comfortably manage their work, study, and personal obligations.

“There have always been many resources available at the University addressing childcare, eldercare, leaves for illnesses, and policies on work-life flexibility, but the information was not conveniently located,” says Veronica Makowsky, vice provost for undergraduate education and regional campus administration, and co-chair of the childcare committee.

“There are many good policies,” Makowsky says, “but many employees and managers aren’t aware of them. Now, the information is all in one place, with many useful links.”

Terri Dominguez, co-chair of the Provost’s Childcare Implementation Committee and a manager in the Department of Environmental Health and Safety, had a large role in creating the website.

Makowsky says it is critical that the University provide a supportive environment for faculty, staff, and students that accommodates demanding events surrounding family life.

“We can’t neglect the work-life part of our infrastructure,” she says. “People need balance in their lives. They have their jobs at the University, but they also have personal lives.

“In order to retain, attract, and recruit good employees and students we have to make it possible for them to be good family members,” she adds. “They may have children or aging parents to care for, or other personal issues that require flexibility. That part of their lives needs to be going well in order for them to work productively.”

In fall 2004, the administration issued a statement clarifying its position on the issue of work-life flexibility. Part of that reads: “While the University must fulfill its mission of striving for excellence, it also is committed to fostering an environment that is responsive to employees’ and students’ personal obligations and commitments. Flexibility that does not diminish operating standards and the achievement of academic goals is not only possible, but desirable.”

The statement also says faculty and staff in managerial or supervisory positions should be familiar with union contracts and policies, as well as programs and procedures available to help employees, including those who are students. The full statement is on the new website.

The site also includes information and updates from the Provost’s Childcare Implementation Committee, and links to work/life policies and procedures in the Department of Human Resources — such as leaves of absence and flextime forms; contractual and collective bargaining agreements; and some other University policies, such as those about family and medical leave. There are also links on how to locate and select childcare, resources for parenting, and information about senior services and eldercare.

Links to the webpage are on the human resources, faculty/staff, University Index and other UConn webpages.

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