The Office of Human Resources will be implementing three new policies as of Jan. 1, 2020, according to a Sept. 26 inBrief email. The policies, which establish flexible staff schedules, a reward system and a new child care systems, keep with a central HR priority to “make Brandeis a great place to work,” per the same email.

The first policy outlined by the inBrief email sent out by the Department of Finance and Administration is the establishment of a “University-wide Staff Policy on Telecommuting and Alternate Work Schedules for Staff.” HR acknowledged that the University’s schools and departments might have their own individual policies for flexible scheduling; however, they are looking to establish “a more comprehensive and consistent approach,” according to the email. The new system will provide forms that can be signed by the staff member and manager, then approved by the head of the school or division head. Although the heads of individual schools and divisions will continue to direct the telecommunications scheduling, central HR will be available for “guidance, consulting and issue resolution.”

The second policy is a new “On-The-Spot Reward Program” under which managers will have the ability to reward important staff contributions with Amazon gift cards charged from their budget. These gift cards will range from $50 to $350 and will be distributed in $50 increments. The card’s value counts as taxable income which will be processed a few payrolls after it is received. The HR website explained that this program was instituted because “from previous Brandeis work-life surveys, [they] know that recognition is very important to staff.”

The third policy is a revised “Child and Dependant Care Program.” Because there is not enough space in the Gersh & Sarah Lemberg Children’s Center, the University has signed a new contract with Bright Horizons, an employer-sponsored child and dependant care provider headquartered in Watertown, MA. This new contract allows for preferred enrollment into Childrens’ Centers operated either by Bright Horizons or its partner institutions, tuition discounts on a varying basis, back-up care when the primary care provider is unavailable, access to the Bright Horizons library on child-care information and resources and free access to, a site that connects parents with home-based child-care providers. 

At the end of each policy description, the HR office cautioned that these new policies do not necessarily apply to everyone, so “bargaining unit members should inquire about the relevance of these programs to their unit.”