ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has announced new temporary measures to support employees unable to work due to school and daycare closures announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At this time, there are no confirmed nor presumptive cases of COVID-19 among Sandia employees.
Sandia’s top priority is to keep employees, and by extension its communities, safe and healthy. The labs has a cross-organizational team meeting daily to discuss and monitor COVID-19. The team’s goal is to help ensure Sandia has an effective preparedness and management system in place.
The measures temporarily expand paid leave ordinarily taken to care for ill family members to also include taking care of family members when schools or daycares are closed effective March 16 through April 3.
“Sandia believes these measures will ensure our national security mission is met, while caring for the health, safety and well-being of our more than 14,000 employees in New Mexico, California and other communities,” Labs Director James Peery said.
Sandia employees also are encouraged to take advantage of the following already-available options:
- Telecommuting for employees’ incidental reasons has been extended from 30 days to 60 days. Employees also are encouraged to telecommute in accordance with laboratory policies already in place. Employees may arrange with their managers to work from home, if their jobs are suitable for work away from the labs.
- Adjusting work schedules, where appropriate.
- When employees or family members are ill – or are being tested for COVID-19 – using existing sickness absence and paid family leave policies to ensure the health and safety of the workforce.
- For flexibility, using accrued vacation and flextime hours, when telecommuting and other paid time off is not possible.
Keeping Sandia employees healthy
In addition to providing employees with information on proper hygiene and actions they can take to protect themselves, Sandia has enhanced its cleaning processes and increased their frequency.
Sandia has implemented several changes to its travel policies, following guidance from the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration:
- Per Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration guidance, Sandia has limited all international travel. Only mission-essential international business travel will be permitted during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Employees returning from personal travel to any Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Risk Level 2 or 3 country, or employees returning from any international travel showing signs of illness, have been told to call Sandia’s medical team before returning to work.
- In terms of domestic travel, when feasible, Sandia has asked employees to reduce and postpone travel over the next 60 days and to seek out alternatives to travel.
Sandia is providing its employees with guidance about COVID-19 and resources for more information, including hygiene and social-distancing measures to help protect themselves. Here’s some of the recommendations:
- Employees have been asked to consider using video teleconferencing in lieu of face-to-face meetings and to invite only essential people to meetings. When possible, they are encouraged to conduct in-person meetings with sufficient space to allow about six feet between participants.
- Employees are asked to stagger their lunch breaks and avoid congregating in lunch or break rooms.
- Sandia is asking its employees to follow CDC hygiene guidance.
Sandia is following guidance from the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the CDC and will continue to closely monitor the situation.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.
Sandia news media contact: Troy Rummler, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-284-1056