Emergency Update


  1. Message From Parney - updated 4/19
  2. Emergency Temporary Paid Time Off (EPTO) - updated 4/9
  3. Computer Resources for Telecommunicating
  4. Campus Use - updated 4/8
  5. On-Site Meeting
  6. Travel
  7. Work From Home
  8. Vendor Staff
  9. CDC Info
  10. WHO Info
  11. Useful Links


UPDATED 04/19/20 @ 5:14PM

Greetings from the Albright Manor. Well, actually it’s a duplex—hardly a manor house—but I do like it.

I expect that everyone has gone to the HRL web site by now and read the guidelines EH&S posted regarding the proper use and care of disposable and cloth facemasks; they are of course applicable whether you need to come in to HRL and use either your own mask or one that we've provided, or (hopefully the large majority of you) the mask you are wearing to the store as you stay at home.

I went to the grocery store the other day and now everyone is wearing some sort of face mask. The store had also clearly marked each aisle as one way, which most (but not all) people honored—seriously, so what if you need to go down the baby food aisle to stay with the one way rule?? Geez. They also had spots marked at the checkout lanes to keep people appropriately distanced. Seems like a pretty good system. I haven't had the need to brave COSTCO yet; I am avoiding that experience for as long as I can.

One item that has been much in the news recently has been the discussion of when and how to re-open the economy and get back to normal. I sent around a couple of weeks back Tom Inglesby's list of what he felt needs to happen; his view is widely shared by the public health community. I think we are quite a ways away; for example, the availability of test kits is just not there by a long shot (the 3 million that have been touted by some would not even test 1% of the population). Although you hear people talk about relaxing some strictures by mid-May, I am not sanguine that will happen so soon and in any event I do not think it is a good idea. The key risk that has to be dealt with is to not overwhelm the health care system, and a premature re-opening would lead to that, potentially wasting everything we've gone through to date. Even as we do start to relax the posture within our community and at HRL, there will remain at risk populations—think the elderly, people with diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory issues, people who are immune compromised for a variety of reasons—who will be substantially constrained until at least an effective treatment is available. There are a couple of antivirals in clinical trials right now (for effectiveness; they are already FDA approved for other diseases so safety is less a concern). As an aside, hydroxychloroquine, which is not an antiviral, is not looking very promising and seems to have pretty bad side effects; it reminds us to listen to public health experts and not politicians.

Speaking of staying at home, it is easy (at least for me) to stay busy but the lack of human contact, even for an introvert like myself, is a bit jarring. My son, who lives alone in Indianapolis (he works for the Colts) just went and bought a dog. He will certainly be occupied with house training. I am sooo not there yet. I am envious (I think!) of those of you staying home with family, but it made me wonder about what other things you are doing or have going. My Pilates instructor (we are doing virtual sessions) has a couple of parakeets always chirping in the background (which is irritating her now that she is home with them all the time—I did send her a video of the Monty Python Norwegian Blue Parrot skit as a, you know, suggestion. For those of you who don’t know it, here it is: https://youtu.be/vZw35VUBdzo). If you have an unusual pet or some other novel way of handling work from home, send me a pic!

We did have a terrific GoToMeeting version of the HRL Wine Club last week; hopefully we will do these every couple of weeks, and of course everyone at HRL is invited. Always a nice discussion of wine and whatever else comes up; this time we took a brief journey into the merits of various brands of rye whiskey, as well as Star Wars and Star Trek. Not everyone is drinking wine; I saw some with beer and a few cocktails. But it is not just about alcohol; I always invite attendees to ask me anything, and I try to answer. I am curious if there are other groups at HRL who are doing the same. Let me know!

At that Wine Club we also had three new employees online; they got to introduce themselves and have a glass of wine in the process. It reminded me to encourage everyone in the HRL family to make sure to reach out to our new employees, many of whom just had moved to the area and do not really have a social network yet.

We will get back to at least a new normal fairly soon, perhaps in early summer. HRL remains healthy both in terms of our people and also financially. Our customers remain happy. Keep it up—if you need to come to HRL follow the rules regarding meetings, social distancing, and disinfecting/hand washing, and if you can stay at home to work then do so. It will be great, though, to get out of these sweats (and my Uggs slippers, which are getting a real beatdown) and get back to the office!


PS: I'm on  Jose Andres kick — this recipe you can find on the menu at both his Jaleo restaurants in DC, and its amazing. And I really need to get the flask… https://youtu.be/uLHteTm3mb0

PPS: If you do have young kids at home, I thought this was interesting… https://www.nationalgeographic.org/idea/citizen-science-projects/

UPDATED 04/11/20 @ 4:28PM

 Hello HRL! To begin, let me do some important housekeeping:

Yesterday, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health issued a revised order that extended its “Safe at Home” order through May 15, 2020 (HRL has extended its work from home policies through May 31).  The revised order also imposed a new requirement on essential businesses to provide masks to employees whose work brings then in contact with other employees or the public.  This latter requirement is effective at midnight on April 15, 2020. Here is the order:


HRL is in the process of ordering masks for staff.  Fortunately, we already had some  reusable cloth masks on order (300) as well as have a source for 150 "procedure" masks.    We have been, and are in the process of identifying sources for additional reusable masks.  We will be providing mask care and use guidance soon.

We are planning on complying with the order to supply masks to our employees.  However, we ask that if you already have a mask that you can wear to work, that you please do so.  This will allow us to leverage our existing supply for staff that do not currently have masks, as we work toward procuring additional reusable masks for all employees that work on site.

Stay tuned for instructions on how to get a mask if you come in to HRL. And, as a reminder, if you do not need to come in to HRL to work then don't—please work from home!

While we are on the topic of masks, let me re-emphasize how important it is that you do not fiddle with your mask while wearing it; I was in a meeting at HRL last week and the three people I was meeting with (1) were all wearing masks (good!), and (2) were constantly adjusting their mask (bad!).

It was asked to mention that if you are working in a cleanroom, homemade masks are not acceptable; you need to use the mask supplied. Cloth masks actually can shed particles that are harmful to the cleanroom processes.

Changing topics, one question I've gotten has been about HRL's financial health. We are very healthy, and can actually continue our current posture for quite some time. 

One reason for this is that it is good to be lucky. We have been hoarding cash (above and beyond the ~1.5 month buffer we always keep as a matter of policy to cover a complete shutdown) in order to execute the long-awaited upgrade of Bldg 250; in the very unlikely event we get in to a cash crunch we can just slip the Bldg 250 schedule.

Another thing we did last year was dramatically increase our available bandwidth—under current utilization we are operating at about 20% of capacity rather than the 400%(!) that would have been the case had we not done the upgrade (and major kudos to Peter Molina and his team for suggesting that we do this last year!). I do understand that many are still constrained by the bandwidth available in their homes, but VPN access and access to HRL's servers is not a bottleneck. As an aside, many local service providers have also been upgrading their bandwidth, usually at no charge provided you have a modem that supports it (which they also in most cases will exchange for your current modem without additional charge). For those of you who have a less enlightened home service provider (i.e., one that charges for an upgrade) please contact your supervisor; HRL will reimburse any one-time costs as well as (for the duration of the emergency) any recurring costs.

We of course moved away a few years ago from desktop systems in favor of laptops, precisely because we wanted to be able continue operations remotely as well as possible. 

That has all been luck—we had not prepared for a situation like we are in now, but are certainly in a position to be able to deal with it. What has not been luck has been the dedication of you all, and in particular those working in the clean room and the machine shop. The clean room, for example, is operating at about 80% of normal levels(!). HRL owes them all our gratitude.

Because of all this, and also because of the nature of much of our work, HRL is more or less meeting deliverables and milestones; in fact many of the issues surrounding getting our work done are associated with our suppliers. Our customers are pretty amazed by this. So not only is HRL very healthy from a business perspective but we will come out of this (as we all eventually will) in a very strong position.

We also continue to work with our owners; as an example, HRL was able to host our annual CRAD review for our LLC members remotely last Thursday—thanks to Dave Chow for organizing and to all of the presenters. We had record participation from both Boeing and GM. 

And speaking of health, HRL has been (so far!) largely unscathed by C19 illness. This is true because everyone who can is working from home, everyone who must stay at home is staying home and utilizing EPTO, and those who must come on site to get their work done are following the social distancing procedures we have asked of you. It also doesn't hurt that we live in a jurisdiction that has aggressively put needed measures in place.

Keep it up, and stay healthy!


PS: Jose Andres has been a fixture in my home town of Washington DC for years; one of his restaurants is an easy walk from the condo I keep there. Here is a fun YouTube clip; it really looks delicious! https://t.co/uDMcp7LLEi

UPDATED 04/03/20 @ 10:33AM

 Today I would like to spend some time discussing a number of issues that are on the minds of many.

Let me begin with some reminders:

If you are sick (e.g., have a fever in excess of 99.5, have a cough or other respiratory distress), you may return to work when BOTH of the following time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery conditions are met:

o   At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and complete resolution of respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,

o   At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, or you have tested negative for covid-19. 

Also, if you do get sick, please inform not just your supervisor but also HR  via call or e-mail (padinwiddie@hrl.com 424.644.9987).

Observe social distancing, whether you're at HRL or at the grocery store. I have heard a few anecdotal reports of folks at HRL chatting it up in the hallways and well within the 6' guidance. No. Just No.

Let me further re-emphasize that if you can work from home you should work from home. Some situations require that the work be done at HRL—laboratory work, classified work, clean room work all falls in that category. In that case, follow the CDC guidelines: wash your hands frequently, maintain separation, reduce the number of people in a room to 5 or less. Please don't come in for just the free lunch!

So far HRL has been very fortunate; we have had a very small number of suspect cases, all of which tested negative. We do have at least one individual who has a family member who has tested positive. When either someone comes down sick with a TBD illness or has had contact with someone who tested positive, we ask that individual to identify whom they’ve had contact with, and then send those people home for 14 days since last contact. One question that comes up is "why don’t you tell us who that person is, and we can then determine whether or not we had contact?"  The answer is clear—under the law, we cannot disclose that person's name unless they volunteer that it can be disclosed. There is no wiggle room on that. 

Furthermore, it raises the question of what is meant by "contact?" According to CDC guidelines, it means contact for a prolonged period of time; for example, the 6' rule applies to situations that last longer than 5min. Simply passing someone in the hallway is "incidental" contact. Since anyone who is sick shouldn’t be on site at all, the only real concern is that someone who is asymptomatic is at work. 

And that brings me to the topic of masks…

CDC is currently reviewing its guidance on masks, with the key driver being asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Masks come in a couple of flavors. N95 masks are fitted, and hence all the airflow occurs through the mask. They are designed to protect the wearer, which is why health care workers and those in occupations that require persistent and close contact with the general public, and specially contact with those who are ill, should get priority. Surgical masks (and the masks used in the cleanroom) are designed to protect not the wearer but rather everyone (and everything) else from the wearer's emanations. Since they are not fitted, the wearer is breathing a lot through the sides of the mask; a beard makes that even more the case. So wearing surgical-type masks is a good thing in that it protectseveryone else from asymptomatic sources of infection. That's not to say that it doesn’t provide some protection to the wearer, but that is a pretty hotly debated proposition, and certainly relies on the wearer not fiddling with the mask to adjust fit etc.

Here is a useful infographic I got from our EH&S Manager, Julie Jackson:


There are all kinds of DIY prescriptions for making masks on the web. Also, I've seen a few times (I went grocery shopping yesterday) people wearing bandanas around their nose and mouth. In one case a couple had matching (and very colorful) bandanas—apparently also making a fashion statement. In many of these cases they have the same impact as a surgical mask—they protect others from your coughs, sneezes, and the droplets that naturally occur when you exhale, and may provide some modest protection to the wearer. In others, where the weave is sufficiently dense and the fit forces inhalation through the material, they can provide more protection, but (again) the wearer cannot be fiddling with it.

I am not going to require masks at HRL. However, I encourage those of you who need to come in to HRL to wear masks, whether homemade (if you want, send me a selfie and I'll post it) or purchased. HRL is actively trying to get a supply of clean room or surgical masks, and if we are successful we will make those available.

HRL has a very limited supply of N95 masks; we will issue those to HRL personnel who by the nature of their jobs must unavoidably come into persistent and close contact with others, and who can be fitted (that is, no beard). Since the national supply of those masks is so limited and so stressed, the issuing of those masks will be a decision I will make.

One very important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what type of mask you wear, they need to be handled carefully—if you touch the inside or outside surface with your hands and then later, without having washed, touch your face, you have accomplished nothing.

It is also very important to note that wearing a surgical-type mask does not absolve you from following social distancing guidelines. If the wearer is asymptomatic they help reduce the ability to pass along their infection—they do not prevent it. At best a mask of this type is the last line of defense, not the only.

One question that has come up is whether we should be taking the temperature of those showing up at HRL; there are "gun-type" thermometers that you can point at someone's forehead and get a reading in a few seconds. After some discussion, we decided to focus on just visitors (such as vendors), and take their temperature at the reception desk; that started this week. We decided to not do that at the guard shack since the cabin of a vehicle is not a temperature controlled environment (if the driver has been running the AC, or the heat, or been in direct sunlight,  skin temperature will be affected), and if passengers are involved it requires the guard to leave the shack (and likely violate social distancing protocols).


So…when do we think we can get back to some semblance of normal? I do not know; I expect this will almost certainly go through May. However, a friend of mine at Johns Hopkins, Tom Inglesby, posted his views on Twitter, which I think make sense; they also informed an AEI report written by Scott Gotleib https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/national-coronavirus-response-a-road-map-to-reopening/ but here is Tom's summary:

·        For a US State or region to re-open, there needs to have been at least a 14 day steady reduction in daily case numbers; AND

·        Same day diagnostic testing will need to be available for (1) hospitalized patients, (2) health care workers and workers in essential roles, (3) close contacts of confirmed cases, and (4) outpatients with C19 symptoms; AND

·        Sufficient critical care beds and ventilators and staffing to meet all critical care needs in that state or region without resorting to crisis standards of care and rationing of ventilators; AND

·        A huge increase in the supply of PPE (e.g. N95 masks) to cover the current and expected needs of the health care workforce and emergency personnel involved in the response; AND

·        Substantially scaled up isolation, quarantine and case-finding capacity in the state and region so that new cases can be immediately isolated.

These measures worked pretty well in some Asian countries. Once these conditions are in place then relaxing social distancing measures, one step at a time, can be considered, holding in reserve the option to reinstate if things start to go south.

Bill Gates also posted an OpEd in the Washington Post (outside the paywall) that says essentially the same things: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bill-gates-heres-how-to-make-up-for-lost-time-on-covid-19/2020/03/31/ab5c3cf2-738c-11ea-85cb-8670579b863d_story.html

As you can see, we have a way to go, but there are plenty of encouraging signs; for example, the rate of increase of cases in CA seems to be going down; social distancing works.

On the good news front, our crack chemists in MML have mixed up some disinfectant spray. We have ordered spray bottles, and will soon have a couple of hundred ready for distribution across the site for things like door knobs, desks, etc. Stay tuned.

One more thing: we are resuming our seminar series: Michael Warren of ISSL will be giving a talk remotely on 4/16; check the HRL website for details.

As always, feel free to reach out to me via email or Jabber or "askparney". Don’t come in to HRL if you can work from home, maintain social distancing, and take care of yourselves!


UPDATED 03/28/20 @ 07:10AM

We have been notified that an HRL contractor employee that supports Facilities has tested positive for the coronavirus.  That individual was last on campus on Thursday, March 19, 2020.   

We have sent individual notices to individuals that we believe were in contact with this contractor employee. These individuals have been asked to self-quarantine and will not be allowed on campus until April 6, 2020, and only then if they are completely free of any symptoms.  

As an additional measure, we are having the contractor employee’s work location sanitized, this is in addition to cleaning measures that were already implemented.

This situation is unfortunate and we wish the best for our ill colleague.  Hopefully, there will be no illness among the staff we have asked to self-quarantine and that therefore they will be able to return to the campus on April 6.

Please use this incident to reinforce handwashing and social distancing.  It is important to maintain 6 feet of distance at all times.  Yes, this can make communicating difficult, but it is necessary in these times.

Please stay safe and take care of your family,


UPDATED 03/27/20 @ 09:33AM

I passed today the 14 day mark from my last cross-country airplane trip so I am feeling pretty chipper. I'm getting a lot of backlogged work done here at home. Although the lack of person to person interaction is a real issue (at least for me, despite my status as a card carrying introvert!), working in sweatpants and a tee shirt is a definite plus. For those with you working at home who have families, I can only imagine how hard it is to keep the kids on their schoolwork (and out of your hair), but I can also envy this unique opportunity to spend a lot of time with them.

I was at HRL all day yesterday; I had a classified VTC and also meetings that occupied most of the day. I was gratified to see a sparsely populated parking lot, and even more gratified to see the people I encountered on site religiously following the rules regarding maintaining distance, limiting the size of meetings, washing their hands and using hand sanitizer. Regarding the last we are running low and obviously shipments are problematic; however, our crackerjack HRL chemists are working a homegrown solution—hopefully we can make that work out.

For those of you who neither can work onsite nor can work from home, hang in there. We all get different things out of our work, but they are ultimately things we miss when we are denied the opportunity. The EPTO account is there to make sure that if you are in that situation you can still pay your bills and care for yourself and your family.

It is really hard to predict when we will get to semi-normal. It will certainly be weeks or perhaps months; as Dr. Fauci noted the other day, the timeline is driven by the virus and by the measures we take; it cannot be legislated nor commanded. The actions LA and CA put in place should hopefully go a long way towards preventing another NYC from occurring here—but we will need to sustain these measures for a while.

I found another Arnold video — I hope to get more inventive going forward! And hope you don’t waste water like he does! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eRfvjgOkrE


UPDATED 03/20/20 @ 07:10AM

As I am sure most of you know, LA Co has issues a “Safe at Home” order. Here is how it affects us:

First, HRL may stay open; we are not a retail establishment, and are exempt from the order. Here is a link to the order https://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/COVID-19_SaferAtHome_HealthOfficerOrder_20200319_Signed.pdf but I’ve pasted the relevant language below (Para 13(u)):

Second, the policies we already have in place are consistent with that order:

o Maintain 6ft distance from everyone else

o Keep meetings to 5 or less (the order allows up to 9, but I’m sticking with 5)

As I said to you all just this morning, the imperative is for you and your family to stay well, and to do our duty to the community. As you can see, this is a pretty dynamic situation; rest assured we are staying on top of this as best we can, and will keep you informed. And, as always, stay in touch with each other and with me.

UPDATED 03/19/20 @ 01:32PM

As hopefully you are aware, we at HRL have been trying to stay one step ahead as the Nation deals with the covid-19 outbreak. In late February we began restricting foreign travel, and I asked our GC, Jewel Miller (who also manages Security, IT, Contracts) to begin planning for an outbreak in the US. She has worked closely with Leslie, myself, our CFO Gary Lawrence, our HR Director Paula Dinwiddie, and across HRL to develop the policies we have been communicating to you over the past several days. What I want to do now is to speak to you directly as I work from home.

Earlier in my career I helped develop policy for a feared Avian influenza pandemic, and became intimately familiar with how pandemics go (they always start slow, then ramp up dramatically, and go global eventually), the limitations of health systems designed for “normal” (it’s not just hospital beds, but also staff and equipment, and the possible need to reduce standards of care), and the need for substantial social distancing to slow down the rise of cases. I am also familiar with the need to show caution before unleashing an untested vaccine on the general public—the 1976 Swine flu outbreak did just that and led to substantial numbers of people suffering from vaccine-induced disease. It will be many months before we see a covid-19 vaccine. And, unlike influenza, there is so far no known antiviral medication available to mitigate the progress of the disease in those infected. Case mortality rates are far higher for covid-19 than for typical influenza across all age groups (a “case” means someone who has sought clinical care, as opposed to self treating with over-the-counter medications or just asymptomatic), and those fatality rates get substantially worse for those cohorts in their 50s, 60s, and up.  So, if you actually get the disease, you will likely be hospitalized, and they will attempt to make you as comfortable as they can and try to control the fever and any secondary infections while they wait for it to run its course. Furthermore, the disease seems to cause significant lung damage in many survivors, leading to likely long term consequences for them and their families.

Here is an (anonymized) text from an email I got recently—he is in his 50s and an avid biker:

Some of you may have heard I contracted the C19 virus in London.   I am on the mend but wanted to share a few facts with you:

I am 10 days in and finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.   I consider myself to be of fairly good health and this thing absolutely destroyed me.  I can totally see how older folks can die from this.  It was horrible.

Please note the doctors are certain I contracted it in London and I have not been to any office since returning from that trip so, thankfully, I have not put anyone at work at risk.

I urge you all to take this seriously and do everything you can to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

I am telling you these things because it is important that we in the HRL family take this very seriously. First and foremost, do not take your information from Facebook, Twitter, talk radio, Hannity, Maddow, politicians, your pizza guy, …. Get on the CDC website, and listen to what the national, state, and local public health authorities are telling you.

You should work from home if you can. I am—at 66 I am in a higher risk cohort, but frankly the best way to slow down the spread of the disease is for everyone to stay away from everyone else. This is a great time to catch up on approved training or professional development; I recall the original Star Trek episode where Scotty was grateful to be confined to quarters so that he could catch up on his professional journals. Please make use of the GoToMeeting accounts we have provided everyone, and the VPN. We have established policy for those who, with appropriate approval, need additional IT equipment as they work from home. Reach out to your colleagues on Jabber or whatever to stay in contact and keep each other informed. I am on Jabber all day—feel free to reach out to me.

HRL has a number of new employees, and also single employees, all of whom are probably feeing particularly lonely right now. Please reach out to them—the HRL family may be the only social network they have. Managers and PIs might want to have frequent GoToMeeting sessions, if for no other reason than to check in and see how everyone is doing.

If you must come to work, maintain at least 6′ of separation, and keep meetings to 5 or fewer well-separated individuals. We removed the larger tables in the cafeteria to enforce that, but that became moot when we decided to follow public health guidance and close the dining room altogether. Managers and PIs with teams that need to perform classified work on site, or get work done in laboratories, should be creative based on their particular circumstances: for example, divide people into small teams that work in shifts, with frequent wipe-downs.

If you are sick with anything stay at home; even if you think its just allergies you’ll be freaking out your coworkers and Security (no, I haven’t given them permission to shoot—yet). If you have any symptoms similar to those of covid-19, please call your doctor for the latest guidance on whether you should be seen in-person or use home isolation.   Right now, availability of diagnostic testing for covid-19 is limited and your doctor may ask you to isolate yourself at home.

Based on guidance from CDC, you may return to work when BOTH of the following time-since-illness-onset and time-since-recovery conditions are met:

If you test positive for covid-19, or you have had contact with someone who tested positive, or are caring for someone who has tested positive, or need to deal with elderly relatives or with public health-imposed measures such as school closings, and can’t otherwise work from home, use the EPTO account we established. I understand that parents have been loaded up with schoolwork from their children’s teachers—and how overwhelming that can be. The EPTO account is intended to help with the circumstances where work from home is simply not feasible, but you cannot or should not come onsite.

Perhaps most importantly, wherever you are and whatever you might be doing, wash your hands with soap and hot water frequently, for at least 20 seconds (“One Mississippi, Two Mississippi,…”). Hand sanitizer that is at least 2/3 alcohol also works. But again—do it frequently. And wipe down surfaces with Clorox wipes or alcohol (pro tip: not both!)

If we do all these things, we will be fulfilling a duty not just to our colleagues, but to our families, friends, and community.

I fully expect this will take weeks to resolve, perhaps months. And just because we might start to see a downturn in cases don’t think we are out of the woods. Stay tuned for more communications from us—we are often getting confronted with situations we hadn’t thought about, but we are also reacting fast to address them.

My highest priority is your health and safety, and the well-being of your families. Eventually this will all be over, and we can get back to normal. Until then, be smart, stay healthy. And stay in touch.


PS: At the risk of violating my admonition to not listen to politicians, I love this link: https://youtu.be/uSfLGypJ_wU


UPDATED 04/09/20 @ 10:03AM

The term of the work from home guidance issued on March 13, 2020, has been extended to remain in effect through May 31, 2020.  At its discretion, HRL may choose to extend the term as needed.  Any such change will be communicated to staff.

The EPTO ceiling has now been increased to 320 hours.  We will reassess this in a few weeks.


UPDATED 03/19/20 @ 01:40PM

Effective immediately the ETPTO benefit is modified (i.e., maximum hours of benefit are increased) as follows:

We are mindful that many staff members are struggling with the immediate hardships imposed by the coronavirus. We also understand that some staff, when faced with a legitimate and immediate need for the ETPTO benefit have not taken advantage of the benefit due to the uncertainties surrounding the “end-date” of this crisis. When there is a need, HRL wants staff to take advantage of ETPTO. We cannot forecast the future; there is no crystal ball on when this contagion will be contained. However, we want to offer our staff an expanded benefit to help them weather this crisis and hopefully give them reassurance that we are supporting them. If you can work, please do, this benefits everyone at HRL. However, if you are eligible for, and need the support provided by ETPTO, please take advantage of this benefit.

UPDATED 03/19/20 @ 10:40AM

Finance provides the following updated and clarifying guidance on ETPTO (See guidance posted on March 13, 2020): If you need to utilize ETPTO, please select 6210.239.ETPTO1 from the task/project dropdown menu in Unanet. This charge line is available March 16, 2020 through April 30, 2020. Your manager will approve the use of ETPTO (this is a change from the March 13, 2020 guidance on ETPTO; HR approval is no longer necessary). Additionally, HRL is clarifying the use and terms of the ETPTO benefit for its employees as follows:``

HRL is implementing an enhanced “work from home” (telecommuting) posture in response to the evolving coronavirus crisis.  As with our prior guidance, we are attempting to reduce the risk of exposure and increasing “social distancing” for our staff as we also maintain our focus on meeting our obligations to our Owners and customers.

UPDATED 03/13/20 @ 1:40PM

With this latest guidance, we are authorizing our HRL managers to approve requests from staff members to work from home, subject to all of the following guidelines:

This guidance temporarily modifies HRL Practice 5-3-22, Work from Home/Telecommuting, and is in effect from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 (“the term”).  At its discretion, HRL may choose to extend the term as needed.  Any such change will be communicated to staff.


Emergency Temporary Paid Time Off:

HRL is implementing a new type of Paid Time Off—Emergency Temporary Paid Time Off (ETPTO).  

ETPTO is temporary, paid, emergency time off that is available to all HRL employees during the period March 16, 2020 through April 30, 2020.  ETPTO provides for paid leave under the following limited circumstances:

Each employee is eligible for up to 10 days of ETPTO.  ETPTO will not be included in (nor does it count against) an employee’s PTO bank and it will expire after April 30, 2020.  Employees will not be paid out or receive any other benefit for unused ETPTO. 

Requests for ETPTO must be submitted to and approved by Human Resources (HR).  A charge number will be issued upon approval of HR.

We are adding this benefit in an attempt to mitigate the hardships HRL employees may be facing during this crisis.  Additionally, we want to make it clear that we expect staff to STAY AT HOME WHEN YOU ARE SICK.  Coming to work sick and potentially spreading your illness to your colleagues impedes our ability to meet our mission so please use common sense and stay home when you are sick.


HRL is providing the following guidance on HRL computer resources that may be leveraged (taken home) for telecommuting.

The following items may be taken home and used for telecommuting purposes:

Please ensure these items are returned upon the completion of your telecommuting status.

The following items are not permitted to be removed from the HRL campus other than on an exception basis:

If there are situations where there are desktop or laboratory systems that may need to be taken offsite for productivity reasons, please contact the IT Service Desk (helpdesk[at]hrl.com) for guidance (IT will coordinate the approval request with the CEO, VP or GC). Desktops and laboratory systems may contain a significant amount of HRL, customer, or parent proprietary information that cannot be removed from the HRL campus.  In some instances, it may be possible to configure a system to be security posture compliant so that it can be removed from the HRL campus, but that cannot be guaranteed.

As a temporary exception to existing policy, and on a case-by-case basis, your manager (i.e., Department Managers or above) may authorize individual staff members to be reimbursed up to $250 for the purchase of approved work from home equipment.  This includes monitor, keyboard and mouse.  In rare cases, HRL may approve reimbursements in excess of $250, at the discretion of the Controller.  All purchased items are HRL property.


UPDATED 04/08/20 @ 10:22AM

Thanks to the terrific efforts of MML, MTL, EH&S, and others, HRL will be distributing “HRL-made” disinfectant W-F of this week. These bottles are for use in your personal space at HRL—please do not take them home. Instructions for use will be posted on the intranet, and each on-site employee can have one bottle. If you have an additional lab location where you’d like to have a bottle, or cannot make it to one of the distribution times, please email ehs@hrl.com or Julie Jackson.

Bottle pick-up will be in the main lobby near the security desk. When you pick up a bottle, please use the following procedure:

1.      Stand on tape near the security desk and show your badge and provide your name to the guard on duty.

2.      Maintain social distancing while waiting.

3.      Guard will approve you to take one bottle off the table.

Distribution times are below. We have over 200 bottles to distribute. If we run out, we will provide more soon!

1.      Wednesday, 4/8, 11am – 3pm

2.      Thursday, 4/9, 11am – 3pm 

3.      Friday, 4/10, 11am – 3pm

If your bottle runs out of liquid, please contact ehs@hrl.com or Julie Jackson to arrange for a replacement.

UPDATED 03/24/20 @ 11:04AM

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, we are implementing new measures to facilitate social distancing and safe practices.   Effective immediately, our café protocols are as follows:

Free Food Service - For the free-food service for eligible individuals (HRL staff, intern and co-ops and security guards) the following protocols must be followed:

While the lunch may be free to you, it isn’t free to HRL.  We have to maintain an accurate record of meals so that Sodexo can appropriately charge the costs to HRL.  Please follow the direction of Sodexo staff to account for meals.

Finally, we will be implementing additional social distancing measures in the café.  This is intended to ensure appropriate social distancing.  Please follow all new protocols as they are implemented.  This will include limits on the number of staff allowed into the café at any one time among other measures.  Security personnel will be on-site in the café to assist in implementing these new protocols.

We realize many of you are under stress, but that doesn’t mean we are discourteous to others or that we ignore safety protocols.   Please take these precautions seriously and practice social distancing at ALL TIMES.

UPDATED 03/23/20 @ 10:47AM

Revision to the Lunch Policy:

Monday all HRL-badged personnel on site will be provided free breakfast & lunch.

Please just present your badge at checkout. Anyone without an HRL badge will be rung up as is normal. 

EXCEPTION: interns and Co-Ops are also eligible and will have their names supplied to the cafeteria.

As a reminder, the dining center is closed for general use; staff assigned to the dining center as temporary workspace may eat “at their desks” of course.

UPDATED 03/20/20 @ 1:47PM

Free Breakfast and Lunch for onsite staff

Effective Monday 3/23, all HRL-badged personnel on site will be provided free breakfast & lunch. Please just present your badge at checkout. Anyone without an HRL badge will be rung up as is normal.

As a reminder, the dining center is closed for general use; staff assigned to the dining center as temporary workspace may eat "at their desks" of course.

UPDATED 03/20/20 @ 1:30PM

Until further notice, we will be temporarily converting the dining center to office workspace.  Tables in the dining center will be assigned to specific individuals and will be spaced at least 6 feet apart;  these tables will be available solely for the use of the assigned individuals.  Use by assigned staff may include working and eating at that location.  Staff members assigned to tables in this location will include those that normally sit in large, bullpen work areas. 

The dining center remains closed to general dining use.  The dining café’ remains open but solely for meal carry-out in accordance with the California Public Health mandate.

As a courtesy to your colleagues, and as a safety measure for all, please do  not congregate around the assigned workstations

UPDATED 03/19/20 @ 12:40PM

The Los Angeles County of Public Health (LACPH) and the City of Malibu have issued new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. These new measures are effective immediately and continue through March 31, 2020. They include measures that impact the HRL facility as follows:


All permanent food facilities must limit their service to take-out or delivery. At HRL, Sodexo food service will continue, but the dining area (cafeteria seating) is closed. To ensure compliance with this new mandate, please do not congregate in the dining area.

HRL Fitness Center:

All gyms and fitness centers must be closed. As such, the HRL Fitness Center is closed.
We realize these changes may create inconveniences for staff, but they are in keeping with HRL’s posture to limit gathering points for staff that may not support appropriate social distancing.


In order to encourage “social distancing” at the HRL facility, HRL is implementing temporary restrictions on the number of people that can be physically present at an on-site meeting. Effective immediately, on-site meetings cannot include more than five people that are participating in person. Any exceptions must be approved by the CEO or Vice President. Please leverage teleconferencing and our Go To Meeting capabilities to hold virtual meetings, or alternatively, defer meetings until a time when physical attendance is appropriate.


Official HRL Travel:

Effective immediately, all official HRL travel is prohibited. This includes travel that was previously approved by management. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the CEO. Obviously, there may be instances where advance approval was granted for travel later this year. We will not be actively cancelling those approvals, but that may change depending upon the status of the coronavirus crisis nearer the time of that proposed travel. We realize this may be frustrating but it is important to eliminate areas of risk that may impede our ability to maintain our open operating status for our laboratories.

Personal Travel:

Effectively immediately, anyone one who travels internationally will be required to remain away from the office for a two-week period upon their return to the United States. If you choose to go on personal international travel you may work from home upon your return if you meet the requirements of the current work from home guidelines (posted on March 13, 2013). If you are unable to work from home, you will be required to take PTO, unless you are eligible for ETPTO.

As a reminder STAY AT HOME IF YOU ARE SICK. If you are a manager it is your responsibility to ensure that staff that are ill are sent home and stay home until they are fully recovered. Finally, if you have concerns about a colleague being sick, please seek help from your manager or from Human Resources.


UPDATED 03/27/20 @ 3:24PM

The term of the work from home guidance issued on March 13, 2020, has been extended to remain in effect through April 19, 2020.  At its discretion, HRL may choose to extend the term as needed.  Any such change will be communicated to staff.

UPDATED 03/20/20 @ 1:43PM

Finance provides the following additional guidance for charging in a “work from home” status (see guidance posted on March 13, 2013):

If you can perform regularly assigned tasks from home, charge to the tasks as assigned by your manager in Unanet(i.e. your normal charge numbers). If you are not able to perform your regularly assigned tasks, but can perform other/indirect productive work such as taking training classes, reading technical materials, organizing on-line files, drafting/updating policies/procedures, developing/updating marketing strategies**, drafting invention disclosures*and other patent prosecution activities*, please charge to WA00 for lab employees, and the regular indirect account for indirect employees. This is considered work time.

*In most instances, drafting invention disclosures should be charged as direct. Please work with your manager for clarity as needed. Marketing activities should be charged to lab marketing accounts with your laboratory director’s permission.

**In most instances, developing/updating marketing strategies should be charged to 6911.168 with the approval of your manager.


As a reminder, vendor staff (vendors) are not HRL employees and HRL does not have an employer/employee relationship with its vendors. With that said, if your vendor’s employer permits their employee to perform their HRL vendor duties at a location other than the HRL facility, then HRL managers that manage the work product of that vendor may permit the vendor to work at a remote location under the following conditions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

COVID-19 information:


CDC – How to protect yourself:


CDC – What to do if you are sick:


CDC – Symptoms


CDC – Older Adults and High-Risk Conditions


CDC – How to Prepare


World Health Organization (WHO)

Rolling Updates on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)


White House

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America


Useful Links

Cleaning Schedule

Laptop Use At Home

Magellan COVID-19 Flyer

Emergency Road Conditions

No emergencies to report.

Live Traffic Alerts:

Live Traffic Conditions: