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Telecommuting Policy

In order to facilitate arrangements under which employees may telecommute as part of their work schedule, the University has adopted the following policy and procedure. 

Definition

Telecommuting entails a work-at-home arrangement or a remote-access arrangement for at least part of the workweek on a regular basis.  In general, telecommuting is a privilege which may be granted under appropriate circumstances to high performing officers whose job responsibilities are suited to such an arrangement, and each request to telecommute will be decided on an individual basis under the guidelines set forth below.  In certain cases, telecommuting may be a requirement of the position, and employees will be so notified at the time of hire.

Eligibility

In general, this policy pertains to officers of administration, research and the libraries. Officers of instruction have considerable flexibility in setting their own work schedules, including determining when and where to work off campus. In exceptional cases support staff may be permitted to telecommute. In cases where the employee is represented by a union, the department must obtain prior approval from Labor Relations and Client Services.

Initiation of a telecommuting arrangement can be at the request of either the University or the employee. Permission to engage in telecommuting is at the discretion of the school or administrative unit in which the employee is employed. Participation in telecommuting is voluntary on the part of the employee, except in cases where the position requires it and notification has been provided to the employee at the time of hire. 

Employees who wish to telecommute must first discuss the request with their immediate supervisor, who must support the request.

Each school and administrative unit should designate the individual who is authorized to approve telecommuting arrangements. In general, this person should be the same person who gives final approval for other human resources transactions. In Arts and Sciences, the office of the Vice President will perform this function. In other schools, the Dean's Office will perform this function. In administrative units, the appropriate Vice President or equivalent office will perform this function.

Generally, requests to telecommute should be contemplated when: 

The employee has demonstrated sustained high performance, and when the manager believes that the employee can maintain the expected quantity and quality of work while telecommuting.

Quality of service can be maintained for students, faculty, and other members of the University community.

Telecommuting is appropriate considering the nature of the employee's job. 

Generally, requests to telecommute should not be contemplated when: 

  • The nature of the job requires the employee's physical presence (e.g. telecommuting may not be appropriate where the employee must supervise the work of other employees), or efficiency is compromised when the employee is not present.
  • The employee's performance evaluations do not indicate sustained high performance.
  • The employee's observed productivity levels are problematic.
  • The employee requires close supervision as indicated, for example, by the employee's consistent need for guidance on technical matters.
  • The employee has less than six months of service in the administrative unit or school (except in the limited circumstances described below).
  • The employee's current assignment requires frequent supervision, direction or input from others who are on-site.
  • The employee has received disciplinary action or has a demonstrated attendance problem. 

Telecommuting is not intended to permit employees to have time to work at other jobs or to run their own businesses. Failure to fulfill normal work requirements, both qualitative and quantitative, on account of other employment, may be cause for disciplinary action or termination of employment.

Permission to telecommute is dependent upon the employee having a suitable work location at the off-site premises, and on compliance with the requirements set forth below.

Duration

All telecommuting arrangements are granted on a temporary and revocable basis, and may be discontinued by the University at any time and for any reason.  In addition, an employee may discontinue participation in telecommuting at any time (except in those circumstances noted earlier where telecommuting is required of the position).  

In making telecommuting arrangements, both the department and the employee must be mindful that the policy is designed to provide a relatively long term working arrangement, and it should not be used as a constant series of short-term arrangements.  

Where telecommuting is a requirement of the position at the time of hire, and the school or administrative unit wishes to terminate the telecommuting arrangement, the employee should be offered a position on campus if possible.  If no position exists, or if the employee is unable to accept a position on campus, the employee will be entitled to a layoff allowance in accordance with University policy.

Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to telecommuting arrangements: 

  • A specific work schedule, including work days and hours, must be agreed upon in advance.
  • Employees must be on site as necessary to attend meetings, training sessions, or similar events or occurrences.
  • Employees must maintain a normal workload.
  • Employees who are unable to work due to illness must use salary continuation or sick leave, and must report their absence to their supervisor.
  • Employees who wish to be relieved of responsibility for work on a particular day or days must use vacation or personal leave.
  • Employees are responsible for the safety and security of all University property and proprietary information.

Taxes

Employees should consult their tax advisor with respect to tax consequences.

University Property

Equipment and services may be provided by and paid for by the employee's department at the department's sole discretion.  In many cases, employees will be expected to provide their own equipment, such as computers, internet access, etc., if they wish to telecommute.

Equipment such as computers, printers, software, and services such as fax lines provided on loan by the University remain the property of the University while on loan, and must be returned upon termination of the telecommuting arrangement.

If University equipment is provided, each piece of equipment must be listed with its serial number when the employee takes possession.

Employees must return the equipment in the same condition in which it was originally received, minus normal wear and tear. Employees are personally liable for missing or damaged equipment.

Insurance

The University assumes no liability for injuries occurring in the employee's home workspace outside of work hours.

University property such as computers, printers, fax machines and other equipment loaned to an employee is the employee's responsibility while it is not on University premises. It is the employee's responsibility to ensure that their homeowners or renters insurance covers injury arising out of or relating to business use of the home. 

Employees should note that some homeowner policies do not automatically cover injuries arising out of, or relating to, the business use of the home. For the employee's protection, employees should have their homeowners/tenants liability policy endorsed to cover bodily injury and property damage to all third parties arising out of or relating to the business use of their home.

Employees who live in rented property should be aware that their lease may not permit business use of the premises.