Policy No. 5:01:01:20
The purpose of this policy is to set the standards for a consistent process and treatment of employees regarding telework/telecommuting across the TBR system. This policy applies only to non-faculty employees. Future references to employees in this policy refer to non-Faculty.
1. Telework/telecommuting: A work arrangement in which supervisors direct or permit employees to perform their usual job duties away from their central workplace in accordance with work agreements.
2. Alternate Work Location: Approved work site other than the employee’s central workplace where official state business is performed. Such locations may include, but are not necessarily limited to employees’ homes.
3. Central Workplace: The employer’s place of work where employees normally are located.
4. Employee: A person employed by the institution pursuant to the Board of Regents policies.
5. Work Agreement: The written agreement between the institution and the employee that details the terms and conditions of an employee’s work away from the central workplace. Work agreements are required for telecommuting.
6. Work Schedule: The employee’s hours of work in the central workplace and/or in the alternate work location. (See TBR Guideline P-020 Procedures for Implementing the 37.5 Hour Work Week) As a rule, the work hours will be approximately 7.5 hours per day between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
II. PRELIMINARY REQUIREMENTS
1. Each institution must establish internal policies and procedures related to telecommuting. These policies should:
- identify positions that are appropriate (and inappropriate) for telecommuting;
- establish a process and criteria for evaluating whether a particular employee is suitable for telecommuting;
- require a work agreement between the institution and the employee;
- require compliance with applicable laws, policies, and guidelines.
2. Telecommuting is not a universal employee benefit or employee right. No employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to telecommute. Management is responsible for the affairs and operation of each institution and unit and thus management has the sole discretion to designate positions for telecommuting and approve employees to telecommute.
3. Telecommuting assignments do not change the conditions of employment or required compliance with laws and policies.
III. IDENTIFICATION OF POSITIONS ELIGLBLE FOR TELECOMMUTING
In making decisions about which positions are appropriate to designate or approve for telecommuting, institutions should thoroughly analyze the duties of the positions and how the work is performed. Generally, the following types of positions are appropriate for telecommuting:
- require independent work
- require little face to face interaction
- require concentration
- result in specific, measurable work products
- can be monitored by output, not time spent doing the job
- requires little campus contact or physical presence to perform effectively
- requires security and confidentiality of data, including sensitive information can be adequately assured
IV. DETERMINATION OF EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY FOR TELECOMMUTING
In making decisions about which employees are designated or approved for telecommuting, institutions should review the work qualities of particular employees in addition to ensuring that their positions are appropriate for telecommuting.
Generally to be eligible, an employee must:
- be out of probationary status, and have a history of reliable and responsible performance of duties;
- overall performance evaluation ratings are satisfactory or higher;
- have no pending personnel related disciplinary action;
- have a work site suitable for telecommuting;
- be able to work productively on their own, does not require close supervision or constant face to face interaction with co-workers to complete their assignments;
- be self-motivated and flexible
- be knowledgeable about the job;
- have a low need for social interaction;
- be dependable and trustworthy;
- be organized;
- have good communications skills;
- have good time management skills, and
- have satisfied satellite work station requirements including availability of necessary equipment; security of sensitive data and confidentially.
- The manager must be an effective communicator and must be able to clearly define tasks and expectations.
- The manager must be able to integrate office operations with on-site staff and telecommuting staff. The manager should be supportive of the concept and willing to work through minor problems or obstacles that may occur as a result of the telework arrangement.
- The manager must ensure that high level of public service is maintained and that misuses of this policy do not occur.
V. REQUIREMENT OF WORK AGREEMENT
Institutions and employees must agree to the terms of telecommunicating before an employee may work at an alternate work location.
Institution agreements must be reviewed and approved by the Office of the General Counsel prior to use.
Institutions may want to include the conditions listed below in work agreements (also, see Attachment A for a sample agreement):
- the duration of the agreement;
- the work schedule and how it can be changed; days and hours the employee is expected to work;
- how leave is to be requested and approved by the supervisors;
- status of employees during emergency or weather-related closings affecting the central or alternate workplace;
- how routine communication between the employee, supervisor, co-employees, and others will be handled;
- employee’s performance plan/expectations; the focus in telecommuting arrangements must be on results. The supervisor should communicate in advance what assignments or tasks are appropriate to be performed at the telecommuting site, and what assessment techniques will be used to measure success in meeting performance standards;
- the equipment and/or supplies that will be used, and who is responsible for providing and maintaining them;
- any applicable data security procedures;
- safety requirements (see Attachment B for sample checklist);
- a requirement that employees permit supervisor access to the alternate work location during normal work hours as defined by the telecommuting agreement;
- comply with all state and institution rules, policies, practices and instructions;
- use state-provided equipment/supplies only for business purposes, and to notify the institution immediately when equipment malfunctions;
- notify their supervisors immediately of any situation that interferes with their ability to perform their jobs;
- maintain safe work conditions and practice appropriate safety habits;
- certify that the work location is free from hazards;
- notify their supervisors immediately of any injury incurring while working;
- agree to allow supervisors to visit the alternate work location immediately after any accident or injury that occurred while working;
- absolve the institution from liability for damages to real or personal property resulting from participation in the telecommuting program;
- be responsible for the security of information, documents, and records in their possession or used during telecommuting, and not take restricted-access material home without the written consent of their supervisors; and
- ensure dependent care arrangements (children, parents) are maintained and do not interfere with the home office.
VI. GENERAL PROVISIONS
1. Management is responsible for managing the affairs and operations of state government; thus, institutions have sole discretion to:
a. designate positions for telecommuting, and
b. approve employees to telecommute.
Telecommuting assignments do not change the conditions of employment or required compliance with policies.
2. Compensation and Benefits: An employee’s compensation and benefits will not change as a result of telecommuting.
3. Hours of work: The total number of hours that employees are expected to work will not change, regardless of work location. Employees agree to apply themselves to their work during work hours.
Institutions must ensure that procedures are in place to document the work hours of employees who telecommute, in particular ensuring compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Telecommuting is not intended to serve as a substitute for child or adult care. If children or adults in need of primary care are in the alternate work location during employees’ work hours, some other individual must be present to provide the care.
There are no limits on telework days vs. in-office days; however, it is normally recommended that no more than 3 telework days per week are allowed. Employees need to spend some time in the office, and minimize communication problems. This practice will ensure employees are available for occasional face to face meetings and access to facilities.
4. Attendance at Meetings: Supervisors may require employees toreport to a central workplace as needed for work-related meetings or other events or may meet with employees in the alternative work location as needed to discuss work progress or other work related issues.
5. Use of Leave: Telecommuting is not intended to be used in place of sick leave (Policy 5:01:01:07), Family and Medical Leave (Policy 5:01:01:14), Workers Compensation Leave, or other types of leave.
However, institutions may determine whether or not it is appropriate to offer telecommuting as an opportunity for partial or full return to work based on institution policy and the criteria normally applied to decisions regarding the approval of telecommuting.
6. Workers’ Compensation Liability: Institutions may be liable for job-related injuries or illnesses that occur during employees’established work hours in their alternative work locations.
7. Equipment and Materials: Normally the state will provide equipment and materials needed by employees to effectively perform their duties. However, where agreements specify, employees may be authorized to use their own equipment.
8. State-Owned Equipment: Authorized Use/Users: State-owned equipment may be used only for legitimate state purposes by authorized employees.
Employees are responsible for protecting state-owned equipment from theft, damage and unauthorized use.
9. Maintenance: State-owned equipment used in the normal course of employment will be maintained, serviced and repaired by the state.
10. Transporting/Installing: Institutions should stipulate who is responsible for transporting and installing equipment and for returning it to the central workplace for repairs or service.
11. Employee-Owned Equipment: When employees are authorized to use their own equipment, institutions will not assume responsibility for its cost of equipment, repair, or service.
12. Costs Associated with Telecommuting: Agencies are not obligated to assume responsibility for operating costs, home maintenance, or additional insurance, or other costs incurred by employees in the use of their homes as telecommuting alternate work locations, except as described below.
Institutions may use appropriated funds to:
- pay for leased telephone lines in employee’s alternate work location;
- install and provide basic telephone service in employees’ alternate work locations or,
- provide cell phones to employees for business use.
If cell phones are not provided, institutions may reimburse employees for business-related long distance calls made from their personal telephones.
13. State Information: Employees must safeguard institution information used or accessed while telecommuting.
Institution supervisors must grant permission according to TBR and institution procedures for employees to work on restricted-access information or materials at alternate work locations. Employees must agree to follow institution-approved security procedures in order to ensure confidentiality and security of data.
Attachment A; Attachment B
TBR Meeting: December 4, 2008