All Staff employees.
The purpose of this policy is to create a hybrid/remote work program built on flexibility and trust that develops employee culture, performance, and community and ensures we maintain an on-campus student experience in support of our mission. Hybrid/remote work must be productive, engaging, and mutually beneficial for the employee, department, and University.
Hybrid Work: a combination of on-campus work and work-at-home or remote-access work in which employees work on-campus for a minimum number of days and off-campus for the remaining workdays on a regular basis. The hybrid work arrangement will generally require four days of on-campus presence.
Remote Work: a work-at-home or remote-access arrangement for all days of the week on a regular basis. Remote employees may be required to occasionally attend meetings or perform work on campus as directed or as operationally necessary.
Thomas More University is a highly collaborative and vibrant campus. We are committed to providing an engaging environment and robust on-campus experiences for students, faculty, and staff. While on-campus work is our primary work arrangement, a hybrid work arrangement, and rarely, a fully remote work arrangement may be in the best interests of the employee and the University.
This policy applies to eligible employees who have satisfactory work performance and whose job responsibilities are suitable for hybrid or remote work. Permission to work remotely is dependent on the employee having a suitable work environment at the off-site premises. Employees are expected to work the same general hours required of their position and to perform their responsibilities as they would otherwise do while on campus. Remote and hybrid work arrangements are not intended to permit employees to have time to work at other jobs or run their own businesses, nor is it intended as a substitute for dependent care.
Participation is voluntary and does not alter an employee’s work relationship with the University nor does it relieve an employee from the obligation to observe all applicable University, College, and departmental policies and procedures. All existing terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, the job description, salary, benefits, vacation, sick leave, and overtime (if applicable) remain the same as if the employee worked only at their regularly assigned place of employment. The work arrangement does not convert the off-site work location into a University place of business.
The decision to authorize these options is within the University’s discretion based on the nature of the work being performed and other business considerations. Remote and hybrid work arrangements may be discontinued at the discretion of the University based on the judgment of the relevant manager, Dean, or Vice President. The University will strive to provide a minimum of two weeks’ written notice of such termination of the arrangement, if feasible, but is not required to do so if the circumstances warrant a shorter notice period.
Working out of state subjects the University to numerous other laws and imposes additional insurance and payroll requirements and costs. Accordingly, remote arrangements may only be approved for employees residing in Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
This hybrid/remote work policy and any hybrid/remote work arrangements entered into pursuant to this policy do not apply to hybrid/remote work arrangements made through the University’s reasonable accommodation policy or process based on an employee’s own disability or other applicable circumstances.
RELATED POLICIES AND APPLICABLE LEGAL OR ACCREDITATION STANDARDS
- Hours of Operation Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
- Institutional Data Security Policy
- Protection of Consumer Financial Information Policy
- Acceptable Use of University Information Technology Policy
I. Guiding Principles
- The work arrangement must support the University's mission, community, and business needs.
- The work arrangement should be productive, engaging, and mutually beneficial for the employee, department, and University.
- The work arrangement must sustain service level, quality of work, and productivity.
- Offices that serve students, faculty, staff, and the community are expected to remain open on-campus during business hours.
- The manager is responsible for determining if a position is eligible for a hybrid or remote work arrangement based on the department's mission, outcomes, operations, and business needs. Some positions may only be eligible for hybrid work during particular times of the academic calendar. For example, student-support positions may only be able to work remotely during the summer, winter, or student breaks. The manager will also determine the frequency of required on-campus presence.
- When evaluating a position, managers should consider the following:
- Can the responsibilities of the position be performed off-site? If the position requires specific functions be performed on campus, remote and hybrid work may not be suitable.
- How important is it that an employee can quickly collaborate with students or coworkers? If it is critical, how will this occur while remote? If the position requires significant face-to-face in-person interactions, remote and hybrid work may not be suitable.
- How important is it that an employee can quickly exchange or access information, especially in hard copy? If it is critical, how will this occur while remote? If the position requires regular access to onsite, confidential documents, remote and hybrid work may not be suitable.
- Should the team be in the office on the same day for in-person meetings and collaboration? What types of meetings are best held in person? Ensure those are scheduled when employees are on campus.
- Does the office need to remain open for student or employee services? If so, schedule employee hybrid work to ensure office coverage.
- Does the employee need to be available for virtual appointments for students or employees? If so, ensure they are able to effectively use the appropriate technology and are accessible.
- Can the same level of service be maintained without hardship on collaborating departments, students, constituents, and co-workers? If not, remote and hybrid work may not be suitable.
- Once the position is determined to be eligible for hybrid or remote work, the manager is responsible for determining employee eligibility based on employee work habits, dispositions, and performance. Employees should satisfactorialy complete their 90-day review period to be eligible for a hybrid or remote work arrangement, although exceptions may be approved by the appropriate Cabinet member. Employees who participate in a hybrid or remote work arrangement should meet the following expectations.
- The employee must have a clear understanding of the position and expectations.
- The employee must demonstrate ability to work independently.
- The employee must have met or exceeded performance expectations on their most recent performance review.
- The employee must be responsive to constituents and demonstrate good communication skills.
- Managers are responsible for approving, scheduling, and monitoring work arrangements. The frequency of required on-campus presence is determined by the supervisor, and clear expectations will be agreed upon by the employee and manager. The specific terms must be approved by the appropriate Cabinet member overseeing the area. The President must approve hybrid or remote work arrangements of Cabinet members. *As noted in definitions, the hybrid work arrangement will generally require four days of on-campus presence.
- Remote work arrangements are the exception and will be granted only under circumstances where both the University and employee share an interest in the arrangement. Remote work arrangements must be approved by the manager, relevant Cabinet member, and Director of Human Resources.
IV. Requirements and Employee Accountability
- Employees are expected to be available during the administrative hours of business in accordance with the Hours of Operation Policy. Presence may be maintained by using appropriate technology, including but not limited to phone, computer, email, messaging application (preferably Teams), video conferencing (preferably Teams), and text messaging. Employees and their supervisors will agree on the method and timeliness of communications while working off campus.
- Regardless of the hybrid or remote work arrangement, employees may be required to be on campus at any time at the sole discretion of their supervisor. Supervisors are expected to discuss these instances in advance when possible.
- Employees must be available for meetings deemed necessary by management. Employees are expected and may be required to be physically present on campus for in-person meetings or events even if they occur on a day that they normally work hybrid or remotely. Decisions regarding scheduling in person or virtually should be based on optimizing outcomes and not on personal preferences for hybrid or remote work.
- Employees may be required to work on campus to ensure office coverage during co-worker vacation or sick time even if they are scheduled to work hybrid or remote.
- If during inclement weather the University announces campus closings, delayed openings, or modification of operations due to inclement weather, employees with hybrid or remote arrangements will continue to work from their off-site work location.
- Employees must maintain a professional image, attire, and conduct themselves in a manner as to promote the proper and orderly operation of the University.
- Employees must have and maintain a healthy and safe environment at the remote work site.
- The supervisor and employee must ensure that all sensitive and confidential information is protected and secured when accessing information from the remote location. No University owned personally identifiable information or sensitive data shall be stored on employee’s personal computer or other devices. Data shall only be stored on University owned/licensed systems. Data must only be accessed or transmitted using secure means.
- Employees must ensure that endpoint protection and antivirus-software and other firewall technology is installed, up-to-date, and active on all equipment at the remote location.
- Timekeeping: If employee is non-exempt, he or she will be required to use the Paycor timekeeping system and follow all timekeeping rules as required by the University. Overtime: Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt employees will be compensated in pay for overtime that has been approved by the supervisor in accordance with the provisions of the FLSA. Overtime hours must be approved by supervisor in advance of hours worked.
- Employees are responsible for any change in their tax obligations pursuant to a hybrid/remote work arrangement and in no event will the University be liable for any state or local income taxation obligations, interest charges, or penalties to which covered employees are subject or for any other associated costs (such as legal or accounting fees).
V. University Property
- No equipment and services may be provided by and paid for by the employee’s department without the approval of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Employees are expected to provide their own equipment, such as a desk, computer(s), telephone line(s), and high-speed internet access, if they work remotely. There will be no reimbursement for computers, printing, phone, internet or furniture for off-site work location and all costs, whether relating to the initial set-up or the maintenance of an off-site work location, will be borne by the employee.
- An employee with a hybrid work arrangement understands that their campus-based workspace may be used by others on days when the hybrid employee is working off-site.
- It is the responsibility of the covered employee to protect University-issued equipment (laptop, etc.) from theft, damage, and unauthorized use if used at off-site work location.
The University assumes no liability for injuries occurring in the employee’s home workspace outside of work hours. Employees should note that some homeowners’ insurance 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’ or renter’s 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.
REFERENCING THE POLICY
Remote Work Policy
Rewrite of policy
October 5, 2020
Laura Custer, Director of Human Resources
Dr. Joseph L. Chillo, President