All Staff employees.
The purpose of this policy is to establish a Remote Work program for eligible employees at Thomas More University and establish guidelines and rules under which it will operate.
Remote Work: a work-at-home or remote-access arrangement on a regular basis for a specific period of time as determined by the University.
Remote Work entails a work-at-home or remote-access arrangement for a specific period of time on a regular basis. The University is committed to employees being available to our students in an onsite office, and the majority of employees will remain on campus serving in that capacity. However, it is the policy of Thomas More University to permit Remote Work arrangements as provided by this Policy when it is in the best interests of the University and the employee. An entire department can not work remotely, especially if the department requires face-to-face interactions with students. Each request to work remotely will be decided on an individual basis pursuant to the eligibility criteria and guidelines set forth in the Procedures section of this Policy.
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. 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 his or her regularly assigned place of employment.
A. A request to work remotely may be contemplated when:
1. The employee has demonstrated high performance, and when the supervisor believes that the employee can maintain the expected quantity and quality of work while working remotely;
2. There will be no impairment to job performance; and,
3. Working remotely is appropriate considering the nature of the employee’s job; or,
4. Special circumstances exists where the employee and University mutually agree that working remotely is in the best interests of the University and the employee.
B. A Remote Work arrangement will not be contemplated when:
1. The nature of the job requires the employee’s physical presence (e.g., it may not be appropriate where the employee must supervise the work of other employees);
2. University efficiency is compromised when the employee is not present;
3. The employee’s performance evaluations do not indicate sustained high performance;
4. The employee’s observed productivity levels are problematic;
5. The employee requires close supervision, as indicated, for example, by the employee’s consistent need for guidance on technical matters;
6. **The employee has been employed for less than one (1) year; or,
7. The employee has received disciplinary action or has a demonstrated attendance problem.
**This requirement does not apply if a position is created to be fully remote.
A Remote Work arrangement is not intended to permit employees to have time to work at other jobs or 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 and/or termination of employment.
Permission to work remotely is dependent upon the employee having a suitable work location at the off-site premises, and in compliance with the requirements set forth below.
II. Approval Procedures
An employee seeking approval of a Remote Work arrangement must submit a completed Remote Work Request Application to the Director of Human Resources and his or her supervisor along with any supporting documentation necessary to demonstrate his or her eligibility. Upon receipt of a complete application, the Director of Human Resources will convene a review committee, which shall consist of the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Legal Affairs, the employee’s supervisor, and the appropriate area vice president or Provost, to review and make a decision on the request. All decisions made by the review committee are final.
III. Duration of Remote Working Arrangement
A Remote Work arrangement is granted on a trial and revocable basis and may be discontinued by the area vice president or Provost, as applicable, at any time and for any reason. In addition, an employee may request to discontinue participation in a Remote Work arrangement at any time. Employee’s supervisor will provide a review every three (3) months with the employee to determine how the Remote Work arrangement is going and if it should continue.
In making a Remote Work arrangement, both the department and the employee must be mindful that this Policy is designed to provide a consistent and stable working arrangement, and it should not be used as a constant series of short-term arrangements. Employees who change their mind frequently about participating will not be permitted to work remotely.
IV. Remote Work Site Requirements
A. Employees must have and maintain a healthy and safe environment at the remote work site.
B. Non-work related events and activities may not disrupt or interfere with work at the remote work site without approval of the area vice president or Provost in advance and in consultation with the Director of Human Resources.
C. 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.
D. 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. Upon approval of the Remote Work arrangement, the employee shall work with IT Services to ensure compliance with this requirement and gain secure access to the required University systems, subject to the provisions of Section VI below.
V. Reporting to Campus
Employees may be asked to report to campus when operational needs require and must report to campus upon their supervisor’s request.
VI. University Property
A. 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). In many cases, employees will be expected to provide their own equipment, such as a desk, computer(s), telephone line(s), and high-speed internet access, if they work remotely.
B. Technological University Property: Technological equipment including, but not limited to, 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 Remote Work arrangement. In order to ensure the appropriate allocation and prioritization of University resources, any employee wishing to use University equipment on loan must request such equipment from IT Services through its normal processes, who must obtain approval from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) prior to loaning out the equipment. If University equipment is provided, each piece of equipment must be recorded in the asset management system when the employee takes possession. Documentation of such equipment, including but not limited to its description and serial number, shall be maintained by IT Services.
C. Non-Technological University Property: A request for non-technological University property, such as office furniture, to be provided on loan by the University for use in the employee’s Remote Work arrangement should be noted by the employee on their Remote Work Request Application. Such University property remains the property of the University while on loan and must be returned upon termination of the Remote Work arrangement. If an employee has a need for office supplies, he or she shall consult with his or her supervisor.
D. If a request for University property from subsection B or C above is approved, employees are responsible for the transportation of the property to their Remote Work location. 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.
VII. Work Schedules/Communication
A Remote Work arrangement does not necessarily alter the employee’s work schedule. The specific work schedule shall be the same as his or her normally scheduled hours. Requests to alter his or her work schedule should be noted on the employee’s Remote Work Request Application along with rationale for the request. If an altered work schedule is approved, it will be noted in the Additional Conditions for Remote Work on the Approval of Remote Work Arrangement form.
VIII. Employee Availability
Employees shall be available for communication and contact during remote work as they would be if working at their regularly assigned place of employment.
Employees and their supervisors shall agree on how their communications shall be handled. During the agreed upon work schedule, it is expected that the employee shall be available for contact by phone or email.
IX. Work Documentation, Timekeeping, Overtime and Leave
A. Work Documentation: Employees and supervisors should identify work items for review and discussion on an ongoing basis to ensure that tasks are fully described and timely performed and/or completed.
B. 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.
C. 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.
D. Vacation, Sick, and Other Available Leaves: Pursuant to established University policies, employees must obtain supervisory approval before taking accrued vacation, sick, or other available leaves. All vacation, sick, or other available leaves will be paid according to established University policies and procedures.
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.
This is a new policy
Laura Custer, Director of Human Resources
Robert Munson, Senior Vice President and CFO
Dr. Joseph Chillo, President