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Telework for Professional & Classified Staff
Policy

Policy statement

University policy is to permit University staff employees to telework when the supervisor, manager, or other designated official of the employing department determines that teleworking will allow a position's work to be performed effectively and in conformance with applicable regulations, University policies, and collective bargaining agreements. Requests to telework as a disability accommodation are handled separately through the disability accommodation process.

Introduction

Telework is sometimes a condition of employment. Most often, however, a telework arrangement is initiated by an employee's request. Supervisors must determine the feasibility of the proposed telework arrangement. This page helps you evaluate an employee's request and create a plan for a successful telework arrangement.

Telework typically refers to an arrangement where the employee works from home. The employee could, however, work at other locations away from the normal workplace. Depending on the details of the arrangement, telework constitutes either a portion of the employee's work time or all of it.

Telework arrangements are intended to benefit the employee without putting undue burden on you or the rest of your team. Thus, you must carefully evaluate the requested arrangement before you approve it. The employee must continue working effectively under the arrangement. To help ensure this, develop a telework plan.

With a good telework plan in place, the arrangement can benefit not only the employee but also you, your team, and the University in general. Telework often improves job satisfaction. It increases job flexibility and allows the University to retain valued employees who might otherwise change jobs.

Types of telework arrangements

The University recognizes two general types of telework arrangements: regular telework arrangements and occasional telework arrangements.

Regular telework arrangements

Regular telework arrangement are supported by a written agreement that specifies the requirements and details of the arrangement. The arrangement can last for a defined period or can continue indefinitely. The arrangement must comply with any school, college, or administrative unit requirements which should be specified in the agreement.

These arrangements are either requested by the employee or required due to the nature of the position.

Occasional telework arrangements

Occasional telework arrangements are approved on a case by case basis and are not regularly scheduled. Approval must be documented, which can be done by email.

Occasional telework arrangements can be used when an employee:

Evaluate the telework request

You will make the final decision about the telework request after evaluating its feasibility. Work with the employee to evaluate the proposal. Additionally, consider how the proposal will affect both you and the rest of your unit. Identify any potential issues and develop ways to address those issues.

Determine employee readiness for telework

Employee work styles and job duties vary. Some employees may be better prepared than others to manage the unique requirements of teleworking. When evaluating a telework request, consider how well the employee has demonstrated the kind of skills and work habits that working from home will require. These include the ability to:

Determine supervisor and team readiness for telework

When an employee begins teleworking, the way you and your team work with that employee may also change. Before you approve a telework request, consider any management adjustments needed to ensure your team continues to meet its objectives.

You must ensure that the teleworking employee will continue to get work done effectively. To maintain this accountability, determine:

Consider the practical details about the arrangement such as technology access, equipment needs, time and leave accounting, and any safety concerns about the telework environment. Additionally, determine if there are any labor contract requirements that apply to the proposed arrangement.

Respond to the telework request

If you're unsure that the proposed telework arrangement can be successful, consider allowing the employee to telework on a pilot basis. Designate an initial review period after which you will make a final decision on the arrangement.

If you cannot approve the telework request, explain your decision based on both the proposal's impact on department operations and if relevant, the employee's work record in your department. Discuss concerns about accommodation-related telework requests with your Human Resources Consultant or the Disability Services Office.

If you approve the telework request, your next step is to document the telework agreement.

Document the telework arrangement

Once you determine that the proposed telework arrangement is feasible and you are ready to approve it, create and document the telework agreement.

Your goal when creating the agreement is to ensure that both you and the employee have a clear, shared understanding of the telework arrangement.

The content of the agreement should follow the general provisions of the "Telework Arrangement and Agreement" form. At a minimum, the arrangement should define:

You can download the Telework Plan and Agreement Form here.

Evaluate whether you need to incorporate the parameters of the telework agreement into the criteria you use to evaluate your employee's job performance.

Telework-related policies and practices

Both supervisors and employees must understand and comply with the following policies:

University property and data security

You must take reasonable steps to ensure that University property is used in compliance with APS 47.2, Personal use of University Facilities, Computers, and Equipment by University Employees. This includes complying with all software licensing agreements. You must also maintain the security and confidentiality of University records.

Equipment insurance

University equipment and resources located at an alternate worksite are not automatically insured. Review information about equipment insurance. If departments do not insure the equipment that will support the telework arrangement, the telework agreement should specify whether the department or the employee bears the risk of loss. The telework agreement should require that the employee immediately report any damage to University equipment.

Public records disclosure

The work employees do while teleworking remains subject to University and other applicable regulations including the Washington State Public Records Act.

Overtime eligible employees

For overtime eligible employees, certain activities, such as travel to and from required meetings that occur during scheduled work time are included as hours worked.

Workers' compensation

Teleworking employees are covered by workers' compensation for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment. When the telework site is in the home, workers' compensation does not cover injuries that are not job related. Employees who work out of state or out of the country in one location for more than 30 days need workers' compensation coverage specific to that location. Contact the Office of Risk Management for information regarding coverage.

Several states mandate participation in state disability insurance programs. Contact the Benefits Office for information on enrollment and disability insurance payroll deductions for employees located out of state or out of the country.

For information on general liability insurance issues relating to telework, contact the Office of Risk Management.

Tax implications

Employees are responsible for addressing and resolving any questions about the employee's ability to deduct expenses related to telework.

Resources

If you have questions about or need assistance with issues related to teleworking in your unit, contact your unit's Human Resources Consultant.

LEARN MORE

For detailed information about implementing telework arrangements see: