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Telecommuting Policy

Telecommuting Policy: This policy applies to work outside of the office for one or more days a week on a routine basis.

Temporary Telework Policy: This policy may be approved for temporary/alternative work arrangements on a short term basis to meet exceptional operational circumstances.

 

Introduction

Telecommuting, is a program under which employees work at a place other than their traditional workplace on specified days and at their primary worksite the remainder of the time, retaining flexibility to meet the needs of the work unit. The telework location may be the employee's home or another suitable location. Employees may use telephones and, in many instances computers, to communicate effectively.

The Chancellor's office supports telework to maximize productive work time, decrease the need for parking and office facilities, reduce energy used for transportation, and decrease traffic congestion, hazards, and air pollution. The Chancellor's office supports telework in situations where it is in the best interest of the University System.

This policy applies to work outside of the office for one or more days a week on a routine basis. The policy does not apply to temporary or occasional work arrangements such as dependent care, inclement weather, recovery from an illness, caring for an ill family member, or instances where an employee is assigned to work at home.

The employee's supervisor and the appropriate Dean/Director/Vice Provost must approve Telework arrangements. This policy creates no employee rights in relation to telework.

Telework is only one form of flexible work arrangements. Others include flextime, compressed workweeks, and job-sharing.

To ensure an effective, productive telework program, OUS establishes the following policy:

PSU Telecommuting Agreement

Eligibilty

Classified employees who have completed trial service and normally work an established workday are eligible to apply to become teleworkers under this policy. Their work shall be of a nature wherein face-to-face interaction is minimal or may be scheduled to permit teleworking. Unclassified employees, who are covered under the appointing authority of Portland State University, are eligible for telework under the terms and conditions of the PSUtelework policy.

Tasks that benefit from uninterrupted work time are suitable for telework. Such tasks include writing, editing, reading, analysis, design work, computer programming, word-processing and data entry. Telework may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions. The need for specialized material or equipment must either be minimal or flexible.

Application

Employees who desire to work at some place other than the primary workplace on specified days shall complete a Telecommuting Application and submit it to their supervisor.

Each telework schedule needs to allow adequate time at the primary worksite for meetings, access to facilities, supplies, and communication with other employees and customers. Telework must not adversely affect customer service delivery, employee productivity, or progress of an individual or team assignment.

The supervisor shall consider an employee request to telework in relation to the operational and customer needs of the department. The supervisor will take into consideration the overall impact of the teleworker's total time out of the primary worksite, including flextime, compressed workweek schedules, meetings, consultations, presentations, and conferences. The supervisor will also consider the applicant's demonstrated conscientiousness about work time and productivity, and their work habits, including their ability to be self-motivated and have minimal face-to-face daily supervision.

The supervisor shall generally respond within 30 days. All requests are subject to approval by the appropriate Dean/Director/Vice Provost.

Agreement

Employees who are approved for telework shall sign and abide by a Telework Agreement. The agree ment may require modification to fit individual telework-site circumstances. A copy of the Agreement shall be retained in the employee's personnel file.

Unless otherwise stated in the agreement, the supervisor, the Dean/Director/Vice Provost, or the employee may discontinue the arrangement, generally giving at least one week's notice. The parties may negotiate a longer notice to provide for a smooth transition.

General Provisions

A. Communication. While teleworking, the employee shall be reachable by telephone, fax, pager, or e-mail during agreed-upon work hours. The employee and supervisor shall agree on expected turnaround time and the medium for responses.

B. Conditions of Employment. The teleworker's conditions of employment shall remain the same as for non-teleworking employees; wages, benefits and leave accrual will remain unchanged.

C. Equipment. Home worksite furniture and equipment shall generally be provided by the teleworker. In the event that equipment and software is provided by OUS at the telework-site, such equipment and software shall be used exclusively by the teleworker and for the purposes of conducting OUS business. Software shall not be duplicated. The parties shall consult with the support manager regarding the availability of equipment to loan. If OUS provides equipment, the teleworker is responsible for safe transportation and set-up of such equipment.

D. Equipment liability. The Oregon University System will repair and maintain, at the primary worksite, any equipment loaned by OUS. Surge protectors must be used with any OUS computer made available to the teleworker. The employee will be responsible for:

  • any intentional damage to the equipment;
  • damage resulting from gross negligence by the employee or any member or guest of the employee's household;
  • damage resulting from a power surge if no surge protector is used;
  • maintaining the current virus protection for software.

OUS may pursue recovery from the teleworker for OUS property that is deliberately, or through negligence, damaged, destroyed, or lost while in the teleworker's care, custody or control. Damage or theft of OUS equipment that occurs outside the employee's control will be covered by OUS. Teleworkers should check their homeowner's/renter's insurance policy for incidental office coverage. OUS does not assume liability for loss, damage, or wear of employee-owned equipment.

E. Dependent Care. Telework is not a substitute for childcare or other dependent care. Teleworkers shall make or maintain childcare arrangements to permit concentration on work assignments.

F. Home Work Site. The teleworker must establish and maintain a dedicated workspace that is quiet, clean, and safe, with adequate lighting and ventilation. The teleworker will not hold business visits or meetings with professional colleagues, customers, or the public at the home worksite. Meetings with other OUS staff will not be permitted unless approved in advance by the employee's supervisor.

G. Hours of Work. The teleworker will have regularly scheduled work hours agreed upon with the supervisor, including specific core hours and telephone accessibility. The agreed upon work schedule shall comply with FLSA regulations. Overtime work for a non-exempt employee must be pre-approved by the supervisor. The teleworker will attend job-related meetings, training sessions and conferences, as requested by supervisors. In addition, the teleworker may be requested to attend "short-notice" meetings. The supervisor will use telephone conference calling whenever possible as an alternative to requesting attendance at "short-notice" meetings.

H. Incidental Costs. Unless otherwise stated in the Telework Agreement, all incidental costs, such as residential utility costs or cleaning services, are the responsibility of the teleworker.

I. Inclement Weather. If the primary worksite is closed due to an emergency or inclement weather, the supervisor will contact the employee. The teleworker may continue to work at the telework-site. If there is an emergency at the telework-site, such as a power outage, the teleworker will notify the supervisor as soon as possible. The teleworker may be reassigned to the primary worksite or an alternate worksite.

J. Inspections. In case of injury, theft, loss, or tort liability related to telework, the teleworker must allow agents of OUS to investigate and/or inspect the telework site.

K. Injuries. The employee will be covered by workers' compensation for job related injuries that occur in the designated workspace, including the teleworker's home, during the defined work period. In the case of injury occurring during the defined work period, the employee shall immediately report the injury to the supervisor. Workers' compensation will not apply to non-job related injuries that might occur in the home. OUS does not assume responsibility for injury to any persons other than the teleworker at the telework-site.

L. Intellectual Property. Products, documents, and records developed while teleworking are property of OUS.

M. Leave. The telework employee must obtain supervisory approval before taking leave in accordance with OUS policy.

N. Network Access. OUS is committed to supporting telework by increasing network access to remote locations. However, network access is not guaranteed.

O. Office Supplies. OUS shall provide any necessary office supplies. Out-of-pocket expenses for supplies normally available in the office will not be reimbursed.

P. Performance & Evaluations. The supervisor and teleworker will formulate objectives, expected results, and evaluation procedures for work completed while the employee is teleworking. The supervisor will monitor and evaluate performance by relying more heavily on work results rather than direct observation. The supervisor and telework employee will meet at regular intervals to review the employee's work performance.

Q. Personal Business. Telework employees shall not perform personal business during hours agreed upon as work hours.

R. Policies. OUS policies, rules and practices shall apply at the telework site, including those governing communicating internally and with the public, employee rights and responsibilities, facilities and equipment management, financial management, information resource management, purchasing of property and services, and safety. Failure to follow policy, rules and procedures may result in termination of the telework arrangement and/or disciplinary action.

S. Quality of Work. All work shall be performed according to the same high standards as would normally be expected at the primary worksite.

T. Questions. If you have questions about the telework program, or you would like to access training material, contact the OUS Human Resources Department, at (541) 346-5698.

U. Record Retention. Products, documents and records that are used, developed, or revised while teleworking shall be copied or restored to OUS's computerized record system. Whenever possible, all telework related information shall be stored in a directory designated for telework and this information shall be backed up on a disk or on the LAN server.

V. Security. Security and confidentiality shall be maintained by the teleworker at the same level as expected at all worksites. Restricted access or confidential material shall not be taken out of the primary worksite or accessed through a computer unless approved in advance by the supervisor. The teleworker is responsible to ensure that non-employees do not access Chancellor's office data, either in print or electronic form.

W. Taxes. A home office is not an automatic tax deduction. Teleworkers should consult with a tax expert to examine the tax implications of a home office.

X. Telephone/Internet Expenses. The teleworker and supervisor will use the most efficient and effective way of handling long distance calls, whether that is the use of a state calling card or reimbursement of long distance business calls. If reimbursement is approved, the teleworker will submit an expense request along with a log of long distance business calls and an itemized copy of the telephone bill. Such expenses may include increased charges for Internet access and/or facsimile transmissions.

Y. Travel. The teleworker will not be paid for time or mileage involved in travel between the telework-site and the primary worksite.

Z. Worksite. Telework-sites shall be in Oregon or in the same state as the primary worksite.


Temporary Telework Policy

Policy Statement:

In exceptional situations including cases of public emergency and/or in compliance with public health guidance for contagious diseases, Temporary Telework may be approved for temporary alternative work arrangements. This is a short-term discretionary program and must be discussed and considered on a case-by-case basis with the unit supervisor and individual employee. This program must be approved in advance by the unit supervisor and implemented through the use of the Temporary Telework Application and Approval form.

This policy does not apply to employees who must work during part or all of the PSU December winter closure. Employees who must perform on-site work designated as "Critical Functions" during the December winter closure should coordinate with their supervisors to take their mandatory leave days (furlough days or President’s leave) at a different time.

Any employee who works offsite must use reasonable caution, procedures and equipment that maintains data storage and transmission security.

For purposes of Temporary Telework, the terms and conditions of the Telecommuting Policy apply, except that the abbreviated Temporary Telework Application & Agreement is sufficient to authorize and approve Temporary Telework.