The University recognizes that its employees may be searching for ways to achieve better work/life balance, reduce commuting costs or address other issues that affect their ability to work onsite at University facilities or work traditional work schedules. As such, University managers have the ability to utilize flexible work arrangements to meet departmental needs while at the same time providing enhanced flexibility to employees. Departments are strongly encouraged to be open to allowing for alternative work arrangements with the understanding that this flexibility must still ensure appropriate employee accountability and be compatible with the operational needs of the work unit. Managers are expected to make sound judgments that balance the needs of the individual employee and the needs of the department and to grant flexible work arrangements equitably for similarly situated individuals within a particular work unit. Specifically, managers and employees alike must be mindful of the special accountabilities that apply to the University as a public employer and the added scrutiny of flexible work arrangements that may be extended to State employees. Additionally, not every position within the University lends itself to flexible work arrangements, nor may every proposed arrangement be accommodated.
This policy sets out the three major types of flexible work arrangements: temporary changes in work hours, flexible work schedules and flexible work locations (“teleworking”), and describes the expectations and obligations associated with each one.
Temporary Change in Work Hours
Employees may request and managers may grant a change in an employee’s regular work schedule that is not permanent or ongoing in order to adjust for an unplanned short-notice or sporadic event. This change may include modifying normal work start and end times or allowing work missed on one day to be made up on another. The flexibility helps the employee to avoid taking leave or other paid time off that would otherwise have to be accounted for in a given week. Managers have the discretion to grant temporary changes in work hours as long as the operational needs of the department are satisfied and to discontinue such arrangements when deemed necessary.
Flexible Work Schedules
Flexible work schedules are adjustments to the employee’s reporting or departure times on a regular or recurring basis to respond to the work/life needs of an employee. The revised schedule must continue to support the operational needs of the organization and allow for appropriate oversight of the employee’s work assignments. Managers are advised to be attentive to the need to ensure that adequate supervision is provided for situations where adjusted work schedules fall outside of normal work hours. Managers may revise or revoke flexible work schedules at any time; however, OHR advises managers to provide as much reasonable notice as possible in the event of a revision or revocation of a flexible work schedule to permit the employee to make alternate arrangements. Ten (10) business days of notice is generally expected as a minimum unless employee conduct or safety issues necessitate otherwise at the discretion of management.
Flexible Work Locations (“Teleworking”)
Teleworking represents an adjustment to the employee’s customary worksite, either on a short-term or on an ongoing or recurring basis, to respond to the work/life needs of an employee and/or the operational needs of the department. Typically, these arrangements involve the employee regularly or primarily working from home and are sometimes referred to as “virtual” work arrangements. The teleworking arrangement must continue to support the operational needs of the work unit and also provide for appropriate oversight of the employee’s work. Managers may revise or revoke a flexible work location arrangement at any time; however, OHR strongly advises managers to provide as much reasonable notice as possible to permit the employee to make alternate arrangements. A minimum of ten (10) business days of notice is generally expected unless employee conduct or safety issues necessitate otherwise at the discretion of management. Managers have the discretion to approve a flexible work location for up to ninety (90) calendar days as long as the operational needs of the department are met.
To assure appropriate accountability and oversight of teleworking arrangements, the following minimum requirements and pre-approvals have been established by the University:
- The employee must spend at least four (4) days per month physically based within an official University office or facility to assure adequate “face to face” supervision and accountability. The Vice Chancellor for Workforce Strategy, Equity and Engagement or his/her designee may grant an exemption from this requirement only when the employing department can demonstrate that this on-site requirement represents an undue burden and that no reasonable alternative exists in terms of employing either someone within the local commuting area or someone who can provide at least this minimum presence at a University work site.
- Any teleworking arrangement that will be in place for more than ninety (90) calendar days must be pre-approved by the Department Head, the School/Division HR Officer, and the Employment and Staffing Department of the Office of Human Resources prior to being communicated to the employee and implemented.
- The employing department must submit a completed Teleworking Request Form for SHRA (SPA) and EHRA (EPA) Non-Faculty Employees to the assigned Employment Consultant.
- Once approved, the employee must sign the Supplemental Conditions of Employment (CoE) for Teleworkers before starting the teleworking arrangement. This form should not be completed until the Office of Human Resources has approved the proposed arrangement.
In reviewing an employee’s request for a flexible work arrangement, managers need to consider a variety of factors in determining whether the request is compatible with the operational needs of the work unit and the University as a whole, such as:
- What are the operational needs of the work unit?
- What are the work/life needs of the employee? And for what period of time?
- Are there restrictions on when and where work must be performed?
- Does the employee function as part of a team that would require a matching schedule of all team members or significant in-person communication (as compared to telephone or online communication)?
- Is the work unit able to provide coverage for functions handled by the employee in his/her absence without undue burden on other employees in the unit?
- Are requests for flexible schedules being handled equitably for similarly situated employees within the work unit?
- Does the work unit have sufficient budget to provide necessary office supplies and equipment for the teleworking site?
- Can the supervisor continue to effectively monitor the employee’s work that occurs outside the supervisor’s regular schedule or work location?
- Will the employee have access to necessary work-related data or files at the teleworking site and is the confidentiality of this information assured as required by University policies?
- If applicable, can the supervisor continue to assure compliance with federal wage-hour regulations regarding work that occurs outside the supervisor’s regular schedule or work location?
Managers and supervisors with questions regarding flexible work arrangements should contact the Senior Director of Employment and Staffing or the Assistant Director, Employment in the Office of Human Resources for assistance.
Employees who may need assistance in discussing a proposed flexible work arrangement with their manager or supervisor should contact an Employee and Management Relations Consultant in the Office of Human Resources for assistance.