Telework Procedure and Agreement

Procedure Section: 
Human Resources
Effective: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Last Revised: 
Monday, August 23, 2021
Procedure: 

Purpose

South Puget Sound Community College encourages and supports telework for positions that are suited for telework to provide flexibility for employees, better work-life balance, and as a means to achieve administrative efficiencies.

Definition

South Puget Sound Community College defines telework as working at an alternate worksite such as a private residence or other location that is not the official working location for one or more days per week, month, or selected time period.

Occasionally working off-site for a few hours or a day does not require a Telework Agreement (which is defined later in this procedure). These types of informal arrangements are permitted, but must be arranged between an employee and their supervisor. They must be for the purpose of meeting a specific business need.

Telework is a voluntary workplace alternative available through a mutually agreed upon arrangement between an employee and their supervisor. The arrangement is not permanent and may be terminated by the employee or the College at any time.

Telework shall not negatively impact South Puget Sound Community College’s service to students, adversely impact other faculty and staff, interfere with efficient conduct of daily College business or the employee’s ability to perform the functions of their job.

Telework agreements do not change conditions of employment, expectations of the position, or required compliance with College policies and procedures. 

There may be situations where telework is considered a medical accommodation for an employee.

Position Suitability

A suitable position is a position that can be, at a given time, conducted from a remote location without negatively impacting quality of work or College operations. Position suitability is determined by Human Resources and the employee’s supervisor.

A suitable position meets the following criteria:

  • The position allows for flexibility regarding face-to-face interaction and coordination of their work with other employees, their supervisor, students, and/or the public.
  • Some or all of the work activities are portable and can be performed effectively while working away from the SPSCC campus.
  • Technology to support assigned work activities is available from the employee and/or the College.
  • Work performance can be evaluated using methods other than measuring time spent on the job.
  • The position does not require immediate access to equipment, documents, or other information located only on campus.

Other factors for consideration when determining a position’s suitability:

  • Nature of the work
  • Employee’s job performance history
  • Potential impact to the service to students
  • Effect on workload
  • Competing leave requests/scheduled time off
  • Telework location if outside of Washington state or outside of the country

Possible

Difficult

Publication design work, writing, editing

Any task that requires extensive face-to- face communication internal or external

Individual, non-collaborative work

Project, staff or work group meetings and discussions

IT system administration with tasks that can be done remotely

Performance appraisal meetings

Customer support that is exclusively virtual and/or phone based

 

Administrative tasks such as writing reports, budget reconciliation, reading

Hands-on hardware-related services

Web design and development

Contract discussions or negotiations

Preparing training curriculum and aids

Close supervision of staff

Software development

Any task that requires the use of onsite equipment or material

Needed resources are available in electronic format and minimal use of hard copy documents are necessary.

Needed paper or confidential files in high volume and high frequency (need to minimize, if not avoid, confidential files being taken off campus).

The above list of factors is not an exhaustive list. Supervisors and/or the applicable Vice President and HR may use their discretion in approving telework.

Employee Suitability

Employees suitable for telework must meet the following requirements:

  • Employee’s position is considered suitable.
  • Employee is not involved in corrective or disciplinary action, a disciplinary investigation, and does not have any past performance issues that could impact employee’s ability to telework effectively.
  • An approved telework agreement is in place prior to teleworking.

Out of Washington State Telework Locations -  Additional Criteria

Employees may be granted approval to work out-of-state or out of country if they meeting the following criteria:

  • They can connect remotely and securely access all tools, information and resources to do their job. It may not be feasible to do repairs or customize equipment for different remote locations. They can work hours that closely match their regularly assigned schedule based on Pacific Standard Time.
  • There will be no additional cost or administrative burden to the college for payroll, hardware or connection issues.
  • They will be required to return to campus at their own cost with reasonable notice of a need to return to campus.
  • Approved out-of-state teleworking employees must promptly notify Human Resources of an address change that impacts their payroll deductions. Employees must also update their address in the College system.    

Employee Responsibilities

An employee’s work responsibilities and expectations will not be affected by a telework arrangement. Any changes to an employee’s scheduled shift (i.e. 8:00 am to 5:00 pm changing to 7:00 am to 4:00 pm) must be coordinated and approved by the direct supervisor.

Teleworkers are responsible for maintaining effective workflow and communication among co- workers, supervisors, students, etc. Professional standards and job performance requirements remain.

Employees in telework arrangements are still required to comply with all College policies and procedures. Failure to perform adequately or comply with policies and procedures, may result in a termination of the Telework Agreement and/or corrective or disciplinary action.

An employee may not be the primary source of care for a dependent while they are teleworking.

Work Hours & Accessibility

The employee’s number of work hours per week remains the same even if they telework. Teleworking hours will be specified in the Telework Agreement. HR must be notified of any schedule changes that are not temporary or one-offs prior to the schedule change taking place.. Any changes to the Telework Agreement must be approved by the supervisor in advance.

The supervisor and the employee must comply with all applicable laws, rules, and policies including but not limited to:

  • Work hours
  • Meal and break periods
  • Leave
  • Employee conduct and ethics
  • Performance expectations
  • Communication procedures
  • Confidentiality and Data Security

Requests for leave will follow normal procedures. In the event of suspended operations, an employee is not expected to work even if their telework site is operational. Suspended operations rules related to pay and leave would apply.

In the case of an emergency unique to the telework site such as power outage, a teleworking employee is required to report to their office/work space on campus, find an alternate suitable workstation or submit leave.

Communications

The telework site is considered an extension of the College for limited purposes while the employee is in telework status. An employee in telework status will be available during the approved work schedule for phone calls, email and using other standard, college supported communication technologies.

The employee is expected to present a professional work presence while working from their telework location. This includes being visible (with camera on) for all meetings and scheduled events, the same as if they were in person.

The employee is expected to be free from non-work related distractions. The employee may not conduct in-person business meetings at the telework site.

Equipment, Supplies, & Workspace

The employee will work with HR and IT to ensure that the employee is using a college-owned and managed computer, soft phone and connects to networked resources using prescribed methods such as Remote Desktop or VPN depending on the nature of the work performed. The employee is responsible for ensuring that their telework site has sufficient network capacity to support the work of the position including audio/video expectations for virtual meetings.

Supplies necessary to complete work at the telework site such as paper and other office supplies, are to be obtained from the on-campus office/department. South Puget Sound Community College will not reimburse employees for purchased office supplies for the telework site that would not be purchased normally.

The employee assumes responsibility for all costs associated with teleworking other than costs referenced in the Telework Agreement. Individual tax implications, auto/homeowners insurance, losses from a fire or theft, or incidental residential utility and internet costs are the responsibility of the employee. The employee is also responsible for any office furniture needed to support a safe and ergonomic remote work environment.

The employee must maintain an in-home worksite that is reasonably free of hazards and is maintained in a safe and secure manner. The employee is liable for any injuries to third parties or family members or any damage at the in-home worksite.

South Puget Sound Community College provide worker’s compensation and liability protection as obligated by the State statutes for the employee while they are in the course of employment within the agreed upon location and defined work schedule. The College assumes no responsibility for injury to any other persons at the employee’s residence or the alternate workspace within it. The College is not liable for any activity, damages, or injury, which is not directly associated or resulting from the employee’s official job duties for which the College has no ability to exercise control.

Security

Products, documents, and other records used and/or developed while teleworking shall remain the property of and be available to South Puget Sound Community College. Confidential documents may not be taken off-campus without appropriate prior supervisor approval. The security of any restricted access or confidential materials removed from the office with appropriate approval is the responsibility of the teleworker.

The employee is required to comply with all College policies related to appropriate use, data security, data confidentiality, and hardware/software manufacturers licensing agreements. The employee will ensure their workstation is physically secured and solely used for the purposes of college work.

Telework Agreements

Regular or project specific telework that has a specified duration of time requires an approved Telework Agreement signed by the employee, the employee’s supervisor, their Vice President, and Human Resources. The Telework Agreement will set forth the specific telework schedule. Telework Agreements expire June 30 of each year or earlier if identified otherwise in the Telework Agreement. Telework Agreement extensions must be submitted if the agreement expires.

Failure to comply with the Telework Agreement will cause the immediate termination of the agreement, and may also result in corrective or disciplinary action.

Procedure Code: 
PRHMRS6819