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Human Resources

Human Resources

Policies and Procedures

General Telecommuting for Staff

Updated 2/28/13

Purpose

Telecommuting is a workplace arrangement where supervisors with the approval of the appropriate Dean or Vice President agree to allow an employee to perform all assigned duties at home as an alternative work arrangement during an emergency closure. Every effort must be made to perform work assignments on campus. In the event this is not feasible telecommuting may be pursued.

Employee Eligibility

1. Employees must be employed by the College for at least twelve (12) continuous months.

2. Employees must exhibit above-average job performance to be considered.

Procedure

Under normal operating circumstances, the employee or supervisor with approval from appropriate Dean or Vice President may initiate the request to telecommute. Individuals requesting to telecommute will be evaluated according to specific criteria. The employee and the employee’s supervisor or manager, with the assistance of the Human Resources Specialist and the Director of Information Technology, will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement by completing a Telecommuting Request Form paying particular attention to the following areas:

1. Employee Suitability - the employee and manager will assess the needs and work habits of the employee, in relation to traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters.

2. Job Responsibilities - the employee and manager will discuss the job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement.

3. Equipment needs, work space design considerations and scheduling issues will be evaluated.

Consistent with the College’s expectations of information and asset security for employees working at the office full-time, telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary College and student information accessible from their home office. Steps include, but are not limited to, use of locked file cabinets, disk boxes and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other steps appropriate for the job and the environment.

The employee must establish an appropriate work environment within his/her home for work purposes. The College will not be responsible for costs associated with initial setup of the employee's home office such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor will it be responsible for repairs or modifications to the home office space. Depending on the job duties, the work environment should include a high-speed internet connection. Configuration and maintenance of the cable modem and any related routers will be the employee’s responsibility in conjunction with the service provider and/or vendor.

2. Access into the college systems will be through a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network). It is suggested that the computing equipment used to perform work meets minimum requirements as outlined on the ITS Support web page including installation and upkeep of necessary virus protection software.

3. Each individual department may, within its sole discretion and after consultation with CFO (for budget approval), provide to the commuter employee certain equipment such as computer hardware and software deemed necessary to perform assigned work off-site.

4. It is understood that such equipment is the sole and exclusive property of the College and is subject to the same business use restrictions as if it were on-site. The Employee will not move the equipment from the designated work area, except as may be necessary to be able to perform job related functions following a hurricane evacuation or as deemed necessary by the College. Employee shall be liable for the condition of the equipment, except for normal wear and tear, and for damages caused by unauthorized use of such equipment.

5. Injuries sustained by employee while at his/her home work location and in conjunction with his/her regular work duties are covered by the College’s workers' compensation policy. Telecommuting employee is responsible for notifying the employer of such injuries in accordance with Eckerd College worker's compensation procedures. The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to his/her work site.

6. The security of College property in the employee’s home is as important as it is in the office. It is expected that reasonable precautions will be taken to protect the equipment from theft, damage or misuse. The employee is required to contact his/her homeowner’s insurance carrier to determine to what extent this property is covered under his/her homeowner’s policy.

7. The employee has the responsibility to determine tax and other legal implications for the business use of the employee’s home based on IRS and state and local government restrictions.

8. Telecommuting employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be required to record and submit all hours worked on the Eckerd College payroll web site. Hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, in accordance with state and federal requirements, will require The advance approval of the supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the immediate cessation of the telecommuting agreement.

9. An appropriate level of communication between the telecommuter and supervisor will be defined during the discussion process and will be formalized during the ninety (90) day trial period. After the conclusion of the trial period, the manager and telecommuter will communicate at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that is appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.

10. Telecommuting is not designed to be a replacement for appropriate dependent care. Although an individual employee's schedule may be modified to accommodate dependent care needs, the focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting business demands. Prospective telecommuters are encouraged to discuss these expectations of telecommuting with family members and supervisor prior to entering into a trial period.

11. Employees entering into a telecommuting agreement may be required to forfeit use of an on campus personal office or workstation in favor of a shared arrangement to maximize the College’s office space utilization.

12. The availability of telecommuting as a flexible work arrangement for employees of Eckerd College can be discontinued at any time at the discretion of the College. Every effort will be made to provide two weeks notice of such a change to accommodate commuting, and other issues that may arise from such a change. There may be instances, however, where no notice is possible.

Compensation and Benefits

Telecommuting is a management tool allowing for flexibility in work options. It does not change the basic terms and conditions of employment. The telecommuter's salary, job responsibilities, and benefits do not change as a result of telecommuting.

Definitions

1. Worker’s Compensation - Please refer to Worker’s Comp Policy (Section 1-17)

2. Employee - a regular full-time or part-time employee of the college.

3. FLSA – Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, established by the Federal Government to provide fair labor standards in employment.

II. Avian Flu or Hurricane

In the event of a widespread pandemic flu, governments will likely direct the general public to stay home in order to prevent transmission of the virus. Similarly, a hurricane event and subsequent need to close the College for recovery and repair may trigger the need to implement a telecommuting policy. In both cases, Eckerd College will identify functions that could be performed from home and direct faculty and staff to telecommute for a designated period of time. In this case, a telecommuting application is not required. Employees will be asked to sign a telecommute agreement.

1. Employees who are already telecommuting will check with their supervisors to confirm continuation of telecommuting during a pandemic outbreak or following a hurricane event that forces the College to close for a period beyond one week.

2. Employees who are deemed as essential, and are approved to work from home will be provided with the necessary equipment to telecommute, if needed.

3. Supervisors/Deans/VPs will be responsible for providing a list of employees who are approved to work from home to the office of Human Resources and to Information Technology.

4. Employees telecommuting during a pandemic outbreak or following a hurricane event will work from home or from an alternate site for a designated period of time.

5. In the event of a hurricane where the College is forced to evacuate and remain close for a period beyond a week, employees designated as critical will be requested to telecommute and perform critical functions needed to sustain the College.

6. Hourly employees approved and/or requested to telecommute will complete time sheets on-line and establish protocols with immediate supervisor for reporting completion of tasks.

7. Exempt employees telecommuting will complete leave records on line. If this feature is not yet available, leave records will be transmitted to immediate supervisor via E-mail. The supervisor will be responsible to E-Mail leave records to payroll for processing.