Remote Work Guidelines

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SIU Carbondale Remote Work Guidelines

For Administrative Professional/Civil Service Employees*

Southern Illinois University Carbondale considers a remote work agreement to be a viable alternative work arrangement in cases where the individual, job, and supervisor characteristics are suited to such an arrangement, or in cases where on-campus work by university employees is not possible for some period of time. Such arrangements are not generally intended to be long term. A remote work agreement is not designed as an alternative for satisfying an employee’s dependent care or other personal responsibilities. A remote work agreement allows an employee to work from home, or other approved remote location, for all or a part of the employee’s regular workweek. Such an agreement is generally a voluntary work alternative that may be appropriate for some administrative professional or civil service employees and some jobs, but may be required by the university in the event that on-campus work by university employees is not appropriate or possible. A remote work agreement is not an entitlement or university-wide benefit, and it does not change the terms and conditions of employment with the university. The university community is best served when employees are physically present at work. However, the university recognizes that flexible work arrangements such as working remote to campus may be essential during times of pandemic or other unique situations or circumstances. Approval to work remotely may be revoked by the university at any time.

The Decision to Work Remote to Campus

Remote work can be used over an extended period of time when:

  • A pandemic or other unique situation or circumstance prevents on-campus work; or
  • The employee is recovering from some medical condition but sufficiently recovered to perform the essential requirements of the job in a remote work situation; or
  • The employee and supervisor mutually agree to situations where productivity would be enhanced; or
  • In some limited/special circumstances, work at home may be established for a position on a permanent/regular basis. Directors/deans should consult with appropriate vice chancellor and contact Human Resources for assistance prior to developing such arrangements.

The decision to offer an employee the opportunity to work remotely is generally dependent upon the judgment and discretion of the director or dean, in consultation with appropriate vice chancellor, with the review of Human Resources. However, in the event of a campus-wide disruption that prevents or severely limits on-campus work, the chancellor may implement a broader remote work program. Either an employee or a director/dean may propose a remote work arrangement. Neither the employee nor the university is required to accept a remote work arrangement.

Before entering into any remote work agreement, the director/dean, in consultation with the employee, shall evaluate the suitability of such, including but not limited to the following:

  • Employee Characteristics - the director/dean will assess the job-skills, needs and work habits of the employee, in the context of characteristics customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters. Successful remote work characteristics include the ability to work independently, organization and time management skills, self-motivation, and a results-focused orientation.
  • Job Responsibilities - the director/dean and employee will discuss job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a remote work agreement.
  • Equipment needs, workspace design considerations, and scheduling issues.

Terms and Conditions of Remote Work Agreements

All remote work agreements will be made for a set period of not more than three months as determined by the director/dean, subject to renewal at the end of the agreed upon time period. Renewal of the agreement will be based on an evaluation of the factors for an initial decision to work remote to campus and whether the employee was able to successfully complete job responsibilities while working remote to campus under the initial or subsequent remote work agreement periods.

The director/dean, in consultation with the employee, shall establish the maximum number of days the employee will work remotely each week, the work schedule the employee will customarily maintain, and the manner and frequency of communication. As a condition of being approved to work remotely, the employee agrees to be accessible by telephone or other electronic medium during the agreed upon work schedule.

Employees entering into a remote work agreement must be available for and participate in meetings in accordance with the normal demands of the job. The director/dean will ensure that on-site staff include the employee who is working remotely in meetings as appropriate, using teleconference or other electronic means. An employee working remotely may be required to report to the university workplace to attend meetings, if in the judgment of the university, such presence is necessary for business purposes.

Employees working remotely are required to comply with all University rules, policies, practices, and procedures to the same extent as if they report to their on-campus or other business location. Violation of such rules, policies, practices, and procedures may result in immediate termination of the arrangement and possible disciplinary action.

Accrual of leave benefits and requests for sick leave and vacation usage will follow the same policies and procedures as those used at the on-site work location.

The remote work option is a flexible work arrangement for university employees that can be discontinued at any time at the sole discretion of the university. An employee working under an approved remote work agreement may also be temporarily assigned full-time to his/her on-site office location as deemed necessary and appropriate by the university for business purposes.

Equipment and Supplies

While developing a remote work agreement, equipment and resource needs must be carefully assessed. In consultation with the employee and other appropriate university personnel, the dean/director will determine the equipment and communication services needs of each remote work assignment on a case-by-case basis (including hardware, software, modems, phone and data lines, facsimile equipment, photocopiers, etc.), and will make a determination regarding feasibility of providing such equipment and services. Equipment supplied by the university will be maintained by the university. Equipment supplied by the employee will be maintained by the employee. The university accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. The use and availability of university equipment may be one of the factors in determining whether to approve a remote work agreement.

Equipment supplied by the university as part of a remote work agreement is to be used for business purposes only. The employee working remotely agrees to take due care to protect the items from damage or theft. Upon termination of employment or of the remote work agreement, all university property will be returned to the University immediately.

The university will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) for successful completion of job responsibilities. The university will also reimburse the employee for all other pre-approved business-related expenses such as shipping costs, printer toner, etc. that are reasonably incurred in accordance with job responsibilities.

Work Environment

Employees approved for remote-work must ensure that they have appropriate physical space and other arrangements (e.g., dependent care) so that they are able to dedicate their full attention to job responsibilities during the agreed upon work hours.

The employee must establish an appropriate work environment at the remote work location.  The University will not be responsible for costs associated with setup or maintenance of the employee's remote work location(s), including but not limited to remodeling or lighting, or the cost of utilities or internet service that can support normal business operations. Employees are responsible for setting up a workstation designed for safe, comfortable work to their liking.

Consistent with the University’s expectations for information security that pertain to employees working on-site, remote work employees will be expected to ensure the protection of University information accessible from their home office. Steps include, but are not limited to, use of locked file cabinets, regular password maintenance, Virtual Private Network (VPN) and any other steps appropriate for the job and the environment.

Individual tax implications and other costs related to the remote work space shall be the responsibility of the employee.

Restrictions

Remote work employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to record all hours worked. Hours worked in excess of those specified per day and per workweek, in accordance with state and federal requirements will require the advance approval of the supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in the termination of the remote work agreement.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation laws may apply if the employee is injured in the course of performing official duties at the remote work location. The University is not liable for other property damage or bodily injury that results from participation in a remote work agreement.

If a remote work employee sustains injuries while at his or her home-based work location and in conjunction with regular work duties, the employee is responsible for notifying the employer of such injuries in accordance with the University’s worker's compensation procedures. The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to their work site. 

In the event of an injury, the remote work employee must:

  • Contact his/her supervisor and Human Resources to report the incident. 
  • The supervisor should notify Human Resources office about the injury and follow the directions provided.

Safety

The remote work employee will designate a certain part of the remote work locations as the area where work is to be performed. Based on descriptions of the work area, and possible remote-site inspections, a determination should be made by the supervisor that the site is adequate, both in terms of utility and safety for performance of assigned work. The remote work employee, in initial discussions with the director/dean, should be made aware that the University may deny an employee the opportunity to participate, or may rescind a remote work agreement, based on safety problems or lack of compliance with safety requirements at the remote work location. Further, the employee shall be required to allow the University to retrieve, inspect, or maintain University owned equipment, software, and supplies.

Liability

The University will not be liable for damages to an employee’s personal or real property during the course of performing his/her assigned duties and responsibilities in a remote work agreement.

The remote work employee remains liable for injuries to third persons and/or members of the employee’s family arising from the employee’s premises or other remote work location.

*Adapted from Illinois State University, University of Illinois System, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville