To provide better student service, reduce energy used in transportation, decrease traffic congestion, decrease the need for parking and office space, and improve the work environment, St. Edward's University (SEU) supports a limited use of telecommuting by eligible employees when appropriate. Telecommuting is only suitable for a limited number of employees and/or positions, and under no circumstances must customer (internal or external) services be adversely impacted. Participation in the university’s telecommuting program is entirely at the university’s discretion. No employee has a "right" to telecommute. The appropriate Vice President will make the final decision about whether the employee's job is suitable for telecommuting and if telecommuting would benefit the university and its students.
Telecommuting is defined as work and transportation alternatives that substitute home-to-work commuting with the option of working at home, at least some of the time.
Eligible Employees are generally those administrative and support staff who completed at least six months of regular employment and who routinely work a standard workday.
An employee interested in telecommuting must discuss the request with his/her supervisor. A supervisor wishing to initiate a telecommuting arrangement must submit a written request to his/her Vice President. This proposal must address the issues included in this policy as well as describing the specific benefits that would accrue to the university, nature of the work to be performed, method/s of supervision, quality control and oversight to be employed, plans to minimize any negative impact on office, and duration and frequency of telecommuting. Finally, such a request must include a budget outlining any expenses resulting from the proposal.
A Telecommuting Agreement can not extend beyond one year. A new Agreement must be approved by the appropriate Vice President and Human Resources each year. Until a new Agreement is approved, the employee must work from campus.
The Telecommuting Agreement, available in Human Resources, must be completed by the employee and his/her supervisor, reviewed by Human Resources, and approved by the appropriate Vice President.
The supervisor or appropriate Vice President may terminate telecommuting at any time with reasonable notice, generally two weeks.
To ensure an effective, productive telecommuting program, the following guidelines apply to all employees engaged in telecommuting:
- Professionalism in terms of job responsibilities, work products, and customer or public contact will continue to follow the same high standards as currently are being met by SEU employees.
- A telecommuter's duties, obligations, and responsibilities remain unchanged.
- Telecommuters will be self-motivated, have minimal requirements for face-to-face daily supervision, and will have demonstrated conscientiousness about work time and productivity. The evaluation of employee performance will be based upon the same criteria used for employees in the university offices.
- The work of the telecommuter must be of a nature wherein face-to-face interaction is minimal or may be scheduled to permit telecommuting.
- The need for specialized material or equipment must be either minimal or flexible.
Those considering telecommuting arrangements should be aware of the following:
- Employee salary, benefits, worker's compensation, employment status, obligations and privileges including those policies in the Employee Handbook, and other employer insurance coverage shall not change due to telecommuting.
- The university assumes no responsibility for any activity, damages, or injury that is not directly associated with or resulting from the official job duties. The university specifically assumes no liability for injury to any other person, and specifically any other person who would not be in the work area if the duties were being performed at the university or standard work site.
- The university will not be responsible for operating costs, home maintenance, or other incidental expenses (utilities, cleaning services) associated with the use of the employee's residence or equipment.
- The employee is entitled to reimbursement for authorized expenses incurred while conducting business for the university, such as necessary long distance telephone calls. To receive reimbursement the telecommuting employee must submit receipts supporting the expenses within 90 days of incurrence.
- Because telecommuting is not a substitute for dependent care, telecommuters must make arrangements for dependent care during the agreed-upon work hours.
- While telecommuting, the employee must be reachable by telephone, fax, network access, and/or e-mail during agreed-upon work hours. The employee and supervisor will agree on how to handle telephone messages.
- The employee will protect university information from unauthorized disclosure or damage and will comply with the university's policy and procedure regarding public/official records. Computerized files are considered official records and shall be similarly protected.
- The employee is responsible for insuring that telecommuting does not violate any zoning laws or restrictive covenants.
Home Office: A designated work space shall be maintained by the employee that is quiet and free of distractions. The employee is responsible for keeping the work space in a clean, professional, and safe condition, with adequate lighting and ventilation. To ensure that safe working conditions exist in the alternate work site, the university retains the right to make on-site inspections of the in-home workspace without prior notice any time during agreed-upon work hours.
Work Schedule: A consistent schedule of telecommuting work hours and days is desirable for many jobs to ensure regular and predictable contact with SEU staff and others; for some positions, more flexibility in work hours and days is feasible. Specific conditions, such as work hours, will be stated in the Telecommuting Agreement. Exceptions to the work schedule will be made when an employee's presence is required for a function or activity. If an employee is non-exempt, overtime hours for work at home must be specifically pre-approved by the telecommuter's supervisor.
Supplies and Equipment: Office supplies will be provided by SEU. Out-of-pocket expenses for supplies normally available in the office will not be reimbursed. Any arrangements for office furniture will be made between the employee and the supervisor with the approval of the appropriate Vice President.
The following conditions shall apply to use of computers, software, and other university equipment:
- Usually, the employee will provide and maintain the office furniture, computer and related equipment, and the university will provide and maintain the software. Any arrangement for the university to provide equipment will be outlined in the Telecommuting Agreement.
- University equipment in the home office may not be used for personal purposes; and university-owned software shall not be duplicated.
- Employees must comply with all technology and information policies
- A computer used for university business must be plugged into a surge protector and maintain current virus protection.
- Restricted-access materials shall not be taken out of the office or accessed through the computer unless approved in advance by the supervisor.
- Unless otherwise agreed to in writing prior to any loss, damage, or wear, SEU does not assume liability for loss, damage, or wear of employee-owned equipment.
- Employees must save all work to the university's server immediately if possible; otherwise, employees must transfer/back up all university work from home computer to SEU server no less often than weekly, immediately prior to service separation and/or within four working hours of a verbal or written request made by the employee's supervisor.