Section 1: Narrative & Rationale

MICA Provisional Telework Policy Pilot Year: FY22 / AY21-22

Section 2: Provisional Policy

 

 

Purpose:

This provisional Policy applies to all MICA employees, except certain categories as defined below, and serves as the definitive resource for determinations on remote work and telework at the College.  Supplemental policies or processes may be developed for specific purposes or areas but should not contradict the provisions of this Policy.  This Policy explains how the College and supervisors will approach decisions about remote work and telework and also provides guidance on responsibilities, limitations, and expectations of employees who are candidates for remote work or telework arrangements.

 

Definitions:

 

Telework: Telework allows an employee to work from both the MICA campus and from home or another off-site location for a pre-approved length of time or on a predetermined schedule on a consistent or occasional basis. The expectation is that the employee will report to a campus location with some regularity.

Positions eligible for telework: A position that has been identified as able to fulfill the duties of the position with off-site and on-site responsibilities and presence. Both the MICA campus and an off-site location are used for a pre-approved length of time or on a predetermined schedule on a consistent or occasional basis. These positions are expected to report to a campus location physically with some regularity. Eligibility for telework will be noted in the job description.

Remote work: Remote work allows an employee to work from anywhere with little or no expectation that the employee will report to a campus location, MICA has few remote work opportunities when in normal operational mode. Remote positions will be identified as such in the job description.

 

Remote employee: A MICA employee who is approved to work from anywhere with little or no expectation that the employee will report to a campus location with any regularity.

 

Applicability:

 

This provisional Policy does not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement. All terms and conditions of employment for union represented employees are determined in negotiations between the College and the union.

 

Additionally, the provisional Policy does not apply to student employees.

 

 

Determining Appropriate Telework Agreements for Areas:

 

Because of the diversity in on-campus staffing needs between departments, during the pilot phase of the provisional Telework Policy implementation, vice presidents (VPs) will define an overall approach for their areas, ensuring that the critical services, in-person presence, and telework adoption is designed to achieve the outcomes for which that area is accountable. VPs will collaborate with their departmental associate vice presidents (AVPs), directors, and other relevant leadership to develop a set of telework eligibility recommendations to be discussed and refined with departmental staff whose input is essential.

 

While remote work and telework may be appropriate for some employees and some positions, these alternative work arrangements are not considered a campus-wide benefit, and they do not change the terms and conditions of employment. Decisions to permit or require remote or teleworking arrangements must take into account the essential duties of the position, area priorities, and institutional obligations including the need to be present for any college-wide assignments or planning activities that cannot be accomplished remotely.

 

Positions Classified as Eligible for Remote or Telework

 

Remote and telework eligibility for staff positions will be determined in the classification process and noted in the position descriptions. The primary factor to be considered in making telework eligibility decisions at the position classification level is whether the duties may be performed remotely without negatively impacting service quality or operations. Other factors include the following:

 

·      Does the job require the daily use of special equipment, facilities or other systems or tools that are not easily accessible or are not available at an offsite location?

 

·      Does the job require face-to-face engagement with faculty, staff or students on a regular basis to provide daily services that cannot be provided virtually?

 

The VPs will make the remote work or telework classification decision after consultation with their managers, supervisors and People, Belonging & Culture (PB&C). It is important to note that the classification of a position as one eligible for telework is not a guarantee that the incumbent of that position will be approved for a remote or telework arrangement.

 

 

Employee Eligibility for Remote or Telework

 

Once the classification decision is made and the position is deemed eligible for telework, the VPs and PB&C, in consultation with the area manager and employee, may determine whether the individual employee is eligible for a telework arrangement. The primary factor to be considered in that case is the employee’s ability to work independently, while meeting organizational and service goals. Circumstances that might limit an employee’s ability to telework include, but are not limited to the following:

 

·      New employee training or other performance development needs are better managed if the employee and the supervisor or trainer are physically co-located.

 

·      The employee has demonstrated a higher level of productivity when working onsite rather than in an alternate work location.

 

Once defined, individual telework agreements between employees and their departmental AVPs, directors, or other relevant leadership will be formalized by a telework agreement. VPs and PB&C will conduct the final review and approval.

 

General Expectations and Conditions:

     Remote work and telework employees will be subject to the same policies as other employees and must comply with College rules, policies, practices and instructions and understand that violation of such may result in the discontinuation of the remote work/telecommuting arrangement and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

     Employee performance, quality of work outcomes and department needs are factors in the successful continuation of telework arrangements. Telework arrangements may be discontinued by the VPs or AVPs/deans/director as employee performance and department needs are continually assessed.

     Telework employees are expected to work their normal work schedule unless they receive their supervisor's prior approval to adjust their schedule. Employees need to ensure assigned duties are completed and remain productive and responsive during their scheduled work hours.

     Telework is not intended as a solution for dependent care. It may provide the flexibility needed to manage work productivity and dependent care needs more efficiently. Any employee teleworking with dependents onsite must agree generally to have arranged dependent care during normal work hours. Flex-time arrangements remain as a potential tool for managing work and dependent care responsibilities for teleworking employees.

     Employees cannot use remote work or telework in place of sick leave, Family and Medical Leave, Workers’ Compensation leave, or other types of leave. Workers' compensation coverage is limited to designated work areas in employees' homes or alternate work locations. Employees agree to practice the same safety habits they would use in the College and to maintain safe conditions in their Primary Work Location, whether that is at home or an alternate work location. Employees must follow normal procedures for reporting illness or injury and any remote work-related injury will be investigated by MICA's workers compensation provider using the same protocols utilized for an on-campus work-related injury.

     The College is not responsible for operating costs of any personal equipment (including, but not limited to, personal computers, personal devices, cell phones, furniture), home maintenance of personal equipment.  Employees are responsible for costs for reliable internet/Wi-Fi and other incidental costs associated with the use of an employee's remote work or telecommuting arrangement. Employees using MICA computing equipment are bound to Technology policies regarding damage and replacement costs.

     Employees are expected to maintain a presence with their department/division while teleworking. Presence may be maintained by using appropriate technology including but not limited to email, messaging applications, video conferencing, instant messaging, Google Apps, and/or chat/text messaging using computers and mobile phones. The employee is expected to maintain the same response times as if they were on campus and make themselves available to attend scheduled work meetings as required and/or requested.

     Employees need to have a working telephone or mobile phone at their Primary Work Location or any remote location, whether cell phone or land line.

     Teleworking employees with a direct desk phone on campus should ensure that incoming calls to their office phone are forwarded to their Primary Work Location phone.

     Non-exempt employees must report all worked hours, including overtime, and take lunch breaks as required by law.

     Teleworking employees or remote workers with an established schedule of work must adhere to that schedule. Personal tasks and errands should only be performed during the employee's scheduled breaks.

     Remote work or telework arrangements that enhance the College’s ability to meet its basic functions without compromising these larger goals will receive positive consideration. Proposed alternative work arrangements that either hinder or conflict with the College’s priorities or obligations will be denied. Likewise, approved arrangements that no longer facilitate the College’s mission or are inconsistent with the College’s priorities may be revoked at the sole discretion of the College.

     The College may require remote work or telework if it determines that the alternative work arrangement is in the best interest of the College, permitting it to achieve goals that may not be achievable onsite or if the College is better served offsite or is able to use its resources more efficiently. Examples of circumstances that might lead the College to assign remote work, telework or on-campus presence include staffing for cyclical, project or seasonal work; or the need to accomplish work with limited space.

     Requests for telework or remote work arrangements due to a disability do not fall under the purview of this Policy. Employee disability accommodation requests are subject to an individual assessment in accordance with the College’s regular practice for making such requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Employees with questions about submitting disability accommodation requests should contact People, Belonging & Culture.

     Managers may permit occasional telework as is appropriate for employees in positions that are not regularly deemed appropriate for teleworking.

 

Employee Appeals  

 

Remote work and telecommuting decisions will be made based on fair and equitable criteria established by each division in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of this policy and the College’s policies prohibiting discrimination. Individual employees may appeal a teleworking decision in the manner described below.

 

Remote or Telework Classification Decisions

 

Any employee who disagrees with a department’s decision that their position is ineligible for remote or telework, may petition their VP for reconsideration. The petition must include the reasons for the disagreement and an explanation of how the duties of the job may be performed remotely while meeting the department’s service and organizational needs.

 

The VP’s refusal to reconsider or denial of the petition may be appealed to the VP for PB&C. The VP for PB&C makes the final decision.

 

Denial of an Employee’s Request to Telework

 

An employee who disagrees with a department/division’s denial of a request to telework or work remotely or any other action relating to this Policy is encouraged to discuss the concern with their department director or AVP. An employee may appeal the department/division’s decision to People, Belonging & Culture only if alleging that the decision violates the College’s antidiscrimination policies.

 

Nothing in this appeals process is intended to restrict an employee’s access to PB&C. Any employee with concerns or seeking advice about any term or condition of employment is encouraged to contact the PB&C services director or a member of that team.      

 

Addenda: A and B, Guidance for supervisors and employees, respectively

 

Related documents and forms in development:

·      A feedback form to facilitate community input regarding the policy

·      Telework agreement template

 

 

 

July 1, 2021

Addendum A: Guidelines for Supervisors

Addendum B: Guidelines for Employees