The purpose of this policy is to outline the program for Teleworking. This policy also includes the guidelines and rules under which it will operate at the University of North Georgia (the “University”).
Alternate Workplace: A worksite other than the employee’s usual and customary worksite (Primary Workplace). The Alternate Workplace is typically the employee’s home.
- Eligible Employee: An employee, in an Eligible Position as designated by Human Resources, who has been identified by the employee’s supervisor as satisfactorily meeting performance standards, terms, and conditions of employment of their position. The employee shall have no active formal disciplinary actions on file for the current or immediately preceding review period.
- Eligible Position: A position having measurable quantitative or qualitative results-oriented standards of performance that is structured to be performed during a work period that may vary from the core work hours established for a department or school. For Teleworking, the position must be structured to be performed independently of others and with minimal need for support and can be scheduled at least one day a pay period to participate in Teleworking without impacting service quality or organizational operations. The eligibility of a position for Teleworking may change depending on circumstances. Eligible Positions will be designated by Human Resources.
- Primary Workplace: The employee’s usual and customary workplace at the University.
- Telework or Teleworking: Working at a location other than the employee’s usual and customary workplace. (Also known as Telecommuting.)
- Teleworker: A person, who for at least one or more days in a particular pay period, works at an Alternative Workplace. A Teleworker is not a mobile worker.
- Teleworking Agreement: The signed document that outlines the understanding between the University and the employee regarding the Teleworking arrangement.
The University allows Teleworking, on a voluntary basis, to employees who fill job classifications/positions that have been designated as eligible for Teleworking by Human Resources. The Telework program is an employer option, not an employee right and is appropriate only when it results in a benefit to the University. Teleworking may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions. The University may implement Teleworking as a work option for certain Eligible Employees based on specific criteria and procedures consistently applied throughout the University.
The employee, supervisor, manager may terminate a Teleworking arrangement for any reason. A supervisor has no authority to require an employee to Telework unless it was a condition of employment or a requirement of the job description.
The Teleworker’s conditions of employment remain the same as for non-Teleworking employees. Employee salary, benefits, and employer-sponsored insurance coverage will not change as a result of Teleworking. The employee shall adhere to all policies, rules, and regulations of the University, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and State of Georgia while Teleworking. Further, an employee must have the willingness of his/her supervisor to perform the necessary supervisory responsibilities required for Teleworking. The employee agrees not to conduct personal business while in official duty status at the Alternate Workplace.
Teleworking is not a substitute for childcare or dependent care. The Teleworker shall continue to make arrangements for child or dependent care to the same extent as if the Teleworker was working at the Primary Workplace.
Teleworkers agrees to participate in studies, inquiries, reports or analyses relating to Teleworking at the University’s direction.
All Teleworkers will complete a Teleworking Agreement, available through Human Resources, prior to Teleworking. The Agreement must be reviewed and renewed at least annually by the Teleworker, supervisor and Human Resources to ensure that the guidelines for participating in the program indicate continued eligibility and are well understood.
- Managers or supervisors who choose to consider Telework for Eligible Employees shall be responsible for the following:
- Establishing expectations for and monitoring of employee performance;
- Determining if office-like space is required in the Alternate Workplace;
- Determining if equipment will be provided to the Teleworker to use at the Alternate Workplace;
- Establishing how the Teleworker will maintain regular contact with office coworkers and supervisors;
- Determining how the department will handle restricted access materials, security issues, and taking electronic or paper records from the Primary Workplace;
- Ensuring that practices are consistent and compliant with state, Board of Regents, and University policy and state and federal law in the use of technology;
- Delivering Telework training to employees;
- Ensuring that individual work schedules and reporting for non-exempt employees are in compliance with FLSA regulations and Board of Regents policy;
Ensuring that each Eligible Employee’s request to Telework is considered in relation to the department’s operating and customer needs;
- Completing a Teleworking Agreement; and
- Ensuring that employees approved for Telework record their Telework days appropriately on applicable University leave records.
- Worksite/Space, Equipment, and Supplies
- As a condition of permission to Telework, the Teleworker and supervisor or manager must verify that the Alternate Workplace used for Telework purposes are safe and suitable for purposes of the employee’s work. The department may deny an employee the opportunity to Telework if the Alternate Worksite is not conducive to productive work. The department should provide the employee a self-certification checklist, as part of the application to Telework. The checklist is necessary to reduce the University’s exposure to risk and liability and helps the employee know if his or her Alternate Workplace is conducive to productive work. (See Work Space Self-Certification Checklist and Safety Guidelines for the Telework Location form available through Human Resources.)
- An employee approved to Telework shall be responsible for setting up an appropriate work environment within his/her home. The University will not be responsible for any cost associated with the setup of an Alternate Workplace. Upon request, the University will consult with an employee on any modifications or requirements to operate University-owned equipment at the home office. An employee will be required to provide the University with a statement within ten (10) working days of the request to Telework confirming that he/she has met the reasonable standards to include health and safety requirements (including an ergonomically sound workstation) and promise to maintain it in the condition while Teleworking.
- The employee is expected to use his or her own furniture, telephone lines, and other equipment. Any use of private facilities of the employee will be at the employee’s discretion and not at the behest or expense of the University. This applies to all physical improvements and conveniences as well as services.
- Office supplies (e.g. pens and paper) shall be provided by the department and should be obtained during the Teleworker’s in-office work period.
- Employees assigned a computer or laptop may be given permission by his/her department to use such equipment for Teleworking after a Computer Issuance Agreement and Equipment Loan Agreement are signed. Contact the IT Service Desk for a Computer Issuance Agreement. An Equipment Loan Agreement is available through Logistical Services.
- Work related long distance phone calls should be planned for in-office days. At the discretion of the supervisor, expenses for business related long distance calls and cell phone calls, which must be made from a Teleworker’s home, may be reimbursed if the reasons and costs for the calls are documented. The Teleworker is responsible for the cost of maintenance, repair, and operation of personal equipment.
- Telework Schedule
- Each Teleworker shall develop a work schedule with their supervisor and the supervisor must agree in advance to any changes to the Telework schedule. Exempt employees will record Telework days on the Monthly Record of Leave to designate the time as work performed off campus under this policy. Nonexempt employees will report Telework days to their departmental time and attendance administrator to ensure that such time is accurately reported as hours worked. Non-exempt employees subject to mandatory overtime must obtain approval from their supervisor before performing overtime. A nonexempt employee working overtime without such approval may cause the department to terminate the Teleworking option and/or take other appropriate action. The employee must obtain approval in advance from his or her supervisor before taking leave during a designated Telework day.
- The employee must maintain contact with the office as specified in the work schedule, department policy, and Telework Agreement. An employee’s activities outside the time of work or outside the place designated for work will be deemed to be in the employee’s own personal time and place, unconnected with work activities.
- The employee’s home workspace when used for Telework is an extension of the department workspace. The University’s liability for job-related accidents will continue to exist during the approved work schedule and in the employee’s designated work location. The Teleworker is covered under the State’s Workers’ Compensation Law for injuries occurring in the course of the actual performance of official duties at the Alternate Workplace.
- If an injury occurs during Teleworking work hours, then the employee shall immediately report the injury to the supervisor. The employee, supervisor, and department should follow the University’s policies regarding the reporting of injuries for employees injured while at work.
- The State of Georgia and the University are not responsible for any injuries to family members, visitors, and others in the employee’s home. The Teleworker may not have business guests at the Alternate Workplace.
- To the extent permitted by law, the employee will not attempt to hold the University or the state responsible or liable for any loss or liability in any way connected to the employee’s non-work related use of his or her own home.
- The Teleworker is responsible for contacting the Teleworker’s insurance agent and a tax consultant and consulting local ordinances for information regarding home workplaces.
- Security and Access to Information
The Teleworker is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and security at the Alternate Workplace, as the Teleworker would at the Primary Workplace. The employee must protect the security and integrity of data, information, paper files, and access to University computer systems. All University policies on Information Technology and Internet and technology use apply to Teleworking, as they would in the Primary Workplace. All Teleworkers will complete IT Security Awareness Training prior to Teleworking.
- Teleworking Coordination
The University’s Telework Coordinator will serve as a liaison to departments and the Statewide Telework Coordinator. The Telework Coordinator will provide guidance and clarification to departments on Telework, act as a liaison between, including compliance with policies, procedures, and guidelines, and will report the results of Telework in the University to the Statewide Teleworker Coordinator.
University System of Georgia policy on Teleworking can be found at usg.edu
Any related operating procedures must comply with and should reference this policy.