For University Support Staff and Administrators
PLEASE NOTE: This policy covers all requests for Alternate Work Arrangements. This provisional policy, and any approved alternate work arrangement, will be effective on a trial basis from September 9, 2023, to December 22, 2023, and January 20, 2024 to August 9, 2024, and may be revised or discontinued at any time at the sole discretion of the University.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE
The purpose of this document is to describe the University of Southern Indiana’s provisional policy and procedure for alternate work arrangements for support staff and administrators. Alternate work arrangements refer to temporary or permanent variations in where a job is performed or the work hours in which the job is performed. Due to the already flexible nature of teaching, this policy does not generally apply to faculty.
The University is implementing this provisional policy because alternative work arrangements may have the potential to lead to greater work-life balance, which in turn may lead to greater employee satisfaction, fewer unscheduled absences, increased retention, enhanced individual performance and increased business productivity. The University may offer alternate work arrangements as long as the interests of the University and employee align, productivity of the employee is maintained, and University rules, procedures and policies are followed.
This policy covers all requests for alternate work arrangements including, but not limited to: Hybrid Work (working part of the workweek on-campus and part off-campus), Compressed Workweek (e.g., 4 days a week – 9.375 hours per day), Alternate Work Schedules (e.g., 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., 5 days a week), and Temporary Alternate Work Locations (off-campus work allowed on a temporary basis). However, any alternate work arrangement sought as an accommodation for a disability under federal, or local state law will be governed by the University policy for requesting such accommodations (Human Resources should be consulted for more detail).
Arrangements for alternate work must not cause or contribute to the need for additional staff or for existing staff to perform additional duties or work additional overtime hours. Such arrangements must not adversely affect the services provided to students, or internal or external customers of the department. The quality, quantity, and timeliness of a participating employee’s work must be enhanced or maintained.
The availability of an alternate work arrangement is not intended to replace a department’s regular hours of operation. The alternate work arrangement does not change the conditions of employment or excuse compliance with University policies and procedures. The alternate work arrangement does not alter an employee’s at-will status. All existing terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to the position description, salary, benefits, vacation time, sick time, overtime, and compensatory time remain the same.
The University reserves the right to grant, deny, or modify alternate work arrangements at any time as well as discontinue or revise the policy in part or in whole.
- Regularly Assigned Place of Employment: The location on campus where an employee usually and customarily reports for work.
- Alternate Work Location(s): Approved work location(s) within 90 miles from campus other than the employee’s Regularly Assigned Place of Employment where official University business is performed.
- Work Schedule: The employee’s hours of work at the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment or off-campus at an Alternate Work Location, which should generally be consistent from week to week and must not be used to substitute for caregiving services of any kind.
- Hybrid Work: The ongoing, regularly scheduled work arrangement that allows performance of normal work duties both on-campus at the employee’s Regularly Assigned Place of Employment and off-campus at an Alternate Work Location. Hybrid Work can occur at an Alternate Work Location for up to two days per week. Your Regularly Assigned Place of Employment will remain your primary work location.
- Compressed Workweek: The scheduling of a traditional 37.5-hour work week into four days by adjusting the number of hours worked per day. This arrangement is only suitable for hourly (support) employees since exempt (administrative) employees may regularly work beyond 37.5 hours and 5 days per week. In a Compressed Workweek, the number of hours scheduled per day may not exceed 10 hours. Compressed workweek is not available during weeks that include a paid holiday.
- Alternate Work Schedules: A modified work schedule with variable arrival, departure and/or lunch times, which should generally be a consistent modification from week to week. It is typically designed to enable employees to come in earlier or leave later than the organization’s normal hours of operation. This approach enables the department to ensure necessary office coverage, customer service, and staff interactions are maintained during the core hours. Employees must take a minimum of a thirty (30) minute lunch if working six hours or more in a day.
- Temporary Alternate Work Locations: Occasional or short-term work that is approved by the supervisor on a case-by-case basis, where the hours worked remotely are not part of a previously approved, ongoing, and regular alternate work arrangement work schedule. Occasional hybrid work may be approved by the supervisor without formal documentation and there is no expectation of regularly scheduled continuance. However, any alternate work arrangement sought as an accommodation for a disability under federal, or local state law will be governed by the University policy for requesting such accommodations (Human Resources should be consulted for more detail). Your Regularly Assigned Place of Employment will remain your primary work location.
To be eligible for participation in an alternate work arrangement, an employee must hold a position which, according to their supervisor, lends itself to flexibility in location or schedule.
Positions that may be considered for alternate work arrangements are those that:
- Have job functions that can be performed at a location other than the employee’s Regularly Assigned Place of Employment without diminishing the quality of the work, disrupting the productivity of a department, or reducing student or public facing services provided by the unit.
- Do not require an employee’s presence at the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment on a daily or routine basis but does require the location to be within 90 miles of campus in the event the employee is needed on campus;
- Do not require regular face-to-face contact with students, a supervisor, other employees, members of the University community, or the public;
- Does not require routine access to information or materials that are available only at the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment;
- Allow for the employee to be as effectively supervised as they would be if the job functions were performed at the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment;
- Routinely allow for easy electronic production and/or exchange of information by means of computers or phones;
- Involve measurable or quantifiable work product; and
- Have minimal or flexible need for specialized materials or equipment available only at the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment.
The factors above are not all-inclusive and the University may consider any other factor in its sole discretion in determining the appropriateness of an alternate work arrangement.
Following the assessment of the department suitability and specific role suitability, the supervisor will assess employee performance dimensions for successful hybrid work arrangements:
- Employee must be employed in their current role for a minimum of three months of continuous employment and must have a satisfactory performance record. An alternate work arrangement during the first three months is generally inappropriate because of the need to train the employee, clarify job responsibilities, establish relationships, and assess suitability for continued employment. Vice Presidents may approve exceptions.
- Employee has a clear understanding of the position and expectations.
- Employee has consistent record of meeting or exceeding performance expectations and goal achievement. Employees struggling with performance (including punctuality, attendance, meeting deadlines, effective communication with others, etc.) will not be considered for this arrangement until such time that consistent, improved performance is demonstrated.
- Employee has demonstrated the ability to successfully perform all aspects of the role independently and with an appropriate amount of autonomy.
- Employee demonstrates effective communication skills with colleagues, students, customers, supervisors, etc. and leverages various communication tools appropriately (e.g., email, IM, Teams meetings, calls).
- NOTE: An employee’s hybrid work arrangement may impact their visa status/eligibility. Supervisors and employees must consult with Human Resources prior to committing to a hybrid work arrangement with a foreign national.
Employees working pursuant to a hybrid work arrangement, must:
- Be responsible for ensuring they have access to any resources necessary to perform any assigned activity.
- Maintain an Alternate Work Location that is safe and free of all hazards and have access to electrical outlets, a cellular network or landline phone, and dependable internet connectivity.
- Maintain a professional work setting free of non-job-related interruptions during the regularly scheduled workday. Hybrid workers must maintain a distinct separation between work activities and personal activities. Hybrid Work can occur at an Alternate Work Location for up to two days per week. Employees may not use the hybrid arrangement to substitute for caregiving services of any kind.
- Be able to complete any task assigned and ensure that confidential and/or sensitive information or data can be kept safe and secure. No confidential or proprietary information or data can be downloaded or otherwise placed or maintained on a non-University device or equipment. Be willing to securely dispose of any confidential/and or sensitive information if requested and with the prior approval of the University.
- Be available for communication and contact during the Work Schedule as they would be if working at their Regularly Assigned Place of Employment. Employees and their supervisors shall agree on how regular communications within their department shall be handled. During the agreed upon Work Schedule, it is expected that the participating employee shall be available for contact via phone, e-mail, and video conferencing. Video conferencing cameras must be turned on. Professional appearance and dress are required.
- When operational needs require, be willing to report to the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment upon request. Employees will be given as much advance notice as feasible under the circumstances. Expenses for travel to or from the University will be the responsibility of the employee and not the University.
- Understand that information or data related to University business must be disclosed or turned over to the University upon request.
- Notify and seek approval from the University prior to modifying in any way any approved alternate work arrangement.
SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONSIDERATIONS
- Upon receipt of an employee’s written request for an alternate work arrangement, the immediate supervisor must review the request to determine the employee’s eligibility and evaluate department issues/needs that may be impacted by the alternate work arrangement.
- Be responsible for confirming the employee has access to any resources necessary to perform any assigned activity when working from an Alternate Work Location.
- It is within the discretion of the immediate supervisor, the supervisor’s manager, and/or responsible Vice President, if applicable, to deny or revise the employee’s alternate work arrangement request in its entirety.
Supervisors should consider the criteria discussed above when deciding whether an alternate work arrangement is appropriate, as well as the following non-inclusive criteria:
- The level of student and/or faculty interface of the department and/or employee;
- The impact on the unit’s ability to fulfill its mission;
- Whether the productivity of the employee can be maintained;
- Whether the employee will be able to follow University rules, procedures and policies; and
- Whether the employee has demonstrated abilities to successfully organize, manage time, work independently and productively with minimal supervision;
When an employee is working pursuant to an approved alternate work arrangement, supervisors must:
- Develop a system for assessing work done by any employee on an alternate work arrangement.
- Be responsible for ensuring the employee has adequate and appropriate safeguards in place before providing the employee with access to any confidential and/or sensitive information.
- Be responsible for demonstrating employee and department productivity, including identifying and establishing key performance indicators.
- Be responsible for determining and monitoring eligibility for employee’s participation in the alternate work arrangement.
- Be responsible for maintaining optimal services and operation of their departments.
- Understand that all University policies apply to the alternate work arrangement, whether the employee is performing Hybrid Work, working a Compressed Workweek, working an Alternate Work Schedule, and/or working at Temporary Alternate Work Locations.
- Track the inventory of all University property received by the employee, and if their employment is terminated, collect all University property from the employee.
HYBRID WORK LOCATIONS
Hybrid work arrangements generally must be located within a 90-mile radius of campus. However, some hybrid arrangements that allow for a greater radius may be considered with pre-approval by Human Resources and the department Vice President. This pre-approval must be secured to ensure that the Alternate Work Location is acceptable due to tax, payroll, workers compensation, employment policies/practices, etc. and so the university can assess its ability to accurately pay and manage the hybrid worker in the state in which the employee worksite resides. Certain states such as New Jersey, New York, and California may not be approved due to significant additional administrative requirements. Out-of-country arrangements are not allowed due to export control considerations and may affect residency and/or visa status.
If an employee experiences issues at an Alternate Work Location (such as a power or internet outage), the employee must return to campus to complete their workday or take vacation time if approved by their supervisor.
The employee is ultimately responsible for any tax implications under IRS, state, and local government laws related to working from a remote office. Responsibility for fulfilling all obligations in this area rests solely with the employee.
WORKSPACE AND WORK ENVIRONMENT
USI will not be responsible for costs associated with the setup of the employee’s remote work office, such as remodeling, furniture, or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the remote office space. No University-owned furniture (chairs, desks, etc.) may be removed from the campus location for use in a remote work location.
Employees who work remotely should ensure a safe and suitable workspace appropriately private and free of distractions and interruptions that may interfere with work. Employees are expected to maintain their remote workspace in a safe manner, free from safety hazards. Injuries sustained by the employee in a remote office location in conjunction with their regular work duties may be covered by the University’s workers’ compensation policy, and consequently, employees are responsible for reporting work related injuries to the University’s Human Resources department within 24 hours. The University assumes no liability for injury at an Alternate Work Location to any third party who would not be in the work area if the duties were being performed at the Regularly Assigned Place of Employment.
The University is not liable for damages to employee-owned equipment being used as part of an alternative work arrangement. The employee is liable for any University equipment lost, stolen, or damaged, including because of negligence, misuse, or abuse.
WORK DOCUMENTATION, TIMEKEEPING, AND LEAVE
All University policies and procedures apply to employees working pursuant to alternate work arrangements.
- Participating non-exempt employees will be required to maintain accurate time accounting documentation to support their work hours and must electronically submit regular weekly time reports detailing hours worked to their supervisor. Any overtime worked should be reported but should not be incurred without prior approval from the employee’s supervisor.
- Pursuant to established procedures in the University Handbook, employees must obtain supervisory approval before taking accrued and available leave.
- Failure to accurately report all time worked may result in the termination of a hybrid work arrangement along with disciplinary action.
- Hybrid work is not intended to be used in place of sick leave, Family Medical Leave (FMLA), Workers’ Compensation leave, or other types of leave. Employees requesting medical accommodations should follow the University’s ADA request process.
EQUIPMENT AND USE
- The University supplies an employee with a single standard IT configuration which typically includes a computer (laptop or desktop) and accessories appropriate for their job requirements and work schedule. The standard desktop configuration consists of the desktop, a single monitor, wired keyboard ,mouse, and web camera. A standard laptop configuration consists of the laptop, docking station, a single monitor and a wired keyboard and mouse. For both configurations a headset will be provided. Dual monitors are available upon management approval. The University will provide only one configuration to be used either at the on-site office or at the remote office. Additional accessories above what is provided in the standard configuration will not be supplied. All University owned computer technology (laptops and desktops) purchases must be procured through or approved by the University Information Technology Department.
- Certain jobs and approved accommodations may require specialized hardware or software. If special equipment is supplied by the University, it will be maintained by the University. Equipment supplied by the employee for remote use will be maintained by the employee. University accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. Information Technology reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time.
- Employee must use only University approved software for connecting with the University’s network (VPN) from their Alternate Work Location.
- Employee is responsible for providing workspace, telephone, printing, networking and/or internet capabilities at their Alternate Work Location. Employees must maintain an internet connection that is stable and fast enough to support video conferencing, email, chat, file editing and other day-to-day work tasks. Cameras are required to be on during all video conferencing. Internet services (or stipends), phone lines, printers, cell phones, or other technology hardware for remote office are an expense of the employee.
- Employee must always run current anti-virus software and follow University security rules, copyright laws, and procedures.
- The University will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) as deemed necessary. The hybrid worker should order supplies using the normal department protocols, with supervisor approval, and should plan to periodically pick up the supplies.
- Employee agrees to protect University-owned equipment, records, and materials from unauthorized or accidental access, use, modification, destruction, or disclosure.
- Employee understands that all equipment, records, and materials provided by the University shall remain the property of the University.
The procedure for requesting an Alternate Work Arrangement varies depending on which type of arrangement the employee is seeking:
- Temporary Alternate Work Locations: Employees seeking Temporary Alternate Work Locations must make a request in writing to their immediate supervisor. Immediate supervisors have the authority to grant, modify, or deny the request. No Alternate Work Arrangement Request form is needed.
- Alternate Work Schedules and Compressed Workweek: Employees seeking Alternate Work Schedules and Compressed Workweek arrangements shall submit an Alternate Work Arrangement Request Form to their immediate supervisors. Immediate supervisors must review the request and have the authority to deny any request. If an immediate supervisor agrees with the request, then the immediate supervisor must approve the Alternate Work Arrangement Request Form and send to the Dean/Director and the Vice President for final review and approval. A Compressed Workweek is for support staff only.
- Hybrid Work: Employees seeking a Hybrid Work arrangement shall submit an Alternate Work Arrangement Request Form to their immediate supervisor. Immediate supervisors must review the request and have the authority to deny any request. If an immediate supervisor agrees with the request, then the immediate supervisor must approve the Alternate Work Arrangement Request Form and send to the Dean/Director and the Vice President for final review and approval.
The University is not liable for damages to employee-owned equipment being used as part of an Alternate Work Arrangement. The employee is liable for any University equipment lost, stolen, or damaged, including because of negligence, misuse, or abuse. The University is not liable for operating costs, home maintenance, or any other incidental costs (e.g., utilities, telephone, insurance) arising out of or relating to the employee’s alternate workplace arrangement.
- The University, including the employee’s immediate supervisor, can terminate an Alternate Work Arrangement at any time and for any reason. Where possible, supervisors should give employees advance notice of two weeks if a decision is made to terminate the arrangement; however, advance notice is not required. Refusal to return to campus will be considered a voluntary resignation of employment.
- Employees may request an Alternate Work Arrangement be terminated by providing their immediate supervisor with two weeks written notice.
- The University is not liable for any and all costs, damages, and/or losses arising out of or relating to the termination of an Alternate Work Arrangement.