Remote Work Policy

Policy statement

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) considers remote work to be a viable alternative work arrangement for Academic Professional and Civil Service employees in cases where individual, job, and supervisor characteristics are suited to such an arrangement. Remote work allows an employee to work at home, or other approved remote location, for a part of their regular workweek. In rare occasions, full remote work may be considered appropriate. Remote work is a voluntary work alternative that may be appropriate for some employees and some jobs. It is not an entitlement; it is not a University-wide benefit; and it does not change the terms and conditions of employment with the UIS.

Remote work can be informal, such as working from home for a short-term project or on the road during business travel, or a formal arrangement as described below. Such informal arrangements are not the focus of this policy.

Policy

The Decision to Work Remote

1. The decision to offer a remote work arrangement is dependent upon the judgment and discretion of the managing supervisor. Either an employee or a managing supervisor can suggest remote work as a possible work arrangement. Before entering into any remote work arrangement, the employee and supervisor will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement (using the Remote and Hybrid Work Agreement Feasibility Assessment form) paying particular attention to the following areas:

  • Employee Suitability – the employee and supervisor will assess the needs and work habits of the employee, compared to traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful remote workers. Successful remote work traits include the ability to work independently, organization and time management skills, self-motivation, and a results orientation.
  • Job Responsibilities – The employee and supervisor will discuss job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a remote work arrangement.
  • Resources – Equipment needs, budgetary constraints, work space design considerations, and scheduling issues.
  • Scheduling Needs of the Unit – The need and ability of the unit to maintain an on-campus presence to serve constituents.

2. Individuals requesting formal remote work arrangements, or being considered for such arrangements, must have been employed with the UIS for a minimum of 6 months, or applicable probationary period, of continuous, regular employment and must have exhibited commendable performance in all categories, in accordance with the institution’s performance appraisal process. In special circumstances, the six-month waiting period can be waived by the hiring supervisor upon consultation with Human Resources.

3. If the employee and supervisor agree to a remote work arrangement, a written remote work agreement will be prepared by the supervisor and submitted to the employee, supervisor, dean/director, division head (optional) and Human Resources for review and approval. Human Resources will notify the employee and supervisor upon approval and a copy of the remote work arrangement will be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Terms and Conditions of Remote Work Arrangements

4. All remote work arrangements will be made for a set period of time as determined by the managing supervisor, subject to renewal at the end of the agreed upon time period, but not to exceed 1 year. For initial agreements, it is recommended that the initial time period be set to a period of 90 days in which time the benefits of remote work to both the employee and employer can be assessed prior to entering into a longer-term arrangement.

5. The employee and supervisor will agree on the number of days of remote work allowed each week, the work schedule/hours the employee will customarily maintain, and the manner and frequency of communication. The employee agrees to be accessible by phone, email, Zoom, Skype or other electronic medium during the agreed upon work schedule. A pattern of unavailability, such as a lack of reliable internet access, may be grounds for denying or revoking a remote work agreement

6. The supervisor and remote worker will communicate at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that is appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.

7. Employees entering into remote work arrangements must be available for and participate in meetings in accordance with the normal demands of the job. The supervisor will ensure that on-site staff include the remote worker in meetings as appropriate, using teleconference or other electronic means. If necessitated for business purposes, remote work employees may be asked to report to the University workplace to attend meetings or to perform other job-related functions.

8. Remote work employees remain obligated to comply with all University rules, policies, practices and procedures. Violation of such rules, practices and procedures may result in immediate termination of the arrangement and possible disciplinary action.

9. 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. Employees are expected to be working during their approved schedule unless sick/vacation time usage has been approved.

10. Employees and supervisors are responsible for notifying Human Resources if an employee has qualifying conditions for Family Medical Leave while working remote.

11. A remote work agreement can be discontinued at any time at the discretion of the employer, but the reason for the discontinuation of the remote work agreement shall be documented in writing. Every effort will be made to provide 10 working days’ notice of such a change to accommodate commuting and other problems that may arise from such a change. However, the employer reserves the right to terminate the arrangement without notice if circumstances require such action. An employee can also be temporarily assigned full-time to his/her on-site office location, if necessitated by business purposes.

12. Employees entering into a remote work agreement may be required to use shared workstations and/or office accommodations when working on-site.

13. Prior to renewal of any remote work arrangement, the employee and supervisor will each complete an evaluation of the arrangement and make recommendations for continuance. Renewal and/or modifications of the arrangement are subject to the judgment and discretion of the supervisor. A new form must be submitted for review and approval as noted in paragraph 3 upon expiration of an existing agreement if the remote work arrangement is to continue.

Performance Evaluation

14. Evaluation of remote worker performance will be consistent with that received by employees working on-site at the office in both content and frequency but will focus on work output and completion of objectives rather than attendance-based performance. Evaluation methods will include frequent interaction by phone and/or e-mail between the employee and the supervisor, and regular face-to-face meetings to assess work progress and discuss problem areas. Expected outputs will be documented at regular intervals to ensure that they are mutually understood by the employee and his or her supervisor.

Equipment and Supplies

15. The managing supervisor will determine, with information supplied by the employee and others involved, the appropriate equipment and communication services needs for each remote work arrangement on a case-by-case basis and should be documented in the remote work agreement.

Equipment supplied by the organization will be maintained by the organization. Equipment supplied by the employee will be maintained by the employee. The University accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. In the event University equipment is damaged or quits working during the remote work arrangement, the employee is responsible for notifying their unit as soon as possible. In some instances, this may result in the need for the employee to work their regular work schedule on campus while the issue is being resolved. Examples may include internet outages, damaged computers or other issues that prohibit the employee from performing their university responsibilities remotely.

Equipment supplied by the organization is to be used for business purposes only. The employee and employing department will complete the Equipment Loan to Students and Employees form for University equipment to be used in the remote work arrangement. A copy of the appropriate form signed by both the employee and supervisor shall be retained in the department. The remote worker agrees to take due care to protect the items from damage or theft. Upon termination of employment or of the remote work arrangement, all University property will be returned to the University.

16. The University will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) for successful completion of job responsibilities. The organization will also reimburse the employee for all other pre-approved business-related expenses such as shipping costs, etc. that are reasonably incurred in accordance with job responsibilities but this does not include paying for internet access/usage or upgrades for the remote site.

Work Environment

17. Remote work is not designed as an alternative for satisfying an employee’s dependent care responsibilities. Prospective remote workers are expected to discuss expectations of remote work with family members prior to entering into an agreement, and to establish dependent care arrangements that will not interfere with work completion.

18. In the event the remote work arrangement involves use of the employee’s home, the employee will establish an appropriate work environment within their home for work purposes. The University will not be responsible for costs associated with initial setup of the employee’s home office such as remodeling or lighting, or the cost of utilities. Employees will be offered appropriate assistance in setting up a workstation designed for safe, comfortable work. The University reserves the right to inspect the employee’s home work site for conformance with minimal work place requirements including possible work hazards and to suggest modifications.

19. Injuries sustained by the employee while at their home-based work location and in conjunction with their regular work duties are normally covered by the University’s workers’ compensation policy. Remote work employees are responsible for notifying the employer of such injuries in accordance with organization’s worker’s compensation procedures. The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by non-university employees/visitors to their remote work site. (See Workers’ Compensation Addendum below.)

20. Consistent with applicable Information Technology and other campus and System policies regarding information asset security for employees working at the office full-time, remote work employees are 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 and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other steps appropriate for the job and the environment.

21. Individual tax implications related to the home-based work space shall be the responsibility of the remote work employee.

Restrictions

22. 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 in a manner designated by the organization. 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 cessation of the remote work agreement and other employment action.

23. The University shall fulfill its duties and obligations under state labor laws with respect to remote work agreements for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Date approval recommended by Chancellor’s Cabinet: 06/29/2021
Date approved by Chancellor: 06/29/2021
Effective date: 08/16/2021

Link to Remote Work Policy pdf

ADDENDUM – WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

The University will provide benefits in accordance with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Illinois Occupational Disease Act.

Supervisors shall have the responsibility to inform all employees, including those who may participate in remote work arrangements, of their rights and responsibilities under coverage of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Illinois Occupational Disease Act. Such information shall include providing employees with specific instructions about what to do in case of an on the job accident or injury. The employee shall be informed of the requirement for prompt notification of accident or injury to the supervisor and of designated medical facilities where treatment is provided.

The injury on the job of a remote work employee is treated the same as an on the job injury to any other employee while in the course and scope of employment. If the employee is working at home or another approved off-site location, the term “course and scope of employment” is limited to the hours and location described in the remote work agreement. The employees’ home work location is an extension of his/her office or primary work site. Injuries occurring in the off-site location during agreed upon work hours are covered under workers’ compensation, just as an injury would be if it occurred at the on-site work location.

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

  1. Immediately contact his/her supervisor to report the incident.
  2. The manager/supervisor should notify Human Resources Office and campus Safety Officer about injury.
  3. The employee should complete the University of Illinois Employee’s Injury Report Form (link under item ‘b’ below) and return it to the UA Employee Relations and Human Resources Office.
  4. The employee should promptly seek medical care and follow the campus-specific guidelines provided under the Workers’ Compensation links below:
    1. General Workers’ Comp information
    2. Injury reporting forms
    3. Workers’ Compensation Policies

Questions about work-related injuries should be directed to the Office of Claims Management and Workers’ Compensation, 449 Henry Administration Building, MC300, 506 S. Wright St., Urbana, IL 61801, Phone 217.333.1080, Fax 217.244.5152.

SAFETY

The participant will designate a certain part of the home as the area where work is to be performed. Based on descriptions of the work area, and possible review of on-site accommodations, 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 and installation and use of equipment. The participant, in initial discussions with the supervisor, should be made aware that:

  1. Management may deny an employee the opportunity to participate or may rescind a remote work arrangement based on safety problems or lack of compliance with safety requirements in the home.
  2. During the specified time periods of work, with appropriate notice, the University may make on-site visits to the off-site workplace to determine if the work site is safe and free from hazards, and to maintain, inspect or retrieve 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 arrangement.
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.