Staff Telecommuting Policy

Effective Date January 4, 2016
Last Updated September 23, 2016
Responsible University Officer Martha Peugh-Wade, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Policy Owner Diane Nelson, Director of Employment and Employee Relations
Policy Contacts Liliana Rojas, Employee Relations Manager

Policy Statement

For the entirety of this Staff Who Telecommute Policy, “employee” refers to a full-time or part-time USF staff member; “employee” does not refer to a USF faculty member or USF affiliate. 

Telecommuting may pose advantages for both the University and its employees, including increased productivity and performance, enhanced employee recruitment and retention, relief of on-campus space constraints, cost reduction, environmental sustainability, greater job satisfaction, and greater work-life balance. Telecommuting is not an entitlement or University-wide benefit. Although some positions may require telecommuting, it is typically a voluntary work arrangement determined by employees’ supervisors in which eligible employees fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location during regularly scheduled work hours for an indefinite or finite period. The scope of this policy covers voluntary telecommuting arrangements.

Reason for Policy

The intent of this policy is to provide procedural guidance to both employees and their supervisors when a voluntary telecommuting arrangement is requested.

Who Should Read this Policy

Employees who request a voluntary telecommuting arrangement, the President, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, and supervisors and Business Managers who supervise employees who want to telecommute. This policy is not applicable for USF faculty members or USF affiliates.

Policy Text

The University considers telecommuting to be a viable alternative work arrangement in cases where the individual employee, the job, and the supervisor are well suited to such an arrangement. Not all employees and positions are suitable for telecommuting. Suitability for telecommuting is based upon the individual employee as well as the employee’s position and is to be determined by the employee’s supervisor and approved per this policy. Informal telecommuting arrangements, such as temporarily working from home or working on the road during business travel, do not require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement. Formal telecommuting arrangements, which are long-term and/or reoccurring, require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement.

Procedures

  1. An employee in good standing who desires a telecommuting arrangement submits a written email request to their supervisor.
  2. Once requested, the manager and employee determine if the requested arrangement is informal or formal.
    a. If the requested arrangement is temporary and deemed informal, completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement is not required, but the arrangement must be documented by the supervisor.
    b. If the requested arrangement is long-term and deemed formal, the supervisor and employee must evaluate the suitability of a telecommuting arrangement, paying particular attention to the Rules and Guidelines listed in this Policy.
  3. The supervisor determines if the telecommuting request is denied or granted.
    a. If the request is denied, the employee may send another request if the employee experiences a change in job responsibilities.
    b. If the request is granted, the employee, supervisor, and supervising Vice President or Dean must prepare and sign a  Telecommuting Agreement that adheres to the Rules and Guidelines listed in this Policy.
  4. The supervisor shall send a copy of any signed agreement to Human Resources at humanresources@usfca.edu. HARD COPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

Rules and Guidelines

Job Responsibilities

  • Discuss the employee’s job responsibilities and determine if their position is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement.
  • Examples of jobs that may be suitable for telecommuting arrangements include those that have minimal face-to-face interaction, heavy data entry tasks, or specific objectives and performance standards that can be measured.
  • Examples of jobs that may not be suitable for telecommuting arrangements include those that require frequent face-to-face interaction, onsite customer support, access to onsite confidential documents, or managerial responsibilities.

Department and Employee Suitability

  • Examine the needs of the department, including frequency of meetings, department goals and projects, other departments’ schedules, and space constraints.
  • Assess the performance of the employee to ensure that the employee is in good standing and to determine if the employee’s work habits display the traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters, such as reliability, responsiveness, and the ability to work independently.

Schedule

  • Discuss and agree upon the number of telecommuting days allowed each week, the work hours and schedule that the employee will customarily maintain, and the manner and frequency of regular communication (i.e. via phone, video conferencing, and/or in person, etc.) with the supervisor and others in the department, University, vendors, etc. 
  • Telecommuters must be as accessible as their onsite counterparts during their agreed-upon regular work schedule, regardless of work location. Telecommuters may be required to work at their onsite location for meetings, events, and other situations deemed necessary by their supervisors.
  • Telecommuters may be required, at any time, to commute to their onsite work location. This is considered commute time, and telecommuters are not eligible to receive reimbursement for this travel.
  • Telecommuters may be required to forfeit use of personal offices or workstations at their onsite work location to maximize utilization of office space.

Equipment

  • • Assess the alternate work location, including workspace design and equipment needs. USF may determine the appropriate equipment needs for each telecommuting arrangement at the alternate work location on a case-by-case basis consistent with USF’s ITS policies and procedures. USF reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time.
  • When USF’s equipment is used at alternate work locations, telecommuters must exercise reasonable care for the equipment and should take appropriate action to protect the items from damage or theft. Telecommuters may be held liable for damage caused by negligence. USF equipment should be used for business purposes only and will be maintained by USF.
  • Like their onsite counterparts, telecommuters must adhere to USF’s ITS Information Security Policy.

Alternate Work Location

  • Telecommuters must establish an appropriate work environment within their alternate location for work purposes. USF is not responsible for costs associated with setup of telecommuters’ alternate office spaces, such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to alternate office spaces.
  • Hoteling, or telecommuting from a USF branch campus or other USF location, may be an option as an alternate work location. These workspaces may not be altered, and employees who use them must use USF’s equipment. Employees who wish to hotel should contact the Director of the USF branch campus or USF location for specific procedures.
  • Consistent with the ergonomics assessment available to all onsite employees, formal telecommuters can also request an ergonomics assessment at their alternate work location. Telecommuters should contact the Benefits Team at benefits@usfca.edu if they are interested in an ergonomics assessment. Ergonomic assessments are not available at hoteling spaces because other employees may use the space as well.
  • Telecommuters should not hold business visits or in-person meetings at their alternate work location unless approved by their supervisor or unless they are traveling and conducting University-business.
  • Telecommuters must take all precautions necessary to secure privileged information in their alternate work location and prevent unauthorized access to any USF system, consistent with the USF’s expectations of information asset security for employees working at any USF office. Telecommuters will be expected to ensure the protection of proprietary USF information and information accessible from their alternate work location. Please refer to USF’s ITS Information Security Policy for more information.
  • Telecommuters are responsible for notifying their employer of any injuries sustained while at their alternate work location and in conjunction with their regular work duties in accordance with USF’s workers’ compensation procedures.

Other

  • Telecommuters’ employment terms and conditions are not affected by changing to or from a telecommuting schedule.
  • Telecommuting is not a replacement for dependent care.
  • Telecommuters are solely responsible for the tax and legal implications of the use of their alternate work location for business purposes and are solely responsible for any IRS, state, and local government regulations and restrictions. If employees will be telecommuting outside of California, they must notify the following people prior to performing any services for USF outside of California (except in the case of temporary business travel of 14 days or less):
    a. Wanda Hicks, the Operations Manager for Payroll Services,
    b. Human Resources' Leave Manager, and
    c. Dominic Daher, the Director of Internal Audit and Tax Compliance.
    If telecommuters fail to contact the aforementioned prior to telecommuting from a state other than California, the University may face significant penalties; should this happen, any and all costs may be charged back to the telecommuter’s department, and the appropriate Vice President or Dean will be notified.
  • The availability of telecommuting as a flexible work arrangement for USF employees can be modified or discontinued by USF at any time. Additionally, employees or their supervisors can discontinue telecommuting arrangements at any time. Every effort will be made to give reasonable advance notice of such changes. There may be instances, however, when no notice is possible.

Related Information

Type Name and Location
USF Performance Appraisal Forms
USF Workers' Compensation Policy
USF ITS Information Security Policy
USF Employees Working Out-of-State

Definitions

Term Definition
Employee For the entirety of this policy, a full-time or part-time USF staff member; not a USF faculty member or USF affiliate.
Alternate Work Location A location other than the onsite work location from which employees telecommute (e.g. employees’ homes, hotels while traveling on University business, or one of USF's additional campuses or locations).
Hoteling When an employee telecommutes from one of USF's additional campuses or other USF location.
Telecommuting Unless mandated by the position, telecommuting is a voluntary work arrangement determined by managers in which eligible employees fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location during regularly scheduled work hours for an indefinite or finite period.
Informal Telecommuting Informal Telecommuting arrangements are short-term and temporary and do not require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement.
Formal Telecommuting Formal Telecommuting arrangements are long-term and/or recurring and require the completion of USF’s Telecommuting Agreement.
Telecommuter A USF employee who telecommutes.
Rules and Guidelines Established to ensure the effectiveness and safety of telecommuting.

Additional Contacts

Subject Contact Phone Email/URL
State Payroll Taxes Wanda Hicks, Operations Manager Payroll Services (415) 422-2832 wfhicks@usfca.edu
State Payroll Taxes Dominic Daher, Associate Vice President, Tax Compliance and Internal Audit (415) 422-5124 dldaher@usfca.edu
Workers' Compensation Coverage*
*if commuting outside of CA
Human Resources' Leave Manager (415) 422-3625 leaves@usfca.edu

Forms

Name and Location Use
Telecommuting Agreement For employees and managers to agree to a formal telecommuting arrangement in alignment with USF’s Telecommuting Policy

Responsibilities

Telecommuters

  1. Carrying out the same work duties while working at their onsite location.
  2. Being available at normal or agreed-upon work hours.
  3. If telecommuting outside of California:
    a. Notifying the Operations Manager Payroll Services to ensure that payroll taxes are appropriately withheld.
    b. Notifying the Human Resources' Leave Manager to ensure appropriate workers’ compensation coverage is activated.
    c. Notifying the Director of Internal Audit and Tax Compliance to ensure appropriate payroll tax returns are being filed in the appropriate jurisdiction(s).

Supervisors

  1. Determining whether telecommuting arrangements are appropriate for employees and the department, subject to the approval of the supervising Vice President or Dean.
  2. Determining whether telecommuting arrangements are formal or informal.
  3. Requiring employees who request a formal telecommuting arrangement to sign the Telecommuting Agreement and sending a copy of the signed agreement to Human Resources at humanresources@usfca.edu. HARD COPIES ARE NOT ACCEPTED.
  4. Setting clear expectations and regular meetings with employees to ensure their availability, schedules, communication protocols and methods, engagement, etc.
  5. Regularly evaluating telecommuters’ work performances to determine if the arrangement is still feasible.
  6. Revoking telecommuting arrangements as needed.

Vice Presidents/Deans

  1. Approve or deny any formal telecommuting agreement for their area of supervision.

Human Resources

  1. Human Resources is available to answer additional questions and to provide guidance as needed.

FAQ

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Appendices

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