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Telecommuting for UW-Green Bay Employees

The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay is committed to supporting telecommuting arrangements as much as possible when it is beneficial for both the employee and the institution.

As part of an evolving workforce management strategy, and reflective of both the labor marketplace and an interest in maximizing operational efficiency, UW Green Bay seeks to expand opportunities for flexible working arrangements for our employees. Telecommuting provides greater flexibility to employees in balancing work and personal obligations, allows for creative space allocation on the campuses, and may improve employee satisfaction and retention rates.

 

Applicable Policies

What is Telecommuting?

The UW System defines telecommuting as “An employment arrangement in which an employee performs their job functions from an approved alternate worksite other than the employee’s primary headquarters location (main office), one or more days per month on a standard and recurring basis.” 

Telecommuting is not an employee entitlement. Telecommuting agreements are approved on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the employee’s supervisor consistent with the student-focused mission of the university and the needs of the respective unit/department.

Telecommuting Options

Intermittent Telecommuting: An unplanned period of telecommuting arising out of transient and specific circumstances (e.g. illness, weather emergency, temporary school closure, etc.) lasting no longer than ten business days. Intermittent Telecommuting is permitted for an eligible employee without a formal written agreement upon the mutual consent of the employee and their supervisor.

Continuous Telecommuting: An arrangement for continuous part-time or full-time telecommuting lasting at least two weeks in length and subject to at least an annual review. Continuous Telecommuting arrangements must utilize the Telecommuting Agreement and the agreement must be approved by the supervisor.

 

Telecommuting Request and Approval Process 

Any non-instructional employee that wants to request the ability to telecommute on a continuous basis is required to follow the process outlined below, even if they had a previous agreement on file using the old forms.

1. Discuss your interest with your supervisor or department chair. This discussion is an important first step in understanding if the ability to telecommute exists based on the position you hold. This also allows for both the employee and their supervisor or department chair to understand what the mutual needs and expectations are. 

2. Complete the request form via the My UW System portal. Please review this tipsheet on how to complete the new form.

3. Supervisor approves the request. Please review this tipsheet on how to approve a request using the new form

4. After the telecommuting request is approved, complete the Telecommuting Asset Checkout Form for supervisor review and approval. 
 

Who is eligible to telecommute? 


The following criteria must be met in order to be eligible to telecommute:  

  1. The employee’s job duties (as documented in their position description) can be fulfilled from a remote location.
  2. The work unit and institution have the ability to monitor or measure the work product produced by the employee during the period of telecommuting.
  3. The employee has all tools required for their job available to them at the remote location, as determined by the employee’s supervisor.
  4. The employee can certify that their remote workspace meets minimum safety requirements.

Can my supervisor decide to cancel or modify my telecommuting agreement? 


Yes, supervisors have the ability to cancel or modify arrangements. Changes may be initiated due to changes in operational need, staffing changes, performance concerns or other factors. When a change is needed, the supervisor should give the employee as must notice as possible in order to allow for appropriate planning by the employee.  

Can employees telecommute from outside of the state?  


Employees are generally expected to work within the state of Wisconsin. Employees may have a work location outside of Wisconsin when required by the job or in limited circumstances where employees receive advance approval to work out-of-state.  

A department must first have approval from their division leadership, Human Resources, and the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Policy & Compliance before allowing an existing employee to regularly perform their assigned duties from an out-of-state telecommuting location.  

Important considerations, and sometimes limitations, exist when considering out-of-state employment such as: 

  • Worker’s compensation  
  • Unemployment insurance 
  • Out-of-state tax withholding  
  • Health insurance & benefit impacts 

Are faculty and instructional academic staff (IAS) required to complete the telecommuting form?


Faculty and instructional academic staff (IAS) inherently have significant flexibility in work arrangements due to their primary job responsibilities of teaching, scholarship, and/or service. Therefore, a telecommuting agreement is only necessary for faculty and IAS if an employee-generated request for extraordinary time working off-campus is being made outside of the norm for the academic unit. Faculty and IAS are still responsible for ensuring the Telecommuting Expectations (as outlined in the UW-Green Bay Telecommuting Policy) are met when working at an alternative site.

How do I request a Reasonable Accommodation related to telecommuting? 

It is the employee’s obligation to inform their employer of the need for accommodation due to medical condition(s).

UW-Green Bay Disability Accomodations Website

Employees can request accommodations through the Office of Human Resources and Workforce Diversity by using the Request for Reasonable Accommodation. If an employee prefers, they may also call to schedule an appointment the ADA Coordinator to discuss their request.

Human Resources may ask questions or seek medical documentation to assess whether the employee has a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), as well as if the disability can be reasonably accommodated.

There may be circumstances in which providing reasonable accommodation or alternate work arrangements are not feasible. Employees without approved accommodations are expected to report to work as required by their manager/supervisor.

Can employees work from home with children present that they are caregiving for?

It is important to remember that regardless of where the work is occurring, the employee would be subject to the policies and procedures that guidance workplace conduct.  No matter whether an employee is telecommuting or working on campus, the Children in the Workplace Policy still applies. While there may be a few differences based upon work location, similar to when working on campus, and in accordance with the Children in the Workplace Policy, telecommuting should not be used on a regular basis in lieu of childcare.

How does an employee "certify" that their remote workspace meets minimum safety (or other) requirements?

Employees will be certifying that their remote workspace meets safety and ergonomic requirements in the Telecommuting Agreement.  The rationale for this pertains the application of worker compensation and workplace safety requirements regardless of the location of the work being performed.  As the employer, UW-Green Bay remains responsible for the safety of the work environment, so the employee will need to confirm that they believe the environment is safe.  Obviously, a direct inspection of these areas may not be practical or all, but for certain functions more extensive review may need to occur.  For example, if remote work is permitted for someone who may have access to confidential information or financial transaction records, greater assessment may be necessary.  

Can a student employee be approved for remote work?

As an institution, the oversight of remote work is happening at the level of the supervisor for professional employees. For student employees, the institution opens itself up to even more significant liability related to confidentiality of records, location of work activities (i.e. more may be out of state), and risk (i.e. worker’s compensation, safety of work environment, etc.). In addition, student employment opportunities on campus are meant to be high-impact experiences to help support student development. Because of this, it is the strong recommendation that student employees are not telecommuting. 
 
That said, it is understood that there may need to be a bit of flexibility for specific and unique positions so long as there is far greater review of the reasonable ability to remote work. And so, if the following three items are completed the student may be able to telecommute:

  1. A written supervisory plan must be drafted to include the student’s job responsibilities, justification of the ability to work remotely given those job functions, specific hours of work, how the supervisor will ensure accountability (i.e. check-in and out, workload meetings, documented work product, etc.), and how any confidential records will be managed and secured (noting specifically, what the work environment will be in terms of exclusivity of space (i.e. not shared access for third parties); adherence to IT security protocols when accessing remotely; and the ability securely maintain confidentiality in the transfer of data and other information).  
  2. The Area Leader (Vice Chancellor or Chancellor) overseeing the applicable division must approve the specific supervisory plan in writing (email is fine) prior to the start of the telecommuting agreement. Once Human Resources receives a copy of the supervisory plan and approval, the student employee's record will be updated to allow the student to submit the online telecommuting agreement.
  3. The student would complete (and supervisor approve) the online telecommuting agreement (consistent with the process for professional staff).