Proposed HR-XX

HR-XX Telework Policy

The proposed new HR-XX Telework Policy is below. After reviewing the proposed changes you may submit comments through the form at the bottom of the page.

Policy Type: Human Resources
Policy Title: Telework Policy
Policy Number: HR-XX

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Purpose:

Green River College (GRC) encourages and supports telework in order to maintain a culture of mobility and flexibility, meet employees where they are strongest, promote a positive work-life balance, reduce wear on State infrastructure like roads and costs for College utilities, provide continuity of operations during worksite disruptions, and increase administrative efficiencies.

Scope:

Classified, Classified Non-Represented, and Exempt Employees

Definitions:

Telework

  • Working at an alternate worksite such as a residence or any other location that is not one of GRC’s official campuses.

Telework Agreement

  • A formal accord between the College and an employee to specify consistent, long term telework conditions for that employee.

Telework Arrangement

  • Occasional or short-term telework, frequently driven by some exigent circumstance for either the employee or the College, arranged between an employee and their supervisor.

Policy:

A Telework Agreement is required when the remote work is expected to occur regularly and/or exceed one academic quarter and is documented using a College Telework Agreement Form. The terms of the Agreement are unique to each employee and can specify telework intervals from one day a month up to full-time telework. Requests for less frequent telework should be governed using a Telework Arrangement. Telework Agreements have a term up to one year and should be reviewed prior to expiration. A Telework Agreement can be terminated by the employee, or the College at any time with justification. Termination, non-renewal, or non-issuance of a Telework Agreement may be appealed through the appropriate Union or HR directly as is relevant to the specific employee by either employee or supervisor.

Telework Arrangements are informal and confirmed between an employee and supervisor. They are invoked when the term of telework is intermittent or expected to be less than one academic quarter. An employee who has already entered into a part-time Telework Agreement may also enter a Telework Arrangement if short-term circumstances require it.

All Telework Agreements must be signed, physically or electronically, by an employee and their supervisor. All requests for 100% telework must also be approved by the Appointing Authority and Human Resources. Telework Eligibility.

The availability of a Telework Agreement is dependent on the suitability of a position’s job duties for telework, as well as the employee, manager/department, and College’s readiness to take on the alternate work modality.

Suitability of Position Duties

A position’s suitability for telework is based primarily on the requirements of the essential job duties it encompasses as defined by the Position Description. Positions are evaluated for telework suitability at the department level. Generally, positions with the same or similar sets of duties should be classified with the same telework eligibility. Some common criteria shared by telework-suitable positions include (but are not limited to):

  • Ability for communication to be performed via multiple media with colleagues, supervisors, students, or the public,
  • Some or all work activities can be performed effectively at any location, and
  • No dependency on data or equipment located at a specific College site for some or all duties.

A position that does not support fulltime telework because some duties do have a dependency on face-to-face interaction or equipment at a specific site may still support part-time, regular telework. Many positions have correspondence, data processing, documentation, training, professional development, or other duties that can be performed via telework at least some of the time.

As Position Descriptions are initially created or examined as a part of a standard performance review, they should be evaluated for telework readiness even if no request for a Telework Agreement has been made.

To evaluate the suitability of a position, a supervisor will examine the position duties as specified in the Position Description according to, but not limited by, the above criteria. When evaluating a position with an employee currently occupying it, the evaluation will take place in consultation with the employee. Information about the position’s suitability must be sent to Human Resources to update the Position Description on file.

Employee Readiness

An employee’s readiness for telework is evaluated separately from and in addition to the position’s suitability. As the nature of the way work is performed may differ in a telework environment, additional professional or skill development may be necessary to ensure the employee is still able to perform the duties of the position. Such skill development or training will be provided by the college. An employee’s readiness will be evaluated in consultation with the employee. When evaluating a request for a Telework Agreement, supervisors will consider factors including but not limited to:

  • The employee’s record of satisfactory performance
  • The employee’s record of required training and policy compliance as indicated in the current Telework Agreement template
  • The employee’s ability to:
    • Accomplish job duties with minimal supervision
    • Be organized, highly disciplined, and self-motivated
    • Communicate effectively with clients, stakeholders, and team members
    • Prioritize work to meet deadlines
    • Manage time effectively
    • Maintain availability during work hours

Expectations for timely completion of work to established standards, attendance at meetings, responsiveness to students/clients/customers, and other performance criteria are the same for teleworking and non-teleworking employees.

Manager/Department Readiness

Maximizing the success of a Telework Agreement may also require some changes to existing managerial or departmental processes. It is important to evaluate current workflows and practices to see if updates are necessary to ensure the team continues to meet its objectives with implementation of the Telework Agreement. This could include alterations like rescheduling regular in-person meetings to a virtual format or increasing the use of electronic communication technologies like text chat/video or voice calls/email.

A department must still be able to provide all necessary services regardless of the number of employees engaged in Telework Agreements or Arrangements. It is important to ensure that telework schedules overlap in such a way that any onsite needs, scheduled or ad-hoc, can still be met.

Supervisors will apply the same performance standards to employees regardless of work location.

College Readiness

If an employee wishes to enter into a Telework Agreement but lacks training on any relevant College technologies or processes, the College will provide such training on such a timeline that the lack of training does not present a barrier to the acceptance of the Agreement.

Telework Guidelines

Remote Work Site

A teleworking employee is responsible for providing a workspace that is safe, appropriate to work in, and enables securing any College information or assets necessary for telework. Green River College assumes no responsibility for the teleworker’s expenses related to internet service, utilities, security, insurance, or wear on personal residence or other remote work site. The work site an employee reports to when not teleworking constitutes their primary work site.

Furnishing Equipment

On engagement of a Telework Agreement or Arrangement, the employee and supervisor will determine if the College will issue necessary equipment or if the employee already possesses the required equipment. Telework Agreements or Arrangements will not typically result in the duplication of office equipment unless required by a specific business need.

Green River College will be responsible for the service and maintenance of College-owned equipment and an individual teleworker will be responsible for the service and maintenance of their own equipment. GRC cannot support or provide troubleshooting for a personal internet connection. GRC advises strongly against printing any College information or documents at a remote worksite and will not assist with connecting personal printers to College teleworking hardware, nor issue a College printer for the purposes of printing at a remote worksite. College owned equipment used for teleworking must be returned at the end of the teleworking period.

Policies, Rules, and Agreements

Neither a Telework Agreement nor a Telework Arrangement changes conditions of employment, expectations of the position, or required compliance with College policies and procedures, relevant laws and regulations, and Collective Bargaining Agreements, including but not limited to policies regarding confidentiality of information, use of State assets, ethics, and performance.

Schedules and Timekeeping

Requirements for in-person attendance to specific events (such as an important training) can override regular telework work schedules. Changes to an agreed upon telework schedule require advance notice. The terms of such notice will be in accordance with College policies and procedures, relevant laws and regulations, and Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Employees and managers are required to comply with all timekeeping and overtime regulations defined by state or federal law, collective bargaining agreements, or Green River College policy. Overtime eligible employees must receive approval from their management to work overtime. Managers must ensure accurate recording of hours worked. For employees who are represented by a union, refer to the applicable contract language addressing hours of work, overtime, and scheduling. All time off and leave provisions under applicable policy, or the collective bargaining agreement for represented employees, continue to apply under a Telework Agreement or Arrangement.

Telework and Dependent Care

Telework generally should not be used to provide active care for a child or other dependent.

Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation

Employee requests to telework as a reasonable accommodation are handled through the interactive reasonable accommodation process. Employees should direct questions about reasonable accommodation-related telework requests to the Benefits office

Telework and Suspended Operations/Essential Employees

In the event of a Suspended Operations declaration, refer to the guidance given in the Suspended Operations notification. The WFSE CBA is linked here for further information

Telework and Benefits

Employees residing outside the state of Washington are responsible to verify, file and pay their own state-specific payroll and income taxes. Employees should check with their tax advisor for additional information.

Employees residing outside the state of Washington are responsible to ensure that their health plan is available in their state of residence and to review coverage amounts for specific services. Employees should contact their health plan directly for more information. Plan information is available a PEBB Link

Procedure:

Telework Agreement Request Procedure
Making the Request

A Telework Agreement may be requested by an employee for themselves, or a supervisor for a specific employee. An employee who wishes to enter a Telework Agreement will reach out to their supervisor to begin the request process. A supervisor who wishes to engage in an Agreement with an employee must reach out to that employee about the circumstances prompting the Telework Agreement.

Reviewing the Request

Once the supervisor has received or initiated the request for a Telework Agreement, if the position has not yet been evaluated, it should be evaluated promptly, and the Position Description updated.

If the position is or was previously determined to be suitable, the employee and supervisor will again work together to confirm the employee’s suitability for the Agreement based on the above criteria.

Once the position and employee have been approved for telework, the supervisor will review departmental processes and update them where necessary.

Denial of a request for a Telework Agreement will include specific documentation of which of the above criteria are not met, and remediations to undertake by the employee, supervisor, and/or College that will allow the request to be granted in the future whenever possible.

Documenting the Telework Agreement

Once all approvals have been completed and all necessary adjustments made, the supervisor and employee will together complete a Telework Agreement Form, available from Human Resources. The Agreement Form will codify, at minimum:

  • A work schedule
  • The location of the remote worksite
  • Any specific exceptions to the Agreement schedule requiring in-person attendance that are known in advance
  • Approval by the employee and supervisor
  • For 100% remote Agreements, approval by Appointing Authority and Human Resources is required
  • Appendix: A list of equipment checked out to the employee for telework use, if any
    • Any State-tagged equipment must be specifically reported


Specific Authority:

NA

Law Implemented:

NA

History of Policy or Procedure

Draft Date: March 2022

Policy Adopted: TBD

Procedure Adopted: TBD

Policy Revised: N/A

Procedure Revised: N/A

Reviewed By:

Contact: Mark Brunke, Senior Director of Human Resources, ext. 3350

Executive Team Sponsor: Mark Brunke, Senior Director of Human Resources, ext. 3350

Submit Comments

If you would like to provide any feedback or comments on the proposed policy above, please complete the form below by June 18, 2022.