Owner: Human Resources
Policy regarding telecommuting. HR Policy 403.4.
To provide guidelines for circumstances when telecommuting is permitted.
This policy applies to professional staff.
The interpretation and administration of this policy shall be the responsibility of the Human Resources Officer, Human Resources.
Teachers College recognizes that telecommuting can offer a creative approach to meeting the College’s operational needs while promoting balance between work and personal life for its employees.
Telecommuting is a work-at-home or work-remotely arrangement between a TC department and its employee for at least part of the workweek on a consistent and long-term basis. Telecommuting is a privilege granted to high-performing employees whose job responsibilities are suitable to such an arrangement. During a telecommuting arrangement, the employee is not permitted to work at other jobs or to run their own business. A failure to fulfill normal TC work requirements, both qualitative and quantitative because of other employment, may be cause for disciplinary action up to and including termination of TC employment.
4.1 Eligibility for a telecommuting arrangement
Employees requesting formal telecommuting arrangements must be employed with Teachers College for a minimum of six (6) months of continuous, regular employment and must have a satisfactory performance record.
Any telecommuting arrangements will be made on a trial basis for the first three (3) months. Supervisors should review after the third and sixth month, and annually thereafter.
Except when granted in connection with a reasonable accommodation request, all telecommuting arrangements are granted on a temporary and revocable basis, and may be discontinued by the College at any time and for any reason. In the event of discontinuation, the College will provide advance notice to the employee when possible. In addition, an employee may discontinue participation in telecommuting with advance notice to the department when possible.
Situations where telecommuting may be possible include:
Situations where telecommuting should not be considered include:
4.2 Telecommuting Guidelines
Either the department or the employee may initiate a telecommuting request. When the employee initiates it, the Request for Telecommuting or Flexible Working Hours form has to be submitted and completed. The employee’s department has discretion to grant permission to engage in telecommuting. Where the employee initiates the request for telecommuting, the employee’s immediate supervisor and any additional person that the department may choose to appoint for this purpose, i.e. department head or program director must support the request.
The department will decide each telecommuting request on an individual basis. Permission to telecommute (and continue a telecommuting arrangement) is based on compliance with the below requirements:
Telecommuting employees who are classified as non-exempt (hourly paid employees) will be required to accurately record all hours worked. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per workweek require the advance approval of the supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate termination of the telecommuting agreement.
Ad Hoc Arrangements
Temporary telecommuting arrangements may be approved for circumstances such as inclement weather or special projects. These arrangements are approved on an as-needed basis only, with no expectation of ongoing continuance. Employees do not have to submit the Request for Telecommuting or Flexible Working Hours Form.
All informal ad hoc telecommuting arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis, focusing first on the operational needs of the department.
The employee’s department may provide or pay for equipment such as computers, printers and software) as part of the telecommuting arrangement. Employees may be expected to provide their own equipment and/or services. The employee is responsible for the safety and security of College equipment and services at the telecommuting location. This includes maintaining data security and record confidentiality to at least the same degree as when working at the primary work site. The employee may not duplicate College-owned software and will adhere to the manufacturer's licensing agreement. Employees must adhere to the College’s secure computing guidelines and procedures.
In cases where the College provides equipment, the College provides the property on loan to the employee during the telecommuting arrangement and will label and identify the property as College property.
Upon termination of the telecommuting arrangement, the employee must return the loaned equipment to the College in the same condition in which it was originally received, minus normal wear and tear. Employees are personally liable for missing or damaged equipment.
The employee should report any accident or injury occurring at the telecommuting workspace immediately to the employee’s supervisor. The College assumes no liability for property damages or injuries occurring in the employee's telecommuting workspace outside of work hours, or in any activities that are not directly related to the employee’s work responsibilities.
When an employee is telecommuting from a home workspace, that employee should consult their homeowner or renter’s insurance policy to determine whether injuries arising out of, or relating to, the business use of the home are covered under the policy. Employees who live in rented property should be aware that their rental lease may not permit business use of the premises.
It is the employee’s responsibility to determine any income tax implications of maintaining a home or remote workspace. The College will not provide tax guidance nor assume any additional tax liabilities. Employees should consult a qualified tax professional to discuss income tax implications.
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Updated May 2021