Telework Policy of the Massachusetts Community College System

 

I. INTRODUCTION 1

The Community College System permits, in each College’s sole discretion, the creation of  telework opportunities for employees. 

This Policy establishes the guidelines for the Colleges regarding the allowance for – and the  boundaries of – teleworking applicable to employees. 

Each College may choose to supplement but not supplant this Policy. 

II. GENERAL PARAMETERS AND PRINCIPLES  

Approval of an individual telework arrangement is at the sole discretion of the College. Telework does not change an employee’s job duties or an employee’s scheduled work hours.  Telework employees may not perform any other non-work duties while teleworking from home. 

Employees shall recognize that they may need to report on-site on a day otherwise scheduled for  telework at the directive of their supervisor or if any assignment requires them to be in-person. 

Employees shall comply with all applicable College policies and procedures and also any  applicable department-specific rules and procedures during all scheduled telework hours. 

As initiated by an employee request, telework arrangements will be considered on a rolling basis for a period up to six months, but must be renewed prior to January 1 and July 1 each year. An  employee must submit a request twenty-one (21) days prior to January 1 and July 1 of each year  in order for the College to again consider the telework arrangement request going forward.  Otherwise, the telework arrangement will terminate on each January 1/July 1, whichever occurs  first.  

III. PROCEDURES 

Unless otherwise expressly stated by the College’s Human Resources Department, an employee  must submit to their supervisor (copying Human Resources) a completed version of the attached  “Application Form” at least twenty-one (21) days prior to the requested date to begin teleworking.  The request shall include at a minimum: the employee’s name, title, email, telephone number, and 

on-site work location; reason for the request; their supervisor’s name; the requested telework  schedule, and anticipated start and stop dates. An employee requesting telework as a reasonable  accommodation for a disability shall submit their written request with supporting documentation  to the College’s ADA Coordinator.  

Within ten (10) days of receipt of the completed Application Form, a supervisor, in consultation  with Human Resources, must either approve, modify and approve, or deny the application and  place the decision in the employee’s personnel file. An approved application shall include the  approved telework schedule as determined by the supervisor, including an approved schedule that may be modified from the one requested by the employee. If the request is denied because it lacks  sufficient information, the employee may resubmit the Application Form, thereby restarting the  ten (10) day review period. Otherwise, the decision made is final.  

In reviewing an application, supervisors, in consultation with Human Resources, shall document  their considerations on each of the following factors: 

  • The College’s current and anticipated operational needs and ability to avoid  disruption and maintain productivity; 
  • Their ability to supervise the employee adequately;  
  • The nature of the work and the ability to perform it via telework either on a fixed  or varying schedule;  
  • The employee’s recent performance history, ability to be organized and  consistently meet or exceed deadlines; and 
  • Any increased costs or burden on behalf of the College. 

Where a supervisor, in consultation with Human Resources, approves an employee for telework,  Human Resources and the supervisor shall communicate the decision to the employee in writing.  Colleges may choose to use the attached “Approval Form” for this purpose; however, regardless, said communication shall include, at a minimum, a copy of this Policy, and the following details: 

  • Whether it is a fixed weekly schedule or a varying schedule; 
  • Employee recognizes that they may need to report on-site on a day otherwise scheduled for telework at the directive of their supervisor or if any assignment requires them to be in-person; 
  • That the arrangement terminates on or before January 1 and July 1 of each year,  requiring a renewed request at least twenty-one (21) days prior to said date(s),  whichever occurs first; 
  • Employees accept the terms of this Policy and shall continue to comply with all  other applicable policies, practices and procedures of the College and the  employee’s department during all telework; and 
  • Supervisor may revoke authorization to telework at any time, in their sole  discretion. 

An employee is not required to sign the Approval Form but must agree to the telework arrangement in some written format, including by responding via email with “I accept this telework  arrangement as written.” Said communication and the employee’s acceptance of its terms in  writing shall be kept in the employee’s personnel file.  

IV. RESPONSIBILITIES 

A. BENEFITS/TIME-KEEPING/CLOSURES/LIABILITY 

Employees that telework receive the same benefits, and are subject to the same policies and notice  requirements as non-teleworking employees, including for the use of sick, vacation, personal, compensatory and other leave. Employees shall telework according to their regular work schedule  or as directed by their supervisor as detailed in the written arrangement. Accordingly, if the  teleworking employee is unable to work any portion of their teleworking day(s), they must request  supervisor approval to use applicable sick, vacation, personal, compensatory, and other leave for  the hours not worked. Unless otherwise directed employees shall use the time reporting code  “TEL” for any hours spent teleworking. 

In the event that workers at an employee’s regular work location are dismissed due to an  emergency or closure, teleworking employees will be excused from teleworking as well, consistent  with any applicable collective bargaining agreement and non-unit handbooks. If an employee  incurs a work-related injury while teleworking, workers’ compensation laws and rules will apply  just as they would if such an injury occurred at the regular work site. 

B. SUPPLIES/OFFICE/TELEWORK LOCATION 

Telework location furniture and equipment shall generally be provided by the employee. In the  event that equipment and/or software is approved by the supervisor and provided by the College  at the telework location, such equipment and/or software shall be used exclusively by the employee  for conducting College business within the employee’s scope of employment.  

Employees are solely responsible for College equipment and/or software used by an employee at  the telework location if such equipment is lost, damaged, destroyed or stolen. Upon such  occurrence, employees must report it to their supervisor immediately. The College will address  such losses consistent with applicable law and collective bargaining agreements or non-unit  handbooks. Any equipment and/or software owned by the College must be returned to the College  at the end of the telework term (if not re-approved); upon the employee’s termination or  resignation; or at the request/directive of the College at any time. All incidental costs, such as  residential utility costs, personal phone and internet usage or cleaning services, are the  responsibility of the employee. Employees are required to bring said equipment/software on  campus in the case it needs to be fixed or evaluated by the IT Department.  

Any work-related expenses or purchases must be approved by the employee’s supervisor prior to  incurring the expense or purchase. If approved, the employee will submit a dated itemized receipt  of the expense/purchase. Such expenses/purchases may include increased charges above what the  employee incurs for personal use, as determined unilaterally by the employee’s supervisor. 

The employee is responsible for addressing and resolving any tax questions about the employee’s  ability to deduct expenses related to teleworking including the use of a home office. Employees  who are teleworking will not be reimbursed for travel between their home and College facilities  on any day they are required to be in-person. 

C. CONFIDENTIALITY/WORK PRODUCT 

An employee’s telework location should be free of interruption and provide a confidential and  quiet setting for conducting College-related business.  

All College-related documents and materials, whether hardcopy or electronic, shall be maintained  by the employee in a secure and confidential manner. Employees will protect all College records  and data against unauthorized disclosure, access, destruction, etc. in accordance with applicable  state and federal laws and College policy. 

All work product developed by the employee shall remain the property of the College in the same  manner as such work would be if performed at the College. 

V. FINAL CONSIDERATIONS  

All determinations approving or denying telework are final. If denied, an employee may resubmit  their request prior to the next January 1 or July 1, whichever comes first.  

This Policy shall be interpreted in harmony with existing collective bargaining agreements and  non-unit handbooks; approvals/denials under this Policy shall not be grievable under any  applicable collective bargaining agreement or non-unit handbooks. 

1 - Prior to the finalization of this Policy through applicable impact bargaining processes, this Policy shall be followed on an interim basis for Non Unit Professional employees only. 

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