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.
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.
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.