COVID-19: FAQs about Alternative Work Arrangements
What is an Alternative Work Environment?
An agreement that is established between an employee and a supervisor where any of the following occur:
- A change to the customary arrival/departure time;
- A change to the regular work location (e.g. home office) on a temporary or consistent basis;
- A job/shift share or job duty arrangement; and/or
- Temporary changes to arrival/departure times or a location of work are made.
Who qualifies to request an alternative work arrangement?
Any employee may submit a request to their supervisor.
Employees should be meeting workplace expectations in order to be considered for such an arrangement. In general, employees should demonstrate strong communication skills, an ability to perform work independently, and accomplish tasks as assigned in a timely manner.
Other traits or skills may be necessary based on position responsibilities. During the COVID-19 virus response time frame there is university-wide effort to make every effort to provide work at an alternative work site, therefore performance is not a main determining factor at this time.
Why should I submit an Alternative Work Arrangement Request Form?
While it is not required at a campus or university level, your supervisor may request it.
The Request Form asks you specific questions and your answers will help inform your supervisor in reviewing your request. Generally, the most successful flexible work arrangements are those that have been established with thoughtfulness and a plan to address concerns in advance.
Is a written agreement to work remotely required?
No. However, it is strongly suggested, and your supervisor may require you to complete it. Your supervisor may use the template provided or another related agreement.
I’m a supervisor. What should I do if I receive a request?
Review the information supplied by the person who submitted the form. Consider how the request aligns with the employee’s position responsibilities, their performance, and the business needs of the department. If you would like guidance, you may contact your unit leader or human resources.
If the arrangement is approved, you will work together with the employee to complete an Alternative Work Site Agreement for and document any other alternate work arrangements. After the arrangement is implemented, consistently check in with the employee to discuss how the arrangement is going for both the workplace and the individual and what alterations or support may be needed moving forward. If any changes are made to the arrangement, document it as such.
Can hourly employees work remotely?
Yes, hourly employees are permitted to work remotely. However, employees and supervisors are still required to comply with all timekeeping and overtime regulations defined by policy. Hourly employees who work remotely are required to be cognizant of these policies and structure their remote work just as they would in a typical workplace.
Do exempt (monthly) employees keep track of hours worked?
No. Salaried employees are not covered by the overtime and record keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Therefore, there is inherent flexibility in work scheduling for those individuals. Even though the law allows this latitude, exempt staff members still need to discuss specific scheduling arrangements with their supervisors and obtain their approval.
What kind of work may an employee perform remotely that might be outside of their normal job duties?
Here are some ideas for consideration:
- Customer service/response and scheduling
- Online training to update skills
- "Back burner" projects
- Event or strategic planning
- Data-crunching and/or reporting
- Updating websites
Can I change my work hours, shift or work duties due to the COVID-19 virus?
You may be able to change your hours, shift and work duties. You may also be able to cross-train in other areas and job duties in order to maintain continuity of operations. Speak with your supervisor about eligible alternate work arrangements and complete the Request form if you are asked to do so.
Can my supervisor require that I work at an alternative work site or take on additional or different duties?
Yes, in general, your supervisor may require you to change your worksite, including working remotely; and you may be assigned different duties. This is especially important to consider as a strong possibility due to the COVID-19 virus response as we are rapidly attempting to meet the needs of the university community. If you have concerns about this, please contact human resources.
Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns?
Your supervisor or Human Resources can be contacted.