The following procedure has been developed to provide direction and guidelines to Minnesota State University, Mankato administrators, supervisors and employees in the use of telecommuting.
- Telecommuting is a management tool which allows employees to regularly work at home or at an alternate non-traditional work site instead of traveling to a central work location.
- The ultimate goal of telecommuting is to enhance the delivery of services.
- Telecommuting is a long-term work arrangement.
- The use of telecommuting provides flexibility to better meet customer needs and business goals.
CONDITIONS OF TELECOMMUTING
- Telecommuting is a privilege, not an entitlement.
- Telecommuting is voluntary and may be terminated at any time by Minnesota State University, Mankato or the employee with or without cause.
- The telecommuter must comply with all state laws and policies of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Failure to comply may result in the loss of telecommuting privileges and/or disciplinary action.
- Duties, obligations, responsibilities and conditions of employment with Minnesota State University, Mankato remain unchanged. Eligibility for salary, retirement benefits, and state sponsored insurance coverage remain unchanged.
- Provisions of collective bargaining agreements and personnel plans remain in effect.
- Telecommuting arrangements must comply with State and Federal employment laws that apply to all state employees. This includes the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which regulates the payment of overtime for exempt and non-exempt employees.
- Telecommuting is not a substitute for dependent care or elder care. Telecommuters with pre-school children shall make arrangements for appropriate childcare during regular scheduled work hours.
- Telecommuting must not result in additional work for other staff.
- Telecommuters may not receive any advantage or disadvantage for purposes of position upgrade and/or promotion as a result of telecommuting.
- Telecommuters must be available by telephone and/or email (as appropriate based on the employee’s work assignment) during agreed upon work hours. This may require a second phone line if computer equipment is on-line during a major portion of the work day. Telecommuters must notify the assigned office staff if they leave their telecommuting location during regular working hours.
- Telecommuters and their supervisors will participate in periodic reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure.
Supervisors will assess each request on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to the following:
- Needs of the work unit
- Employee’s personal situation
- Need for adequate supervision of employee
- Employee’s current and past job performance
- Effects on customer service
- Positive/negative effects on the work unit or division
- Availability of equipment and appropriate work space
- Anticipated additional costs, if any
- Ability to measure the work performed
- Level of work skills, i.e., time management, organizational skills, self-motivation, and ability to work independently
Seniority will not be a factor in approving or denying employee requests to telecommute.
- The employee will complete a Telecommuting Request Form which will be reviewed by the supervisor.
- The supervisor, through the appropriate chain of command, will recommend approval or denial to the appropriate Vice President or President.
- The Vice President or President will review the Telecommuting Request Form and indicate approval or denial of the request on the form.
- Human Resources will review the Telecommuting Request Form and indicate final approval or denial of the request and will communicate such to the Vice President or President by mailing of signed form.
- Approval or denial of the request will be communicated in writing to the employee by the Vice President or President with a copy provided to Human Resources (WA336).
- The original signed request and a copy of the approval will be placed in the employee’s personnel file in Human Resources.
- The supervisor is responsible for providing a copy of the signed approval to Environmental Health and Safety (Wiecking111) and to Business Services (WA236).
- The work schedule of the telecommuter will depend on the type of work to be performed and the needs of the department/unit as determined by the supervisor.
- Individual schedules for on-site and off-site work hours must be approved by the supervisor. Any changes to the schedule must be reviewed and approved by the supervisor in advance.
- Employees are expected to attend all meetings, on-site or off-site, related to the performance of their job. This may include emergency meetings scheduled with short notice to the telecommuter.
- Minnesota State University, Mankato may permit the use of approved employee-owned equipment. Each employee is responsible for its maintenance and repair, along with any associated costs.
- When employees use system-owned or state-owned equipment, Minnesota State University, Mankato is responsible for maintenance and repair of the equipment, along with any related costs.
- Employees will be responsible for promptly notifying their supervisor of an equipment malfunction or failure of either state-owned or employee-owned equipment. If the malfunction prevents the telecommuter from performing assigned tasks, the telecommuter must notify the supervisor immediately and may be assigned to perform a different task and/or be required to report to an alternate location, including the university campus.
- Additional equipment may be purchased at the employer’s discretion and installed at the telecommuter’s remote work location.
- State-owned equipment, software, documents, reports and data created as a result of work activities are owned by Minnesota State University, Mankato.
- Equipment, software, data, supplies and furniture provided by Minnesota State University, Mankato for use at the remote work site are for purposes of conducting Minnesota State University, Mankato business and may not be used for personal use of the employee or non-Minnesota State University, Mankato employees unless otherwise consistent with the Computer Use Policy.
- Telecommuters will return state-owned hardware, software, supplies, equipment and documents and other information and property to Minnesota State University, Mankato prior to termination of telecommuting or employment or upon the request of Minnesota State University, Mankato.
- Data Practices Act. Provisions of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and program data privacy policies must be followed when performing work at home and/or at an alternate work location. The telecommuter and supervisor should discuss the type and form of data which will be taken to and from the alternate work location and agree on the security and transfer process necessary to meet the needs of their assignment.
- Security. Telecommuters must provide reasonable security for the data and information that is transported to and from their office site. Simple measures such as removing disks and documents that contain sensitive data from desk areas and placing them in secure storage may prevent a major and, potentially costly, security breach or loss of information.
- Privacy and Confidentiality. Telecommuters needing restricted access information while working at alternate work locations will discuss the need with their supervisor before taking such information off-site. The telecommuter is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of data at alternate work locations the same as they would be in the assigned office.
- Data Retention. Data created and maintained on the telecommuter’s home computer, if generated for the purpose of conducting state business, is subject to the State’s records management statutes. This means proper retention and disposal procedures are required and such data remains the property of the State.
- Employees must designate a primary work location, subject to the approval of the supervisor.
- Prior to the employee beginning to telecommute, Minnesota State University, Mankato may perform an ergonomic and safety evaluation of the employee’s remote work station.
- An employee is covered by Minnesota Workers’ Compensation laws while in telecommuting status. Any injury that occurs within the course and scope of employment must be reported according to state and federal reporting requirements. For the purposes of Workers’ Compensation, the employee’s designated alternate work site is considered an extension of a state work site, only during scheduled telecommuting working hours.
- The telecommuter’s designated alternate work space is considered an extension of the state agency during the agreed upon work hours and the telecommuter is subject to the same standards of conduct and work place rules required of non-telecommuting employees.
- Minnesota State University, Mankato does not assume responsibility for third party injuries or property damage that may occur at the home residence or within the designated alternative work space.
- Business meetings may not be held at home work sites.
PERFORMANCE MEASURES AND REPORTABILITY
- The telecommuter’s performance will be measured by objectives and results and will not differ from what is expected of individuals who report to work at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
- Reportability will not differ from what is expected of non-telecommuting employees.
- Supplies needed for remote work space should be obtained through the normal supply procurement procedures.
- Prior approval must be obtained from the supervisor for expenses that will be incurred. Approved expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with existing Minnesota State University, Mankato policies.
- Telecommuters and supervisors must comply with state policies regarding long distance costs and reimbursements. They must determine the most cost-effective means for meeting telephone requirements.
- Supervisors must designate the telecommuter’s primary work location for travel expense reimbursement purposes. This must be documented in the telecommuting agreement.
- Travel expenses between a telecommuter’s home and the primary work location shall be considered commute mileage and is not subject to reimbursement. If the employee is working at an alternate site (not home and not the primary work location), the mileage from the primary work location to the alternate work site and back may be reimbursable in accordance with the employee’s collective bargaining agreement or personnel plan.
A telecommuter who is scheduled to be working at home on a day that is declared to be a weather emergency is expected to work at home as scheduled.
Federal and state tax implications of telecommuting and use of a home office are the responsibility of the employee.