Alternative Work Arrangements for Staff

Wesleyan University - Alternative Work Arrangements Policy – June 2021

The majority of jobs at Wesleyan require staff to be on campus to support faculty, staff, students, and other members of the University community. However, there may be circumstances where a supervisor, with cabinet member approval, determines that alternate schedules or telecommuting may be beneficial.

The Alternative Work Arrangements policy establishes the guidelines for selecting and managing staff members approved to work an alternative schedule or to work remotely.

Typical office hours for most administrative offices are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Due to University needs, cabinet members may determine alternative schedules appropriate for their respective areas.

Alternative work arrangements are subject to annual review and approval of supervisors, cabinet members, and Human Resources. Further, alternative work arrangements are at the discretion of the University and can be revoked at any time. Every effort will be made to provide 30 days’ notice of such changes, however there may be instances where such notice is not possible.

Staff members who work an alternative schedule shall take vacation and other types of leave at the rate equal to their scheduled hours for that day.

This policy does not govern ad hoc adjustments to regular work schedules and arrangements for reasons such as an ill child, childcare, or similar circumstances. Those decisions are within the purview of the immediate supervisor.

Definitions: For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:
Telecommuting – working remotely on a regular basis, intermittently, or a defined period of time.
Alternative Work Schedule – a work schedule that differs from the employee’s regularly scheduled hours. The alternative schedule must be consistently applied.

Eligibility and Procedures:
Wesleyan University strives to provide equal opportunity to all staff when it comes to working conditions. However, remote work and alternative schedules are not conducive to every staff member and every job. Some staff may be restricted from alternative work arrangements based on their role or union contract. Telecommuting is not an entitlement, it is not a university-wide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with the University.

Generally, telecommuting on a regular basis where the staff member works primarily from a home office will only be allowed for staff residing in Connecticut and the surrounding New England states including New York. This is due to the complexity of payroll, employment, and workers compensation laws in each state. Any exceptions must be reviewed by Human Resources and Payroll and approved by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration before finalizing a remote work arrangement outside of the approved states.

Requests for an alternative work arrangement may be initiated by the staff member, the supervisor, or as a condition of employment initiated by the University. Requests will be considered on an individual basis taking into account, but not limited to, the following factors:

  • the overall benefit to the University,
  • the opportunity to retain or recruit a staff member,
  • the overall work performance of the staff member (proven performance, dependability, comprehensive knowledge of their position, no previous corrective action),
  • the ability to conduct the work remotely or under non-traditional hours and how this may impact collateral work, 
  • any financial, technology, or logistical considerations to the University for the remote work arrangement, and
  • complexity of employment related laws in the employee’s remote location.
Before entering into a telecommuting agreement, the staff member and the supervisor will further evaluate the suitability of the arrangement by discussing the following:
  • the needs and work habits of the staff member to determine if the staff member can be successful working remotely,
  • details of the job to determine if the job is suited to remote work,
  • ways in which remote work will impact others who work with the staff member,
  • scheduling and communication expectations,
  • equipment needs and workspace design, and
  • the need for work space when/if working on campus – a dedicated office will generally not be available on campus for staff who are primarily remote.
Alternative work schedules and requests to telecommute must have the approval of the cabinet member and Human Resources. An alternative work arrangement agreement must be completed for all approved requests.

Responsibilities of the Staff Member:
Staff who work remotely are expected to adhere to standards of professionalism, work output, availability, and accountability just as though they were working on campus. Staff members who are approved to telecommute and/or have an alternative schedule must attend meetings and other job-related activities, whether remotely or in person, as required.

Additionally, staff who work remotely are expected to abide by the following guidance:
  • Be transparent about your availability and maintain a current calendar.
  • Maintain communication with your supervisor and co-workers.
  • Set up a dedicated workspace that allows you to focus on work and avoid outside distractions.
  • Prepare a child-care plan if needed. Remote work arrangements are not designed to eliminate the need for child care, elder care, or to attend to personal matters during regular work hours.
Any tax or other legal implications under IRS, state, or local government laws related to working from a home office are the sole responsibility of the staff member.

Equipment and Expenses with Home Office:
The University provides office equipment for one location. Telecommuters must maintain reliable internet and phone service at their own expense. They should also install remote collaboration tools, including a video camera, on their computer to be used for meeting participation. It is recommended that staff who telecommute choose a laptop as their primary Wesleyan computer for ease of use both on and off-campus. Any items removed from university offices must be inventoried and recorded by the supervisor. General office supplies are provided by the department as needed. Any equipment provided by the University is intended for University business only. Upon termination of the remote work or when the staff member leaves the University, all University property must be returned on or immediately after the last day of work.

Consistent with university expectations regarding information security for staff working in the office, telecommuting staff will be expected to ensure the protection of university information accessible from their home office. Measures to take include the use of locked filing cabinets and desks and regular password maintenance. Computer hard drives should be encrypted by ITS and locking screen savers employed to prevent access by unauthorized individuals, including family members.

Staff who telecommute are expected to maintain their home workspace in a safe manner, free from hazards. The University will provide each telecommuter with a safety checklist that must be completed at least twice per year. Injuries sustained by a staff member in a home office and in conjunction with their regular work duties are normally covered by the University’s workers compensation policy. Telecommuting staff are expected to follow the University’s workers compensation notification policy. The staff member is responsible for any injuries sustained by visitors to their home work site.