Flexible/Remote Work Policy: Staff

Updated August 2021

The university’s approach to in-person versus remote work reflects our priority for fully serving students, as well as our acknowledgement that our roles and responsibilities vary significantly across campus, and that supervisors are best positioned to determine the appropriate level of in-person engagement for particular positions. To create the community our students expect, employees should generally plan to work on campus. In those instances where work functions can be completed and community contributions maintained through some portion of remote work, arrangements may be made in accordance with the following policy. The university allows the use of remote and flexible work arrangements within the bounds of good public practice, business operations, and resource limitations. The following options may be explored:

FTE reduction: Reduction in the number of hours an employee works in a week with a corresponding reduction in pay and other benefits such as vacation/sick leave accrual, holiday pay, retirement and tuition remission (e.g. moving from a 40 hour work week to a 32 hour work week). This option requires further conversation with supervisors; no Remote Work Application is needed. To consider this option, Human Resources needs to be contacted to discuss feasibility and impact on the department as the employee’s job responsibilities will need to be re-evaluated.

Flexible work arrangement: An alternative way to achieve an employee’s total number of hours per week (e.g. a compressed work week, such as working four 10 hour days; a hybrid work schedule where the majority of work is performed on campus and some hours at a remote location (not to exceed 20% of hours per week, on average)). This option must be approved by the employee’s supervisor. Regular, ongoing flexible work arrangements must also be approved by the appropriate Vice President. Human Resources does not need to be notified of the change to the schedule if there is no reduction in the total number of hours per week; no Remote Work Application is needed.

Remote work: Ongoing, regular work from home or another designated location, either fully or hybrid remote schedule (e.g. regular remote work more than 20% of hours per week; work from location outside WA). In order to work remotely, employees must have a signed Remote Work Application on file with Human Resources. A remote work assignment may also be necessitated as a reasonable accommodation or in response to closing the work location or providing alternative work arrangements for health and safety reasons. Employees should discuss accommodation-related remote work requests with their supervisor and Human Resources.

Remote Work Specifications

Working remotely is a benefit, is not guaranteed, and can be revoked at any time. Sustained performance, team cohesion, cross-team collaboration, and positive relationships are the core of our ongoing success and essential functions of every job. Supervisors should work with the employee to evaluate their request to work remotely. When evaluating a request, departments should take into account specific position requirements, impact on a team, employee performance concerns, and whether the employee can effectively perform the job duties of the position while working remotely. Technology needs should be reviewed with I&TS and any additional purchases will be the responsibility of the sponsoring department. The use of personal devices to access network resources will be reviewed on an as needed basis. Consistency and equity of decisions across the university will also be taken into account. If there is uncertainty about the potential effectiveness of a proposed arrangement, the supervisor may consider allowing the employee to work remotely on a trial basis. There may be circumstances in which a request for remote work cannot be approved, such as positions requiring in-person contact/customer service or that rely upon specific equipment or supplies to work.

Requirements for in-person attendance can override regular remote work schedules. Managers should discuss such instances with the employee (e.g. in-person training). Expectations for timely completion of work to established standards, attendance at meetings, responsiveness to customers, and other performance criteria are the same for remote and on-campus employees. Departments should apply the same performance standards to employees regardless of work location. A remote employee’s conditions of employment are the same as those of on-campus employees, including compliance with all policies and rules of the university and state while working remotely.

Remote work is not to be used to provide care for a child, other dependent, or elder.

Remote work is not an appropriate substitute for sick time off and should not be used to circumvent the university’s leave provisions, workers’ compensation process, and/or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees should consult with Human Resources for temporary reasonable accommodation and leave options.
Work-related injuries at the remote worksite, during agreed-upon working hours, may be covered by Workers’ Compensation. Employees are required to report any work-related illness or injury to their supervisor immediately, as well as complete an injury report form.

Out-of-state and international remote work (aside from travel for university business, such as study away courses or conferences) have additional considerations related to taxation, reporting, and applicability of local jurisdiction employment laws.