CSU Policy: Teleworking

Policy Title: Teleworking Category: Human Resources
Owner: Vice President for University Operations Policy ID#: 3-6004-036
Contact:
Human Resources
Web: https://hr.colostate.edu/
Email: hr_service_center@mail.colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-6947
Original Effective Date: 7/30/2021
Last Revision: 7/30/2021
Print Version: Click Here to Print

PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to establish the circumstances under which a telework arrangement may be allowed or required and the processes that will be followed for telework to support the needs of our university community.

APPLICATION OF THIS POLICY

This policy shall apply to all employees of the university, including faculty, administrative professional, state classified, temporary, non-student hourly, and student hourly who are interested in Teleworking for a period in excess of two weeks.

DEFINITIONS USED IN THIS POLICY

Appropriate Furniture includes a height adjustable and ideally ergonomic chair and computer desk or table which ideally has a height adjustment. Inappropriate furniture includes but it not limited to, kitchen tables, kitchen table chairs, couches, beds, exercise balls, etc.

Eligible Employee is an employee identified, by the employee’s supervisor or other senior leadership, as being in a position and circumstances suitable for a teleworking arrangement (e.g., work lends itself to remote completion, etc.), as further described in this policy.

Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands (tasks, workspaces, controls, displays, tools, lighting, and equipment) to the capabilities of the working population. One of the goals of ergonomics is to prevent soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) caused by sudden or sustained exposure to force, vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.

Off-site location is the telework address identified in the Application and Memorandum of Understanding.

On-site is defined as the assigned geographic location of the employee/unit’s designated work site. This could include, but is not limited to military bases, agricultural experiment locations, and cooperative extension offices.

Sensitive Information includes, but is not limited to, social security numbers, personally identifiable health information, personally identifiable financial information, such as credit card information, driver’s license information, personnel employment and student performance information, proprietary research and academic information, third-party proprietary information, FERPA-protected non-directory information and any other information that through disclosure would adversely affect an individual or besmirch the reputation of the University. See the three levels of data classification at CSU (Private Data, Restricted Data, and Public Data).

Shared Workspace is a space shared by different people at different times. These workspaces may require advanced reservations.

Teleworker is a person who is regularly scheduled to work one or more days per week at an off-site location, typically their home, to perform the duties of their job.

Teleworking is an authorized work arrangement that involves an employee routinely working one or more days per week at a location that is not located in a university owned or controlled facility.

POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of Colorado State University to facilitate the use of teleworking arrangements as provided by this policy when it is in the best interests of the university and when it will enhance productivity, sustainability, and promote work-life balance of the employee.

Teleworking is not an employee right or benefit, but rather is a discretionary management tool that may be long-term, short-term, or intermittent (pursuant to a Telework Application and Memorandum of Understanding) to meet the ongoing needs of the institution and employees or used temporarily to accommodate injury, illness, pregnancy, natural disasters, pandemic, or planned events such as moving the office or a special project.  A teleworking arrangement may be revised or terminated at any time by a supervisor or appropriate administrator unless it is a reasonable accommodation pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendments Act. A teleworking arrangement that is a reasonable accommodation may only be revised or terminated in consultation with the Office of Equal Opportunity.

The Teleworker's conditions of employment shall remain the same as for non-teleworking employees; wages, benefits and leave accrual will remain unchanged unless there is a change in employment status or scheduled hours that impacts benefit eligibility. In addition, all university policies, rules, and procedures shall apply at the telework site, including those governing communicating internally and with the public, employee rights and responsibilities, facilities and equipment management, financial management, information resource management, purchasing of property and services, and safety. Failure to follow university policies, rules procedures or a supervisor’s expectations may result in modification or termination of the telework arrangement and/or corrective or disciplinary action.

POLICY PROVISIONS

Eligibility

  1. Eligibility to telework is limited to Colorado State University employees located within the United States.  This policy does not apply to work associated with field activity of employees who must perform duties in the field nor does this policy regulate intermittent work performed by exempt Employees at home or elsewhere during the evenings, weekends, holidays or other time off from work or core work hours.
  2. Selection of employees to telework shall be based on specific, work-related criteria which may include, but are not limited to:
  • The ability for an employee to reasonably perform their job responsibilities and duties, as outlined in their job description and/or by their supervisor, remotely.
  • Need for, and nature of, interaction with faculty, staff, students, external clients, and the public.
  • Need for use of specialized equipment or facilities.
  • The ability to protect sensitive information in a teleworking arrangement.
  • Availability of other qualified employees on site.
  • An employee’s need for direct supervision as determined by the supervisor.
  • Geographical location of an employee’s proposed remote worksite, including the obligations that may be imposed on the university by city and county ordinances and state laws regarding taxes, minimum wage, paid sick leave, reimbursements and other employment requirements based on the proposed worksite.
  1.  To be considered for a teleworking arrangement, an employee must be able to work independently and demonstrate the ability to consistently use their time in a productive manner. The resources that an employee needs to do their job must be readily transportable or available electronically. See the section on Equipment, Communication and Connectivity, below.
  2. Eligibility and suitability of employees to participate in teleworking will vary among departments and business units, depending on the function and responsibilities of the unit and the employee. Each department/unit should determine whether there is a minimum complement of employees, or specific positions, that must work at a CSU designated worksite to function effectively.
  3. Approvals of requests to telework must be applied equitably, without favoritism or bias and must comply with all university policies, including but not limited to, CSU’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy.
Application Process
  1. Interested employees should review the teleworking policy and complete the Teleworking Application and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU will be routed to the employee’s supervisor, department head, and ultimate decision maker (Dean, Vice President or Vice Provost). The decision maker will either approve the request as submitted; deny the request; or reject the MOU back to the interested employee outlining the changes to the MOU that would be needed for approval.  If there are concerns about whether the off-site location meets the safety and ergonomic requirements for teleworking, the employee or supervisor should contact the appropriate department for assistance.
  2. A teleworker’s MOU must be updated and submitted, at minimum, on an annual basis at or around the time of the employee review.
  3. If an employee is not approved for teleworking, they will receive a written notification from the ultimate decision maker in the employee’s supervisory chain, such as a Dean, Vice President or Vice Provost, explaining the reasons for the decision. Should circumstances change in relation to the denial, the request can be revisited.
  4. Teleworkers should consult with their personal tax advisor to determine the tax implications of teleworking, if any. The university will not provide guidance nor claim responsibility for any federal, state, or local tax liability that may result from a teleworking arrangement.
Teleworking Application and Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  1. An employee will complete the Application and Memorandum of Understanding, sign digitally, and then submit the form. The MOU will then be routed to the supervisor to provide input and make a recommendation to approve or disapprove the request. After the supervisor has reviewed, the form will then be submitted to the department head and then the ultimate decision maker in the employee’s supervisory chain, such as a Dean, Vice President, or Vice Provost, for approval.
  2. The Application and MOU is not an employment contract and does not affect an employee’s at-will or other existing employment relationship with the University. Disagreements related to teleworking arrangements, including but not limited to, a decision to allow or disallow a teleworking arrangement or terms of a teleworking arrangement, are not grievable. The university has put numerous safeguards in place to ensure that requested teleworking arrangements are reviewed and considered thoughtfully and equitably.
  3. Typically, a department/unit or supervisor will not require an existing employee to telework if the individual prefers to work at their regular on-site location. However, there may be circumstances that cause certain departments/units, supervisors or the University to implement teleworking for some or all employees. Generally, a teleworking arrangement will not be considered permanent by the university and should be reviewed, at a minimum, on an annual basis.   However, if the teleworking arrangement is mutually intended to become permanent, the employee’s job description must be changed to state this and approved by Human Resources and the ultimate decision maker in the employee’s supervisory chain, such as a Dean, Vice President, or Vice Provost. In some cases, an employee may be hired into a position that is designed to be performed remotely, and advertised as such, and there is no option to work in a university workspace.
  4. When a non-permanent teleworking arrangement is made between the employee and their supervisor for the convenience and benefit of both the university and the employee, university may terminate the arrangement, with or without cause, upon reasonable notice in writing to the employee. In such event, it is the department/unit’s responsibility to provide the necessary workspace for the employee to return to work at a university- designated location. Should a teleworker wish to end the teleworking arrangement and return to a university workspace, they must consult with their supervisor regarding the necessary workspace and other arrangements to determine what is feasible. Supervisors and department heads/unit directors are encouraged to consult with Human Resources for guidance in modifying or terminating teleworking agreements.
  5. At the discretion of their department/unit directors, employees who telework, even partially, might not be provided a university worksite. Departments/units have discretion to use shared workspaces or reservation processes to provide employees who telework workspaces during times they work on campus. 
Schedules, and Hours
  1. The frequency of teleworking will be determined by the supervisor after consulting with the employee. Teleworking hours may be different from office work hours; however, teleworkers and their supervisors must agree on the designated work hours or what must be accomplished during the day/week. The primary criterion utilized to approve daily work schedules will be what is most conducive for an employee to fulfill their responsibilities. A regular teleworking schedule, including specific days and hours, must be approved by the supervisor in advance of the beginning of the telework. The amount of time the teleworker is expected to work per day or per pay period will not change unless specified in the Teleworking MOU and approved.
  2. While teleworking, employees are expected to comply with university and department/unit policy for all absences. Teleworkers whose positions require accounting for time worked must comply with the university’s timekeeping policies. If a teleworker is unable to work because of illness or medical appointments or uses other time off, the teleworker must report appropriate leave hours and follow all applicable leave policies and practices. Additionally, teleworking employees who are non-exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (i.e., employees who are eligible to receive overtime pay) may not work hours more than their scheduled hours without prior written approval from their supervisor.   A supervisor may require a teleworker to be on site on a regularly scheduled teleworking day should the work situation warrant such an action. Examples include, but are not limited to, office-coverage, in-person trainings, team retreats and events, and meetings where virtual participation is not deemed to be effective by the supervisor.
  3. Occasionally, a teleworker may be requested to attend meetings or report to an on-site location. The supervisor will use electronic means of communication whenever possible as an alternative to requesting attendance at any "short-notice" meetings. In those instances where an employee’s physical presence is deemed essential, the supervisor must provide sufficient notice to allow the employee a reasonable time to travel to the work location to participate in the meeting or activity.
  4. Teleworkers should ensure other employees are aware of their schedule, including when they will be on site and when they will be working remotely.
  5. If a teleworker is frequently required to be on site during regularly scheduled teleworking days, the supervisor and/or employee may re-evaluate the compatibility of the teleworker’s position and job responsibilities with respect to teleworking or the specific teleworking schedule. As appropriate, changes should be made to the MOU with required approvals.
  6. Any in-person meetings with other university staff, students, customers, outside vendors or others will not be permitted at the teleworking site. Meetings in a public location, e.g., park, coffee shop, restaurant, or other business location could be allowed, with supervisor approval, depending on the circumstances.
  7. Teleworking is not an alternative to dependent care but may be used as a tool in structuring workdays and hours to accommodate such needs when it is reasonable to do so. Unless an exception is approved, the teleworker must make appropriate arrangements for dependent care during agreed-upon work hours. Exceptions should be approved at the respective Dean/VP level.
Emergency Disruption and Inclement Weather Closures
  1. Teleworkers shall identify their on-site geographic location on their Application and MOU. Any closure due to an emergency, such as inclement weather, that impacts a teleworker’s on-site geographic location shall extend to teleworkers assigned to the location experiencing the closure. Such declaration of an emergency shall be determined by the Dean or Vice President with oversight of the unit, or by the President for the CSU campuses. Should the Teleworker be asked to work during a closure to fulfill the business needs of their unit, i.e., an important meeting that cannot be easily rescheduled, the Teleworker may be allowed to flex those worked hours to another day that week – with proper notice and approval from their supervisor.
  2. If there is an emergency at the off-site location, such as a power or internet outage, the teleworker will notify the supervisor as soon as possible. The teleworker may be reassigned to the on-site location or an alternate worksite, flex those work hours, or be required to take annual leave.
Training and Assessment of Teleworking Schedule by CSU
  1. Teleworkers and supervisors should complete any training available from Human Resources to create a successful transition to the teleworking program.
  2. Teleworkers and supervisors are encouraged to participate in all studies, surveys, training, inquiries, reports, and analyses appropriately approved research related to teleworking. 

Conditions for Implementation 

Workspace
  1. It is the responsibility of the teleworker to maintain a safe worksite that is free from potential safety problems.
  2. Teleworkers must have an appropriate work area in their off-site location that considers ergonomics, equipment, adequate workspace, and does not impede work performance with noise, and interruption factors. The teleworker’s remote workspace should provide an adequate work area, lighting, telephone and internet service, power, and temperature control. Additional requirements may vary, depending on the nature of the work and the equipment needed to perform the work. An ergonomics and safety checklist are included in the Application and MOU.
  3. The off-site location must meet safety rules for the workplace including smoke detector; working fire extinguisher; clear, unobstructed exits; removal of hazards that could cause injuries, and appropriate furniture.
  4. In case of injury, theft, or loss, related to telework at the alternate worksite, the teleworker must allow agents of the university to investigate and/or inspect the telework site.                                                                                                    
Ergonomics
  1. An off-site office workstation/work environment should meet the same ergonomics and safety standards as those available at the on-site location. Teleworkers are highly encouraged to take the ergonomics training as offered on the Environmental Health Services website under Risk Management Ergonomics Program. 
  2. Employees needing an ergonomic assessment of their workspace can request it online from Risk Management & Insurance (RMI).
  3. The ergonomic evaluation process is like that used while working at the university worksite. Evaluation and review of work tasks performed, equipment and tools used, workstation measurements, dimensions, as well as pictures and videos may need to be obtained. RMI will determine whether a virtual inspection is appropriate. 
Workers’ Compensation Coverage
  1. If an employee is injured in the course and scope of performing required work duties at the remote workspace, they should notify their supervisor and complete an incident report.
  2. If medical treatment is needed as the result of a work-related injury, seek treatment through one of the university’s  Authorized Treating Physicians.
  3.  Workers’ Compensation claims will be reviewed, and both the employee and supervisor will be asked to provide additional information for the completion of the claim's investigation.   In addition, a review of the job duties and work area may be required to prevent further injury and for determination of compensability for Workers’ Compensation. Teleworkers must agree to have appropriate university professionals visit their telework site when needed to complete the claim process.
  4. Working from an off-site location does not exempt a teleworker from participating in the normal protocols of the workers’ compensation program, including the use of temporary modified duty as needed, which may be at an on-site location, or another location specified by the university. 
Equipment, Communication and Connectivity
  1. Unless otherwise required by the law of the municipality and/or state in which an employee teleworks, teleworkers are generally expected to provide the equipment and services needed to carry out their responsibilities when working remotely, unless required to telework by the university.  The respective university unit may provide an assigned university laptop, or other such equipment or services required, at their discretion unless otherwise required by law. If university equipment is provided, this must be reflected in the teleworking MOU. The equipment provided by the university will be used for university work only except as provided in the CSU System Acceptable Use Policy. Its use by a teleworker at their off-site location must not impede the work of employees working on site.
  2. Office supplies will be provided by the university and should be obtained during the teleworker’s on-site work period if possible. Out-of-pocket expenses for supplies normally available in the office will not be reimbursed unless required by law and if the expense is pre-approved by the teleworker’s supervisor. Teleworkers are responsible for all supplies, equipment, and/or materials provided by the university. All items provided by the university remain property of the university and may not be used for personal or other than work purposes, except as provided by policy. Teleworkers who may not be scheduled to work on site should make arrangements with their supervisor to obtain any office supplies needed.
  3. Teleworkers must take appropriate action to protect university-provided equipment from damage or theft. University equipment must be returned to the university when requested by the university or when the university or the employee terminates employment and/or discontinues the teleworking arrangement. It is the responsibility of the department/unit to track all equipment provided to an employee for use off-site and report to Business & Financial Services any asset that is not returned at the time of the employee’s separation from the university. The university will repair and maintain any equipment owned by the university. The teleworker is responsible for safely transporting such equipment to campus for repair or maintenance unless movement of the equipment is likely to result in damage.  Surge protectors or other protective devices must be used with any university computer. All security measures outlined in the Information Technology Security policy must be installed and operating. The university may pursue recovery from the teleworker for university property that is deliberately, or through negligence, damaged, destroyed, lost, or stolen while in the teleworker's care, custody, or control. The university does not assume liability for loss, damage, or wear of employee-owned equipment. 
  4. Employees should endeavor to provide appropriate furniture or workstations for their remote workspace.  During sustained, unplanned, and temporary teleworking times, such as those attributable to an ongoing university closure or university directive to work off-site, departments/units may purchase furniture for employees to use in their workspace.  All furniture must be returned to the university at the end of the teleworking assignment.  A list of allowable furniture is maintained by the Office of Procurement Services and all furniture purchases must be approved by that office. Specialized furniture that cannot be logically used on-site is highly discouraged and may not be allowed.
  5. Teleworkers who use their own equipment (e.g., printer, photocopier) are responsible for the costs associated with such use including repair and maintenance.  With the supervisor’s approval, the university may supply printer paper and ink in reasonable quantities as necessitated by the employee’s business use.
  6. Except as provided in the Mobile Communications policy, teleworkers will not be reimbursed for any internet service, connectivity, or phone costs when teleworking. Entering into a teleworking agreement does not constitute a business need for a university-paid cellular device or allowance under that policy. 
  7. Before teleworking commences, the employee should test their remote access. The employee should consult with their department/unit’s IT support or the CSU Helpdesk for help with connecting to the university’s network or other support needs. If in-person support is needed, the teleworker must bring their equipment to the on-campus helpdesk, either in their unit or the central IT helpdesk if practicable, otherwise, the teleworker must make arrangements with their supervisor for resolving their IT support needs. 
Geographic Location 
  1. An employee’s work location is an important consideration in determining the feasibility of a teleworking arrangement.  Supervisors must review with Human Resources the employee’s proposed work location if the proposed teleworking location is located outside of the State of Colorado.  City and county ordinances and state laws regarding taxes, minimum wage, paid sick leave, reimbursements and other employment obligations must be reviewed for the location from which the employee proposes to telework.  The cost and administrative burden of complying with such obligations must be considered when determining whether a remote work arrangement is appropriate.  If the location from which an employee proposes to telework is in a state other than Colorado, all employment-related laws for that state must be reviewed when determining whether a telework arrangement is feasible or appropriate. 
  2. At all times, the employee’s current teleworking location must be kept on file with the Department of Human Resources and Payroll.  Advanced approval must be obtained prior to changing an employee’s remote work location. Supervisors must review with Human Resources the employee’s proposed change to the employee’s work location if the proposed teleworking location is outside of the State of Colorado.  Regardless of the location of the changed remote worksite, the location of the new worksite must be promptly reported to Human Resources.  
  3. Teleworking should be conducted within the confines of the United States and its territories.  The University is unable to support the complexities of international payroll and employment law outside of the United States for these arrangements.  Should a business need exist to employ a university employee in a foreign country please consult with Human Resources and the Business and Financial Services Tax Office for guidance.
  4. State Classified employees must comply with the State of Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration guidance and the Constitution of the State of Colorado in regard to geographic location.
  5. Travel expenses between the off-site and on-site work locations will not be reimbursed for those employees whose principal place of business is deemed to be the CSU Fort Collins campus, unless required by law. Travel reimbursements required by law may result in taxable income to the teleworking employee.  
Employee Access and Availability 
  1. Teleworkers must be available by telephone, email, or other virtual platforms (e.g., Microsoft Teams) during scheduled hours. Teleworkers are required to have voicemail to ensure availability.
  2. Teleworkers should provide their supervisors with their current mobile or land line phone number. Alternatively, a Microsoft Teams Voice number may be used. 
Security
  1. It is the responsibility of the Teleworker to take all precautions necessary to secure proprietary and sensitive information as defined in this policy and to prevent unauthorized access. The Teleworker is required to observe all office security practices when working off-site to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of information. Steps to ensure the protection of information include, but are not limited to, use of locked file cabinets, protection of flash drives, regular password maintenance, use of anti-virus and software firewalls, and any other steps appropriate for the job and the environment. In accordance with the university’s Information Technology Security policy, private and restricted data, including sensitive information of an individual, should be stored on the university’s secure servers at all times rather than on portable media or personal computer hard drives, and secure methods of transmission must be used when transferring data between the Teleworker and the server (such as the university’s secure VPN connection).
  2. Devices and services used remotely to interact with university resources are required to comply with the Information Technology Security policy. Applications, the operating system, and browser versions must be supported by the vendor, and must be kept up-to-date and patched. See the ACNS website  for currently supported versions of common software.
  1. Employees should lock their computer or other devices when not in use and secure equipment at the end of the day.

COMPLIANCE WITH THIS POLICY

All employees who telework must:

  • Learn and understand the requirements of this policy;
  • Apply the requirements of this policy to their job responsibilities and remote work arrangement;
  • Comply with the requirements of this policy and all other university policies, rules, and procedures, as applicable;
  • Cooperate fully in any audit or investigation related to this policy; and
  • Promptly report any violation of this policy to Human Resources and/or their supervisor.

 

For assistance with interpretation or application of this policy, contact Human Resources. 

REFERENCES

CSU Policy: Information Technology Security
Academic Computing and Networking Services (ACNS) website
CSU Policy: Mobile Communications
CSU System Acceptable Use Policy
Environmental Health Services website
CSU System FERPA Policy
Workers’ Compensation | Risk Management and Insurance (colostate.edu)
Incident Reporting | Risk Management and Insurance (colostate.edu)
Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual
CSU Financial Rule 2.1.1(vi)

FORMS AND TOOLS

Authorized treating physicians
Ergonomic assessment request
Ergonomic Training
Application and Memorandum of Understanding
Telework Training via Bridge

 

Print Version: Click Here to Print

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