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4.3 – Telecommuting for Staff and Administrators

Part 1: Purpose. The following procedure has been developed to provide management direction and guidelines to Lake Superior College administrators and staff in the use of telecommuting.

Part 2: Definition

Subpart A: Telecommuting

Telecommuting is a management tool which allows employees to work from an alternate site instead of traveling to a central work location.

Telecommuting work stations are equipped with information technology and communications equipment appropriate to the required tasks to perform.

Part 3: Conditions of Telecommuting

Telecommuting is a privilege, not an entitlement. Telecommuting is voluntary and may be terminated at any time by the college or the employee with or without cause. All state laws and board policies of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Lake Superior College apply. Failure of the employee to comply may result in the loss of telecommuting privileges and/or disciplinary action up to and including termination. Duties, obligations,responsibilities and conditions of employment with Lake Superior College remain unchanged.

Provisions of collective bargaining agreements and unrepresented employment plans remain in effect. Telecommuters must be available by telephone during agreed upon work hours. Telecommuters and their supervisors shall participate in studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy and attend a training session prior to implementing a telecommuting work schedule.

Part 4: Work Schedule. The work schedule of the telecommuter will depend on the type of work to be performed and the needs of the department as determined by the supervisor. Individual schedules for on-site and off-site work hours must be approved by the supervisor. Changes to the schedule must be reviewed and approved by the supervisor in advance. Employees are expected to attend all meetings related to the performance of their job. This may include emergency meetings scheduled with short notice to the employee.

Part 5: Selection Criteria. The President’s Cabinet will assess each request on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Needs of the work unit
  2. Need for adequate supervision of employee
  3. Employee’s current and past job performance
  4. Effects on customer service
  5. Positive/negative effects on the work unit or division
  6. Ability to measure the work performed
  7. Level of work skills of the employee, i.e., time management, organizational skills, self-motivation, and ability to work independently
  8. Compliance with provisions of the collective bargaining agreements or plans.

Part 6: Procedures

  1. The employee will complete his/her section of the “Telecommuting Agreement:Employee Proposal” form which will be reviewed by the supervisor. The supervisor will explain the process and ensure the employee understands that approval is based upon a bargaining agreement and compliance review by Human Resources and the President’s Cabinet. The supervisor will also review the Telecommuting Policy with the employee to ensure a common understanding of the procedure.
  2. The supervisor will review the “Telecommuting Agreement: Employee Proposal” form. If the supervisor recommends further consideration, s/he will complete and sign the Supervisor Review section of the “Telecommuting Agreement: Employee Proposal” form and forward it to his/her Vice President for a signature. Human Resources will then conduct a bargaining agreement and compliance review.
  3. If the bargaining agreement and compliance review is satisfactory, the Human Resources Director will forward the “Telecommuting Agreement: Employee Proposal” form to the President’s Cabinet for final review and approval. The President will sign both documents and return them to Human Resources. Copies will go to the employee and supervisor.

Part 7: Security

Equipment, software, documents, reports and data created as a result of work activities are owned by Lake Superior College. Equipment, software, data, supplies and furniture provided by the college for use at the alternate work site are for purposes of conducting college business and may not be used for personal use of the employee or non-college employees. Please refer to Policy 5.22 and Statewide Policy: Appropriate Use of Electronic Communication and Technology.

Telecommuters will return state-owned hardware, software, supplies, equipment and documents and other information and property to the college prior to termination of telecommuting agreement or employment or upon the college request.

Part 8: 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 campus work locations. Reporting relationships will not differ from what is expected of non-telecommuting employees.

Part 9: Equipment. The college will permit the use of approved, employee-owned equipment. Each employee is responsible for its maintenance and repair. When employees use system-owned or state-owned equipment, the college is responsible for maintenance and repair. 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 employee from performing assigned tasks, the employee must notify the supervisor immediately and may be assigned to perform a different task and/or be required to report to an alternate location or the college. Additional equipment may be purchased at the employer’s discretion and installed at the employee’s alternate work location.

Part 10: Liability. Employees must designate a alternate work space subject to the approval of the supervisor. Prior to the employee beginning to telecommute, The college may perform an ergonomic and safety evaluation of the employee’s alternate 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 alternate work site is considered an extension of state work site only during scheduled telecommuting working hours. The employee’s designated alternate work space is considered an extension of the state agency during the agreed upon work hours and the employee is subject to the same standards of conduct and work place rules required of non-telecommuting employees. The college does not assume responsibility for third party injuries or property damage that may occur at the alternate work space.

Part 11. Expenses. Prior approval must be obtained from the supervisor for expenses that will be incurred. Approved expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with existing college policies. Supplies needed for an alternate work space should be obtained through the normal supply procurement procedures for the college. In case of a conflict, the State of Minnesota Telecommuting Policy will take precedence over Lake Superior College procedures.

Date Implemented: April, 2010