Long Term Telecommuting Arrangements
Individuals requesting formal telecommuting arrangements must be must have a satisfactory performance record and must have completed the initial probationary period.
Before entering into any telecommuting arrangement, the employee and manager, with the assistance of the human resource department, will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement, reviewing the following areas:
- Employment Status. Exempt (exempt from overtime requirements) positions may be suited and eligible for telecommuting.
- Employee suitability. The employee and manager will assess the needs, skills, and work habits of the employee. Strong and proven communication skills and effective time management skills are required.
- Job responsibilities. The employee and manager will discuss the job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement.
- Equipment needs, workspace design considerations and scheduling issues. The employee and manager will review the physical workspace needs and the appropriate location for the remote work.
- Tax and other legal implications. The employee must determine any tax or legal implications under IRS, state and local government laws, and/or restrictions of working out of a home-based office. Responsibility for fulfilling all obligations in this area rests solely with the employee.
On a case-by-case basis, the University of Mississippi will determine, with information supplied by the employee and the supervisor, the appropriate equipment needs (including hardware, software, modems, phone and data lines and other office equipment) for each telecommuting arrangement. The human resource and information system departments will serve as resources in this matter. Equipment supplied by the University will be maintained by the University. The University of Mississippi reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time. Equipment supplied by the organization is to be used for business purposes only. The telecommuter must sign an inventory of all the University of Mississippi property received and agree to take appropriate action to protect the items from damage or theft. Upon termination of employment, all company property will be returned to the University, unless other arrangements have been made.
Equipment supplied by the employee, if deemed appropriate by the organization, will be maintained by the employee. The University of Mississippi accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment
The University of Mississippi will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) as deemed necessary.
The employee will establish an appropriate work environment within his or her home for work purposes. The University of Mississippi will not be responsible for costs associated with the setup of the employee’s home office, such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the home office space.
The University of Mississippi will not be responsible for operating costs, internet connection, home maintenance, or any other incidental cost (e.g., utilities) associated with the employee’s residence.
Consistent with the organization’s expectations of information security for employees working at the office, telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of University and faculty, staff and student information accessible from their home office. Steps include the use of locked file cabinets and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other measures appropriate for the job and the environment. Any suspected breach of security must be reported immediately.
Safety & Worker’s Compensation
Employees are expected to maintain their home workspace in a safe manner, free from safety hazards. The office workspace is considered an extension of the employee’s UM office work location; therefore, workers’ compensation will continue to exist for the employee when performing official work dues in the defined, office work space during approved work hours. Work-related injuries must be reported to the employee’s supervisor immediately, and the employee must complete all necessary or management requested documents regarding the injury.
The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to his or her home worksite.
Telecommuting is not designed to be a replacement for appropriate child care. Although an individual employee’s schedule may be modified to accommodate child care needs, the focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting business demands. Prospective telecommuters are encouraged to discuss expectations of telecommuting with family members prior to entering a trial period.
Hours of Work/Schedule
The employee is responsible for working a regular work schedule and to be available during the schedule. Subject to department head approval, flextime schedules afford the opportunity for work hours that differ from the University’s regular business hours. Flexibility in schedules may assist the employee with meeting family needs, personal obligations, and wellness commitments, while also providing a tool for departments to control the cumulative number of hours worked within the designated workweek.
During the times that the employee is expected to be performing the duties, the employee will not engage in substantive work, including caregiving for dependents.
Exempt (exempt from overtime requirements) positions may be suited and eligible for telecommuting.
In some instances, exceptions may be made, depending upon the nature of the critical business need. All exceptions must be approved by the Chief Human Resources Officer, or designee.
If the business need arises (e.g., pandemic) and permission is granted to a non-exempt employee, the employee who is not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to accurately record all hours worked using the University of Mississippi’s time-keeping system. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per day and per workweek require the advance approval of the telecommuter’s supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate termination of the telecommuting agreement.
Leave must be approved in the same manner as when the employee works at the primary work location.
Income taxes will be withheld based upon the location of the employee’s established on-site office, no on the location which the employee telecommutes. Employees may wish to consult their tax advisor with respect to other tax consequences of working from home, such as deductions for a home office.
Review and Ending the Formal Arrangement
The department is responsible for periodically reviewing the impact of the telecommuting arrangements on productivity and service. Formal arrangements should be reviewed annually.
The university may terminate the telecommuting agreement at any time with or without cause. The decision is final in terms of administrative review. The employee may request to end the arrangement, as well, but it is at the university’s discretion to end the arrangement.
At least 30 days’ notice should be provided to the employee, if possible. There may be instances, however, when no notice is possible.