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HR-522 Telework Arrangements Q&A

1. What are teleworking and flexible work arrangements?
Telework (or ‘telecommuting’) is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work is performed from home or another off-site location. In general, regular work hours are worked and deviations from that schedule require supervisory approval.

Flexible work (i.e. ‘flex work schedules’) involves setting a flexible time of day employees can start and stop work, while maintaining awareness of what core hours need to be maintained. Each department must consider the needs, goals, performance standards, and schedule within the core service hours. Ex: Employees may work anytime between 7:30 am – 5:30 pm, so long as they work 8 hours a day and/or 40 hours a week.

2. Who is responsible for establishing telework or flexible work arrangements?
Employees and supervisors can propose implementing telework or flexible scheduling. However, supervisors have the responsibility to determine if these arrangements are appropriate and approved on either a case-by-case basis or as a program within their department.

Please consult your Human Resources Business Partner for additional guidance.

3. How are the needs of all employees who wish to work remotely or a flexible work schedule balanced?
Decisions for approving requests should be based on organizational needs and the ability to serve the university students, patients, customers, and the public. To effectively manage for results, criteria for success should be established at the beginning.

4. Is it necessary to have a signed arrangement/agreement form to work remotely or have a flexible work arrangement?
The Telework Arrangement form should be used to help the supervisor and employee have a shared understanding of the details of the telework arrangement. The Telework Arrangement form is not a contract of employment and does not alter the at-will status of any at-will University employee.

Telework arrangements may be modified at any time, including based on operational needs and employee performance.

5. What if I normally work 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, but would prefer to work noon – 9:00 pm by telework? Is this possible?
Telework and flexible work arrangements should be focused on the organizational needs and objective criteria related to work performance and job demands. A consistent approach to analyzing the situation should be applied. Circumstances may exist where the work is not suitable for alternative working hours, or circumstances may change causing the pre-approved arrangement to adjust.

It is important to communicate to all employees within the team what decisions have been made and its rationale. Documenting the basis for these decisions is important in case questions arise.

Please consult your Human Resources Business Partner for additional guidance.

6. What happens if an employee does not follow the agreed-upon work hours while working remotely (e.g. starts work later or stops working earlier)?
Working remotely and/or having a flexible work schedule requires increased communication to be effective. Employees should communicate with their supervisors of any desired and/or necessary deviations from the approved telework arrangement.

The general expectation for these arrangements is that the employee will effectively accomplish their regular job duties, regardless of work location, including following approved telework arrangement work schedules. The inability to meet job expectations may lead to disciplinary action, including but not limited to termination or modification of the telework arrangement.

7. What happens if I need to take a day off?
Employees shall continue to follow department established guidelines for attendance and requesting approval for time off.

8. How do employees record their time worked and/or their paid-time-off (vacation, sick, personal days)? How do supervisors approve timesheets?
Reporting hours worked and paid time off for employees who telework and/or have flexible work arrangements follow the same practices as those who work on campus or have traditional work hours.

9. What is most important to starting and maintaining a productive teleworking arrangement?
Clearly outlined arrangements and planning can prove beneficial to employees and supervisors alike. With proper planning, communication problems can be minimized. Additionally, a well-planned and continually assessed flexible work arrangement can sometimes enable departments to extend their service hours and to make more effective use of space and equipment.

10. What if an employee needs EAP support?
All employees—regardless of eligibility for other benefits—have access to free, confidential help for personal or professional challenges. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides counseling services and occupational stress programs. You may also choose to connect with a provider from the comfort of home with the behavioral health services available through University insurance.

Visit https://www.umsystem.edu/totalrewards/benefits/eap for more information in regards to the UM System's Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Date Created: 05/23/2020
Last Updated: 03/23/2021

Reviewed 2021-03-23