315 - Telecommuting
Responsible Officer: Chief Human Resources Officer
Reference: MMB HR/LR Policy # 1422, M.S. 16E.05, subd.3, Government Information Access
PURPOSE: The following policy and procedure has been developed to provide direction and guidelines to Minnesota State College Southeast administrators, supervisors and employees in the use of telecommuting. Telecommuting is a management tool that provides flexibility in meeting customer needs and business goals.
This policy does not apply to employees who:
- Work at home on a short-term basis or as a temporary or reasonable accommodation.
- Are mobile workers or homeworkers - as condition of employment
- Are working from home under pandemic situations
PART 1. POLICY
CONDITIONS OF TELECOMMUTING
- Telecommuting is at the discretion of the college and may be terminated at any time by Minnesota State College Southeast or the telecommuter with a minimum 14-day notice. Advance notification of the termination is required to ensure adequate space is available and employee schedules are maintained.
- Request must be made by completing MSC Southeast Telecommuter request form and provide a 14-day notice for approval or upon mutual agreement and to ensure expectations and schedules are maintained.
- The telecommuter must comply with all state and federal laws and College policies, procedures and processes. Failure to comply may result in the loss of telecommuting privileges and/or disciplinary action.
- Duties, obligations, responsibilities and conditions of employment with Minnesota State College Southeast remain unchanged including salary, retirement benefits, and state-sponsored insurance coverage.
- Managers, supervisors and employees must follow the provisions of collective bargaining agreements and personnel plans when planning and implementing telecommuting.
- Telecommuting arrangements must comply with State and Federal laws including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which regulates the payment of overtime for exempt and non-exempt employees.
- Telecommuting is not a substitute for dependent care, child care, or elder care.
- Telecommuting must not result in excessive additional work for staff at the official work location.
- Telecommuters may not receive any advantage or disadvantage for purposes of position upgrade and/or promotion as a result of telecommuting.
- Telecommuters and their supervisors will participate in periodic reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure.
Supervisors will assess each request on a case-by-case basis. Factors to consider may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Needs of the work unit
- Employee's work duties
- Adequate supervision of the employee
- Employee's current and past job performance
- Effects on customer service
- Positive/negative effects on the work unit or division
- Availability of equipment and appropriate work space
- Anticipated additional costs, if any
- Ability to measure the work performed
- Level of work skills, i.e., time management, organizational skills, self-motivation, and ability to work independently
- Additional parameters developed to address unique circumstances
Seniority will not be a factor in approving or denying employee requests to telecommute.
PART 2. PROCEDURES
- The employee will complete a Telecommuting Request Form which will be reviewed by the supervisor.
- The supervisor, through the appropriate chain of command, will recommend approval or denial to the President's Cabinet to ensure consistency and equity.
- The President's Cabinet will review the Telecommuting Request Form and indicate approval or denial of the request on the form.
- Approval or denial of the request will be communicated in writing to the employee by the supervisor, with a copy provided to Human Resources.
- The original signed request and a copy of the approval will be placed in the employee's personnel file in Human Resources.
- Assessment of the agreement will be discussed between employee and supervisor initially at the end of the first three months and annually thereafter for business need or position changes.
The supervisor and the telecommuter determine the work schedule. The work schedule and hours of work shall be consistent with the requirements in the applicable collective bargaining agreement or plan. Telecommuters are to attend all work-related meetings. Teleworkers are expected to attend meetings as scheduled using applicable technology. Meetings may be scheduled with short notice to the telecommuter using applicable technology. With reasonable notice, Telecommuter may be required to attend on site campus meetings. Telecommuter must notify the official work location if they leave their alternate work sites during core hours.
- The supervisor must notify the IT Department of any state equipment used by the telecommuter at the alternate work site. The notification must include the telecommuter's name, division or office and the equipment's description, serial number and state asset numbers.
- When employees use system-owned or state-owned equipment, the College is responsible for maintenance and repair of the equipment, along with any related costs.
- Telecommuters who use their personal equipment are responsible for maintenance and repair of the equipment.
- 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 telecommuter from performing assigned tasks, the telecommuter must notify the supervisor immediately and may be assigned to perform a different task and/or be required report to an alternate location or to the official work location.
- Additional equipment may be purchased at the employer's discretion and installed at the telecommuter's remote work location.
- Printing costs and supplies are the responsibility of the telecommuter. If large volume printing is required for assigned duties, access to campus printing using Remote Desktop or - at the discretion of the college - a college-owned printer and supplies at the telecommute location can be provided.
- Telecommuters must return any state equipment, software, products, documents and data if they terminate their employment with the College, they go on an extended leave of absence or the telecommuting arrangement is ended.
- Equipment, software, data, supplies and furniture provided by the College for use at the alternate work site are:
- For purposes of conducting the business of the College only
- Not to be used by non-college employees
- Not to be used for personal purposes
- The College owns any software products, documents, reports or data create as a result of work-related activities.
- Telecommuters will return state-owned hardware, software, supplies, equipment and documents and other information and property to the College prior to termination of telecommuting or employment or upon the request of the College.
- Data Practices Act. Provisions of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and program data privacy policies must be followed when performing work at home and/or at an alternate work location. The telecommuter and supervisor should discuss the type and form of data which will be taken to and from the alternate work location and agree on the security and transfer process necessary to meet the needs of their assignment.
- Security. Telecommuters must provide reasonable security for the data and information that is transported to and from their office site. Simple measures such as removing documents and/or data that contain sensitive data from desk areas and placing them in secure storage may prevent a major and, potentially costly, security breach or loss of information.
- Privacy and Confidentiality. Telecommuters needing restricted access information while working at alternate work locations will discuss the need with their supervisor before taking such information off-site. The telecommuter is responsible for protecting the privacy and confidentiality of data at alternate work locations the same as they would be in the assigned office.
- Data Retention. Data created and maintained on the telecommuter's home computer, if generated for the purpose of conducting state business, is subject to the State's records management statutes. This means proper retention and disposal procedures are required and such data remains the property of the State.
- Employees must designate a primary telework location, 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 remote 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 designated alternate work site is considered an extension of a state work site, only during scheduled telecommuting working hours.
- The telecommuter's designated alternate work space is considered an extension of the state agency during the agreed upon work hours and the telecommuter is subject to the same standards of conduct and work place rules required of non-telecommuting employees.
- Minnesota State College Southeast does not assume responsibility for third party injuries or property damage that may occur at the home residence or within the designated alternative workspace.
- In person business meetings may not be held at home work sites.
- The College is not responsible for third-party injury or property damage that occurs at the alternate work site.
- The College is responsible for insuring state equipment.
- Telecommuters must take steps to minimize damage or theft of state equipment at the alternate work sites
- The College is not liable for any damage or theft of employee-owned equipment.
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 Minnesota State College Southeast. Record of poor productivity or other related performance issues may lead to dismissal of the agreement.
- Supplies needed for remote workspace should be obtained through the normal supply procurement procedures.
- Prior approval must be obtained from the supervisor for expenses that will be incurred. Approved expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with existing Minnesota State College Southeast policies.
- Telecommuters and supervisors must comply with state policies regarding long distance costs and reimbursements. They must determine the most cost-effective means for meeting telephone requirements.
- Supervisors must designate the telecommuter's primary campus work location for travel expense reimbursement purposes. This must be documented in the telecommuting agreement.
- Travel expenses between a telecommuter's home and the primary work location shall be considered commute mileage and is not subject to reimbursement. If the employee is working at an alternate site (not home and not the primary work location), the mileage from the primary work location to the alternate work site and back may be reimbursable in accordance with the employee's collective bargaining agreement or personnel plan.
A telecommuter who is scheduled to be working at home on a day that is declared to be a weather emergency is expected to work at home as scheduled.
Federal and state tax implications of telecommuting and use of a home office are the responsibility of the employee.
Adopted: April 2021