2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 
    
    Apr 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 [ARCHIVED COPY]

Teleworking Policy


Policy Number: 8.2.56
Effective Date: February 27, 2023
Revision History:  September 28, 2022; January 1, 2022
Policy Contact:  Director, Payroll and Benefits

I. Purpose and Policy Statement

Georgia Gwinnett College recognizes the importance of work-life balance. Telework is made available with the understanding that GGC seeks to balance employee solutions with appropriate on-campus support for our students and community culture. Teleworking is considered a privilege and allowed on a voluntary basis, where approved by the direct supervisor, and Vice President or equivalent (cabinet member) and in adherence to this policy. Employees who fill job classifications and positions that have been designated as eligible for telework may submit a written request for consideration to telework from their home location. The Telework program is an employer option, not an employee right and is appropriate only when it results in a benefit to the institution. Telework may not be suitable for all employees or for all positions.

The purpose of this policy is to define the teleworking program, guidelines and rules under which it will operate. This policy is designed to help managers and employees understand this type of work environment and their associated responsibilities. This policy provides the general framework for teleworkers and is not intended to address the special conditions and needs of all employees or circumstances.

II. Scope

This policy applies to employees who meet the criteria to participate in teleworking.

III. Definitions

Alternate Workplace: A worksite in the state of Georgia other than the employee’s usual and customary worksite (primary workplace). The alternate workplace may include the employee’s home.

Eligible Employees: An employee, in an eligible position, who has been identified by the employee’s supervisor as satisfactorily meeting performance standards, terms, and conditions of employment of their position. The employee shall have no active formal disciplinary or performance-related actions on file for the current or preceding 12-month calendar year period.

Eligible Positions: The position must be structured to be performed independently of others and with minimal need for support and without impacting service quality or organizational operations. The eligibility of a position for teleworking may change depending on circumstances.

Primary Workplace: The teleworker’s usual and customary workplace.

Teleworker: A person who works at an alternate workplace to produce an agreed-upon work product. All teleworkers must complete the telework agreement.

Teleworking: Working at a location other than the employee’s usual and customary workplace.

Teleworking Agreement: The signed document that outlines the understanding between GGC and the employee regarding the teleworking arrangement. The teleworking agreement documents the mandatory policies in effect and the results of any other agreements between the supervisor and the teleworker. The agreement must be signed by both parties prior to the start of the telework period agreeing that both parties will abide by the terms and conditions of teleworking. The agreement must be reviewed and considered for renewal every six months to ensure that the guidelines for participating in the program indicate continued eligibility and are well understood. A supervisor may elect to revise the agreement when a need arises. In addition, the teleworking agreement should be reviewed and revised if necessary, when there is a change in supervisor, job responsibilities, or change in work circumstances or performance. The agreement will have a place where the employee acknowledges that he or she has read and agrees to the terms of the policy and items listed in the agreement. Any employee who teleworks must sign a Telework Agreement.

Telework Manager: Management personnel authorized by GGC to approve/manage telework agreements in their department.

IV. Equipment and Supplies
  1. The employee is expected to use their own furniture, telephone lines, and other equipment. Any use of private facilities of the employee will be at the employee’s discretion and not at the behest or expense of GGC. This applies to all physical improvements and conveniences as well as services. In order for an employee to participate in this voluntary initiative the employee shall be responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary electronic communication, including but not limited to, home-based internet and other necessary sources to communicate and complete work assignments from home.
  2. In no situation should GGC-owned equipment be installed in an employee’s home. GGC, at its sole discretion where budget resources are available, may give written permission for certain equipment, for example computers, to be checked out and used at the alternate worksite. Since GGC’s equipment is the property of the state, GGC must retain the responsibility for the inventory and maintenance of state-owned property following state laws and procedures.
V. Telework Schedule
  1. The institution seeks to maintain an appropriate in-person campus presence in support of the needs of our students and campus community. Each employee who teleworks shall develop a work schedule with the employee’s supervisor and the employee’s supervisor must agree in advance to any changes to the employee’s work schedule.
  2. In general, positions that are deemed suitable for telework schedules may allow up to two days per week, notwithstanding exclusions otherwise listed in the policy. Exempt employees are required to record telework days on their monthly timesheet with the Time Reporting Code 00TWM-Teleworking Exempt to designate the time as work performed off campus under this policy. Nonexempt employees are required to report telework days on their biweekly timesheet with the Time Reporting Code of 00TWH-Teleworking Non-Exempt. Non-exempt employees subject to mandatory overtime must obtain approval from their supervisor before performing overtime. A non-exempt employee working overtime without such approval may cause the department to terminate the teleworking option and/or take other appropriate action. The employee must obtain approval in advance from their supervisor before taking leave during a designated telework day.
  3. The employee must maintain contact with the office as specified in the work schedule, department policy, and telework agreement. An employee’s activities outside the time of work or outside the place designated for work will be deemed to be in the employee’s own personal time and place, unconnected with work activities.
VI. Process and Procedures
  1. Telework may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions. GGC can implement teleworking as a work option for certain eligible employees based on specific criteria and procedures consistently applied throughout the department. Administrative support positions and front-office facing roles, if determined to be eligible for telework, may only telework one day per week. Offices involving emergency operations, front-facing customer service-based roles, telephone support, meeting and planning coordination, building support, and other services or positions as deemed ineligible by GGC, may be excluded from consideration under this policy.
  2. Telework Managers who choose to consider telework for employees shall be responsible for the following:
    1. Establishing expectations for and monitoring of employee performance;
    2. Identifying eligible positions suitable for telework;
    3. Identifying eligible employees;
    4. Determining if office-like space is required;
    5. Determining if equipment will be provided to the employee to use at home (see “Equipment and Supplies”);
    6. Establishing how the teleworker will maintain regular contact with office coworkers and supervisors;
    7. Determining how the department will handle restricted access materials, security issues, and taking electronic or paper records from the primary workplace (see “Security and Access to Information”);
    8. Ensuring that practices are consistent and compliant with state, Board of Regents, and institutional policy and state and federal law in the use of technology;
    9. Delivering telework training to employees;
    10. Ensuring that individual work schedules and reporting for non-exempt employees are in compliance with FLSA regulations and Board of Regents policy;
    11. Ensuring that each employee’s request to telework is considered in relation to the department’s operating and customer needs;
    12. Requiring a Teleworking Agreement; and,
    13. Ensuring that employees approved for telework record their telework days as “Teleworking” on the appropriate institutional leave records.
VII. Conditions of Employment

The teleworker’s conditions of employment remain the same as for non-teleworking employees. Employee salary, benefits, and employer-sponsored insurance coverage will not change as a result of teleworking. The employee shall adhere to all policies, rules, and regulations of GGC, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and state while teleworking. Further, an employee must have the willingness of their supervisor to perform the necessary supervisory responsibilities required for teleworking. The employee agrees not to conduct personal business while in official duty status at the alternate workplace.

VIII. Work Site and Work Hours
  1. A defined workspace and defined core work hours are necessary to facilitate proper management of teleworkers and to ensure work is conducted in a productive environment.
  2. As a condition of permission to telework, the employee must verify that home facilities used for telework purposes are safe and suitable for purposes of the employee’s work. The department may deny an employee the opportunity to telework if the alternate worksite is not conducive to productive work. The employee will be provided a self-certification checklist as part of the application to telework. The checklist is necessary to help the employee know if their alternate workplace is conducive to productive work.
  3. An employee approved to telework shall be responsible for setting up an appropriate work environment within their home. GGC will not be responsible for any cost associated with the setup of a home office. An employee will be required to provide GGC with a statement within ten (10) working days of the request to telework confirming that they have met the reasonable standards to include health and safety requirements (including an ergonomically sound workstation) and promise to maintain it in the condition for the duration of the telecommuting period.
IX. Expenses and Compensable Time

Work-related phone calls whether local or long-distance should be made via the Microsoft Teams, Zoom, softphone or other computer-based calling features. The institution will not be responsible for any cost incurred as a result of a telework schedule. The teleworker is responsible for the cost of maintenance, repair, and operation of personal equipment.

X. Telework Coordination

The Office of Human Resources-Payroll and Benefits will ensure the appropriate coordination of the telework program. Payroll and Benefits will serve as a liaison to departments and the Statewide Telework Coordinator. Payroll and Benefits will provide guidance and clarification to departments on telework, act as a liaison regarding compliance with policies, procedures, and guidelines and will report the results of telework in the agency to any outside agency as required.

XI. Security and Access to Information

The teleworker is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and security at the alternate workplace, as the teleworker would at the primary workplace. The employee must protect the security and integrity of data, information, paper files, and access to agency computer systems. All institutional policies on Information Technology and Internet and technology use apply to teleworking, as they would in the primary workplace.  All Teleworkers will complete IT Security Awareness Training prior to Teleworking. Teleworkers must confirm proof of compliance with this training requirement with their manager prior to submission of the telework agreement.

XII. Child and Dependent Care

Teleworking is not a substitute for childcare or dependent care. The teleworker shall continue to make arrangements for child or dependent care to the same extent as if the teleworker was working at the primary workplace.

XIII. Liability
  1. The employee’s home workspace when used for telework is an extension of the department workspace. GGC’s liability for job-related accidents will continue to exist during the approved work schedule and in the employee’s designated work location. The teleworker is covered under the State’s Workers’ Compensation Law for injuries occurring in the course of the actual performance of official duties at the alternate workplace.
  2. If an injury occurs during teleworking work hours, then the employee shall immediately report the injury to the supervisor. The employee and supervisor should contact Payroll and Benefits to report the injury as soon as possible after the occurrence.
  3. The State of Georgia and GGC are not responsible for any injuries to family members, visitors, and others in the employee’s home. The teleworker may not have business guests at the alternate workplace.
  4. To the extent permitted by law, the employee will not attempt to hold GGC or the state responsible or liable for any loss or liability in any way connected to the employee’s non-work-related use of their own home.
  5. The teleworker is responsible for contacting the teleworker’s insurance agent and a tax consultant and consulting local ordinances for information regarding home workplaces.
XIV. Employee Participation in Program
  1. Offering the opportunity to telework is a management option and is not an employee right. An employee’s participation in the telework program is entirely voluntary. The College, the Vice President, or the operating unit may deny the request, in whole, or in part; revoke the employee’s remote work privileges in whole, or in part or temporarily suspend or alter the telework agreement at any time and for any reason. This decision is not subject to the grievance procedure or grievance policies. Additional factors considered in determining if an employee can work remotely or continue to work remotely include, but are not limited to: the employee’s willingness to work specified schedules when necessary, and to report to campus when job functions would require it, or as requested to do so by the supervisor; the responsiveness of the employee while working remotely and the extent to which the employee makes him/herself available during working hours. The level of service provided by the operating unit may not decrease as a result of an employee’s telework agreement.
  2. The operating unit is responsible for periodically reviewing the impact of teleworking schedules on productivity and service. Telework agreements may be granted only when (1) the change will not interfere with the efficient operation of GGC, (2) the employee’s performance will not be adversely affected, (3) the Vice President or designee has approved the telework agreement, and (4) where other operating factors have been considered and the telework agreement has been deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
  3. For applicable forms, questions, or time card management issues, please contact Payroll and Benefits.
XV. Related Regulations, Statutes, Policies, and Procedures

USG HRAP Teleworking/Flextime Policy