Personnel – General
|EWU Policy: 401-10||Authority: EWU Board of Trustees|
|Effective: December 9, 2022||Proponent: Vice President for Business & Finance|
Purpose: This policy prescribes standards and procedures for employees who work remotely. A remote employee is someone who works at a location outside of Washington or whose official work location is their personal residence. This does not include employees who are temporarily working from another location, referred to as telecommuting. Telecommuting standards and procedures are contained in EWU Policy 401-09 (Teleworking).
History: This policy is new and was adopted by the Board of Trustees on December 9, 2022.
Applicability: This policy applies to all employees of Eastern Washington University.
CHAPTER 1- WORK LOCATION
1-1. Work Location/Duty Station
An official work location/duty station must be identified by supervisors for each position. The work location/duty station is designated by EWU for the benefit of EWU and not based on an individual employee’s preference. In almost all cases, official work locations should be on a EWU campus and should be the location where employees spend the majority of their time working. Job descriptions for remote employees must reflect that the employee’s position is remote.
1-2. Change of Work Location
Any request by an employee to change a work location must be submitted to their supervisor and approved in advance by the applicable vice president or president. A change in work location should only be approved if modifying the work location/duty station is for the benefit of EWU.
1-3. Remote Work
Temporary work from an alternative work location is considered teleworking and is addressed in EWU Policy 401-09 (Teleworking).
A remote employee is an employee who works at a location outside of Washington or whose official work location is their personal residence, whether in Washington or another state. A remote employee’s official work location is their remote work location for purposes of travel, reimbursement, and compensation. An employee is considered remote only if all of the employee’s work occurs remotely, except for occasional travel to campus for meetings, events, or trainings. If an employee works at an EWU owned or operated site, they are not considered remote.
An employee may only be identified as a remote employee if such an arrangement is for the benefit of EWU and is not based on an individual’s preference. Supervisors are not permitted to work remotely unless all the people they directly supervise also work remotely.
All remote employees must have a remote work agreement in place. Such agreements must be responsive to the changing needs of the university and must be reviewed and updated annually. Approval for remote work may be revoked at any time, with notice to the employee, at the university’s discretion.
EWU does not maintain or equip workspaces for remote employees whose official work location is their personal residence. Employees are responsible for providing their own office furniture. Supervisors may, at their discretion, provide materials and supplies. The university is not responsible for costs of building/home maintenance, utilities, or maintenance of employee-owned equipment used for remote work.
Travel from the remote work location is governed by EWU’s travel policies.
1-4. Out-of-State Remote Work Locations
Employees’ work locations may be outside of Washington when they are hired to perform their job duties out-of-state or when they receive advance approval for remote work. Requests to perform remote work outside of Washington must be approved by the applicable vice president or the president and must be supported by a compelling policy or critical skill-based, military, or family health circumstances. If such a request is approved, the vice president or president will notify Human Resources of the approved change in work location and the person’s job description will be modified to reflect this change in status.
Employees who work for EWU outside of Washington are responsible for verifying that their address is correctly reflected in the employee self-service application system. Taxes, payroll deductions, workers’ compensation, and employment laws differ in every state. Employees shall notify and work with the Payroll Office to determine whether or not EWU is responsible for withholding state income taxes based on the particular state where the employee is residing and/or working from. Additionally, some benefits that are generally available to EWU employees may not apply when an employee is working outside of the state, such as Paid Family & Medical Leave. Other benefits vary depending on the state where the work is performed.
1-5. Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation benefits and coverage differ depending on the state where the employee performs their job functions and where an injury occurred. Coverage is determined based on the applicable state’s workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation does not apply to non-job related injuries that occur in the home.
Employees are responsible for addressing and resolving any questions about the employee’s ability to deduct expenses related to remote work.
CHAPTER 2- INTERNATIONAL REMOTE WORK LOCATIONS
Requests for a remote work location outside of the United States should only be approved in extraordinary circumstances for a temporary period of time. This chapter does not apply to someone who is on vacation or off contract and may be traveling internationally. It also does not apply to travel to a conference.
EWU employees working in a foreign country are subject to the laws of the foreign country, city, or region where the work is performed. In most cases, EWU is required to register and establish an in-country presence before any work can be performed in a foreign country. EWU does not have a registered legal presence in any foreign countries; thus, establishing a work location outside of the United States is generally prohibited as both EWU and the individual employee may be at risk for violating the foreign country’s laws.
An employee may request an international remote work location only in the case of extraordinary circumstances. Such a request must be made at least 4 months prior to the employee relocating and must be made to the employee’s supervisor, consistent with the remote work provisions outlined in section 1-3, and must be approved by the applicable vice president and the president’s office. Requests are only permitted as a temporary accommodation. Typically, legal restrictions and regulatory requirements prohibit arrangements beyond 3-6 months.
All employee compensation is paid in United States currency. Direct deposit payments must be made to a United States bank account. Employees are responsible for updating their address via the university’s employee self-service system and are responsible and liable for addressing and resolving any compliance obligations created by their work outside of the United States including, but not limited to, income and social taxes, health insurance, foreign bank account reporting, and immigration requirements. EWU cannot provide individual employees with legal or tax advice about international employment.
CHAPTER 3 – REMOTE WORK APPROVAL & MONITORING
3-1. Remote Work Request & Approval Process
Existing faculty and staff may request a remote work arrangement by submitting an online request form from the Human Resources website. The request must be reviewed and approved by their supervisor, applicable appointing authority, and vice president. Alternatively, a remote work arrangement may be requested and approved at the time of hire.
The university considers remote work to be a privilege and not an employee right. Supervisors may change the duty station for university business reasons with advanced notice to employee consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements or policies.
Remote work arrangements do not change salary, benefits, job responsibilities, leave policies, or other terms of employment. The supervisor, with Human Resource guidance, shall ensure terms and conditions of employment remain the same.
In assessing the feasibility of a remote work request, supervisors shall consider the following:
• Remote work is for the benefit of EWU and is not based on an individual’s preference as required under section 1-3
• Adequacy and security of the technology resources available at the home work site; the employee must have the minimal amount of bandwidth available as defined by the FCC Broadband Speed Guide
• That all of the required functions of the position can be successfully completed remotely
• The needs of and the impact on the work group, department and the university
• Anticipated benefits to the department
• Interactions required between the remote worker and other staff members or customers
• Employee’s demonstrated skills and experience at EWU.
3-2. Remote Work Agreement
The employee and supervisor shall specify the terms of the individual remote work arrangement on a Remote Work Agreement form. A Remote Work Agreement form must be completed and approved before an employee begins working remotely. Forms are available at: https://inside.ewu.edu/hr/forms/.
3-3. Supervisory Responsibilities
Supervisors are responsible for monitoring remote employee’s work and maintain documentation of hours worked and tasks performed on a form provided by Human Resources. Reports must be available for periodic audit by EWU.
3-4. Information Security
Employees are responsible for the security of university information and equipment, regardless of their work location.
Supervisors shall ensure that:
- Remote work arrangements comply with university information security standards as prescribed by EWU Policy 203-01, Information Security;
- Employees fully understand and have the technical expertise to comply with the safety and security requirements; and,
- Remote workers have the technology and equipment that can support security requirements.
Remote workers shall make reasonable efforts to protect university equipment, data and passwords in the remote worker’s possession from unauthorized use, damage (beyond normal wear and tear) or loss.
3-5. Safety and Ergonomics
The employee is responsible for notifying the supervisor or manager immediately regarding any safety or ergonomic concerns at the remote work site.
The employee shall:
- Maintain a safe remote work environment by complying with the Environmental Health and Safety office guidelines;
- Provide an appropriate remote work space, with ergonomically correct chair, desk and computer equipment; and,
- Immediately report any work-related accident by completing an incident report and submitting it to the Environmental Health and Safety Office.
EHS is available for consultation about how to set up and maintain a work environment.