Human Resource Services
An approved telework agreement allows an employee to regularly work from home or an alternative work site. Washington State University recognizes telework as a work option that may meet a variety of needs, including, but not limited to:
- Enhancing employee productivity and satisfaction.
- Reducing commute trips.
- Addressing space restrictions.
A telework arrangement may be assigned or established through mutual agreement between a department head and an employee. Alternative work sites or teleworking may be required for some positions. Work location is determined by WSU. Telework arrangements must meet the following requirements:
- Be for a prescribed time.
- Be revocable at the discretion of the responsible dean, vice president, or appointing authority.
- Be subject to prior approval by the responsible dean, vice president, or other appointing authority.
An employee may rescind an agreement to a voluntary telework arrangement by providing notice consistent with the terms of the agreement.
For incidental occurrences, such as inclement weather, University closure, or family emergency care, a formal telework agreement may not be required. The employee must obtain approval from his or her supervisor before working from an alternative work site.
Developing Telework Arrangements
The process of developing telework arrangements involves three steps:
- Assessing the situation and determining feasibility.
- Preparing a Telework Assignment.
- Preparing and authorizing a Telework Agreement.
Faculty and staff may request teleworking from the appropriate dean, vice president, provost, appointing authority, or designee. The University considers voluntary telework to be a privilege and not an employee right. Typically, a telework relationship is not to be established during a faculty or staff employee’s first six months of employment.
Terms of Employment
Telework arrangements do not change salaries, benefits, job responsibilities, leave policies, or other basic terms of employment.
The employee is covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment while teleworking. When the home is the designated workplace, workers’ compensation does not apply to non-job related injuries that occur in the home. An employee whose work is principally localized in another state may require workers’ compensation coverage specific to that location. Contact Human Resource Services for assistance.
For information regarding general liability and automobile liability insurance issues relating to telework contact Risk Management Services.
The employee is responsible for addressing and resolving any questions about using expenses related to telework as tax deductions.
If the faculty or staff member is working from his or her home, the University is not responsible for the cost of utilities or home maintenance. Likewise, the University is not responsible for the cost of maintenance associated with an employee’s personal equipment used for telework.
Before undertaking a telework schedule, supervisors and employees evaluate the feasibility of telework for particular job assignments and develop individual telework arrangements. The supervisor should first determine whether telework arrangements may benefit the organization. The supervisor also determines the feasibility of any individual telework arrangement based upon evaluation of the work to be accomplished, interactions required between the teleworker and other staff members or customers, and demonstrated skills of the employee.
The employee and supervisor are to specify the terms of the individual telework arrangement on the Telework Assignment form, which is used in conjunction with the Telework Agreement (see Telework Agreement below). When completing the Telework Assignment, the supervisor and employee are to consider and document the following aspects of telework.
The employee and supervisor confirm the tasks or scope of work to be completed at the alternate work site, the time frames for completion, and how work will be reviewed or reported and evaluated and measured. The employee is still subject to University policies including the requirement to complete Time/Leave Reports in accordance with BPPM 60.62 and 60.63.
Methods of Communication/Expectations for Availability
The employee and supervisor determine how communication between the teleworker and the work site will be handled. Prescheduled times (core hours) may be established for the teleworker to be available at the alternate work site so that colleagues and clients can interact with the employee. The supervisor or other University officials may make worksite visits or assessments during mutually agreed upon times. The teleworking employee is expected to remain flexible to respond to business requirements, which may include working at the office during a normal telework day.
Executive Policy Manual EP8, University Data Policies, addresses the administration, access, usage, maintenance, and security of University data. The employee and supervisor must consult with the Information Services, Information Security Officer when developing the Telework Assignment. The sensitivity of the information should dictate the level of security precautions taken.
The employee may take copies of records to the alternative work site on an as-needed basis only. Original records are to remain at the campus office location.
The employee and supervisor determine the equipment and supplies that are needed at the alternate work site. They also determine who provides equipment and supplies. Equipment may include a personal computer, printer, fax, etc. The employee and supervisor consult with the Information Services, Information Security Officer regarding security issues related to the use of computing equipment. The employee and supervisor include a discussion of telephone lines and technical support for equipment. The employee and supervisor review the University’s policy regarding use of University equipment and other resources (see BPPM 20.35 and 20.37). The department is to confirm that the employee complies with licensing agreement terms for use of all software owned by the University. The department is to maintain an inventory of University-owned equipment, software, and supplies located at the teleworker’s alternate work site.
Insurance/Loss of Equipment
University equipment and other resources located at the alternate work site are not automatically insured. Departments are encouraged to ensure such equipment by calling Risk Management Services or by viewing online information regarding commercial property insurance at:
If departments choose not to insure, the Telework Assignment should specify under Remarks whether the department or the employee bears the risk of loss. Any loss or damage of University equipment must be reported at once to the teleworker’s supervisor. Loss of University equipment is also reported on an Inventory Control Report (see BPPM 20.50).
Safety and Ergonomics
The employee and supervisor are to work together to establish and maintain a clean and safe dedicated workspace. The employee is responsible for maintaining the telework site in a manner free from health or safety hazards. The supervisor, designee, or University safety officials may make worksite visits or assessments during mutually agreed upon times. The employee is responsible for notifying the supervisor or manager immediately regarding any safety or ergonomic concerns at the telework site. Health or safety hazards at the telework site may result in immediate suspension of the telework arrangement.
The employee, the authorizing supervisor, the appointing authority, and the Information Services, Information Security Officer must confirm and sign a Telework Agreement prior to the commencement of telework. Any additional approval requirements are to be determined by the appointing authority. The required contents of telework agreements are included in the template of the Telework Agreement. Address other terms specific to the individual, the employing unit and the work assignment by attachment.
Telework arrangements may be voluntary and mutually agreed upon by the department and the employee.
Length of Commitment/Reversibility
The employee, supervisor, and appointing authority establish dates when the supervisor and the employee will review the effectiveness of the telework agreement and make any necessary adjustments. Start and end dates are specified in the agreement. The employer may rescind the agreement at any time. Either the employee or the employer may rescind an agreement to a voluntary telework arrangement, consistent with the notice requirements of University policy and the individual agreement.