|University of Arkansas at Little Rock|
|Policy Name: Flexible Work Arrangements and Remote Work Policy
|Policy Number: 402.70|
|Effective Date: 04/27/2022
|Revised Date: –|
|Most Recent Review Date: –|
This policy pertains to all classified, non-classified, and extra help employees as appropriate. This policy does not apply to faculty members. This policy may not apply to some grant-funded positions.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) permits flexible work arrangements and remote work in certain circumstances where it is consistent with the efficient operation of the campus and the effective delivery of services to students and the public. These arrangements provide employees with increased flexibility with their work schedules while allowing UA Little Rock to maintain a progressive and productive work environment.
FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS
Flexible work arrangements are distinct from the informal practice of an employee occasionally working remotely or working a different schedule with his or her manager’s approval on a short-term, day-to-day basis. Temporary changes to an employee’s regular work schedule in order to adjust for an unplanned, short-notice, or sporadic event can be approved at the department level and should be documented by the departmental manager without going through the detailed approval process outlined in this policy. Further, this policy is not intended to address schedule modifications or scheduling assignments made by a manager to fulfill the operational needs of the department. However, anyone working remotely, even if occasionally or sporadically, is bound by the remote work procedures within this policy.
While University employees may request a flexible work arrangement, not all positions may lend themselves to flexible work. All requests for a flexible work arrangement will be considered on a case-by-case basis where work schedules have been shown to accomplish the University’s mission and goals and provide coverage for individual department operations. Initiation of a flexible work arrangement may be at the request of either the University or the employee. Flexible work arrangements are entered into at the discretion of the University. Participation in flexible work arrangements is voluntary on the part of the employee, except in cases where it is a requirement of the position and notification has been provided to the employee.
The manager may reevaluate the appropriateness of a flexible work arrangement at any time. The University has the authority to modify or terminate the flexible work arrangement at its discretion. An employee wishing to change or cancel a flexible work arrangement must obtain written approval from his or her manager. All flexible work arrangements are subject to applicable laws and University policies.
Possible Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
Examples of flexible work arrangements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Alteration of start and/or end times in which an employee works eight hours per workday, but there is flexibility in an employee’s set scheduled starting and ending times.
- Compressed workweeks in which an employee works 10 hours per weekday, reducing the workweek to four days a week.
- Compressed workweeks in which an employee works nine-hour workdays Monday through Thursday and four hours each Friday.
All remote work arrangements are considered hybrid assignments, meaning the employee will work both on-campus and remotely. Any exceptions or requests for fully remote work arrangements must be approved by the Chancellor.
Each employee approved to work remotely must be able to perform all essential job duties while working remotely and work with his or her manager in managing the work expectations. The manager will have regular interactions with the employee by phone, email, and other telecommunications options, such as Zoom or Google Meet; however, the manager may require face-to-face meetings as needed. The employee must be on-site as required by the manager to attend meetings, training sessions, or other work-related activities;
No in-person work meetings may be conducted at the remote work location unless specified by the position and approved by the manager.
Please Note: If an employee is working at the University under a work visa, any conditions related to work location must be satisfied.
All existing employees approved for remote work must have a satisfactory performance record and satisfactory attendance record.
When there is no record of satisfactory performance or attendance, such as with a new employee, the manager, in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor, will clearly communicate to the employee that they will monitor both the employee’s performance and attendance on an ongoing basis to ensure that the employee consistently meets the standards for remote work. To retain the benefits of a remote work arrangement, the employee must demonstrate on an ongoing basis satisfactory performance and attendance.
The following listing of positions are generally not eligible for remote work arrangements:
- Positions with constituent-facing responsibilities;
- Positions that require direct supervision;
- Positions that rely on face-to-face interactions;
- Positions that would be cost-prohibited to work from home;
- Work conducted from a location outside of the State of Arkansas; and/or
- Positions designated by the Vice-Chancellor of the respective departments.
Working Outside of the State of Arkansas
Because work conducted from a location outside the State of Arkansas can involve multiple tax and employment considerations, creating possible cost and compliance-related issues for the University, work conducted on more than a very brief and temporary basis from such a remote location is generally prohibited for employees and shall require written justification as well as Vice Chancellor-level approval.
The employee must determine any tax or legal implications under IRS, state, and local government laws with regards to his or her personal tax filing. Responsibility for fulfilling all obligations in this area rests solely with the employee. Income taxes for employees will generally be withheld as required by the state where the employee is physically located when performing the work associated with the income, which for all but a very small number of specifically authorized employees is within the State of Arkansas. Employees may wish to consult his or her tax advisor with respect to these and other tax consequences of working remotely, such as deductions for a home office.
If any work location is approved for outside the State of Arkansas, the employing department shall notify the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.
An employee who performs work for the University from a location outside the State of Arkansas without first obtaining approval as required by this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
After the approval of the Department of Human Resources and the Vice-Chancellor, a manager should enter into a trial remote work arrangement for a specific period of time. At the end of the trial period, the manager will evaluate the arrangement and make recommendations for continuance or modifications. The recommendations should focus on work output, completion of assigned tasks and objectives, as well as, the effectiveness of agreed-upon levels and frequency of communication between the employee and manager.
Temporary Remote Work Arrangements
Temporary remote work arrangements are defined as those approved on an as-needed basis only with no expectation of ongoing continuance. Temporary remote work arrangements may be approved for circumstances such as special projects or business travel. Such arrangements must be approved by the employee’s manager.
Other temporary remote work arrangements may be made for employees on certain Family and Medical Leave to the extent practical for the employee and the organization and with the consent of the employee’s health care provider, if appropriate. Any such arrangements must be approved and documented, in writing, by the employee’s manager after consulting with the Department of Human Resources.
Temporary remote work arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis, focusing first on the business needs of the University.
Property, Supplies, and Expenses
If a remote work arrangement is at the request of the employee and agreed to through the approval process, basic computing equipment (such as a laptop, desktop computer, or monitor) should generally be provided and maintained by the University. The University will supply the employee with the appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) as deemed necessary. The employee is responsible for the cost of any other equipment or supplies.
If a remote work arrangement is a requirement of the position, the University will provide any basic computing equipment needed for the position (such as a laptop, desktop computer, and monitor). For such positions, the department may also consider reasonable requests for other types of standard equipment and supplies needed to perform job duties successfully. When remote work is a requirement of the position, the employee may request reimbursement for additional, authorized expenses specifically incurred in connection with the remote work in accordance with applicable policies.
Equipment provided by the University remains the property of the University and must be accounted for in accordance with campus policies. If equipment is provided for a remote work arrangement, the employee’s specific remote work location must be clearly identified in Workday. The equipment must be returned to campus upon the termination of the remote work arrangement. University-owned equipment should only be used for university business.
The University will not be responsible for home maintenance, utilities, or any other operating or incidental costs associated with the use of the home as a remote-work location. The University assumes that most residences have internet service that is sufficient to support remote work and such service will generally not be reimbursed. The employee must maintain a connection to the University’s network with sufficient bandwidth as necessary to perform the position’s duties.
Departments should consider any current and potential remote work needs when making purchasing decisions.
Employees must maintain any equipment charged out to them and must return the equipment in the same condition in which it was originally received, minus normal wear and tear. Employees are personally liable for lost, stolen, or damaged equipment. All lost or stolen equipment must be immediately reported to all those required under University policies.
University resources (regardless of the source of funds) may not be used on any modifications, improvements/upgrades, fixtures, repairs, or installations to property that is not owned or rented by the University (including any personally owned property).
Insurance and Liability Issues
University property such as computers, monitors, fax machines, and other equipment furnished to an employee is the employee’s responsibility while they are not on University premises. It is the employee’s responsibility to make sure that the employee’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies cover injuries, property damage, or loss arising out of or relating to business use of the home. Employees should note that some homeowner and some renters’ insurance policies do not automatically cover injuries or other claims arising out of, or relating to, the business use of the home. For the employee’s protection, employees should have his or her homeowners or renters’ liability policy endorsed to cover bodily injury and property damage or loss (including theft), to all third parties (which would include the University) arising out of or relating to the business use of his or her home. In addition, employees who live in rented property should be aware that his or her lease might not permit business use of the premises.
The University will not be liable for damages to an employee’s personal or real property while the employee is working at the approved remote work location. Should an employee use privately-owned equipment, the employee shall be responsible for equipment repair and maintenance.
The employee is responsible for maintaining his or her remote work location in a safe condition, free from hazards and other dangers to the employee and equipment. The University assumes no liability for injuries occurring in the employee’s remote workspace, other than injuries to the employee which meet the requirements for workers’ compensation coverage pursuant to Arkansas Code Ann. § 11-9-101 et seq. The compensability of workers’ compensation claims is determined by the Public Employee Claims Division of the Arkansas Insurance Department.
Consistent with the University’s expectations of information security for employees working at the office, an employee working remotely will be expected to ensure the protection of University and employee/student information accessible from the employee’s home working location. Steps include the use of locked file cabinets and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other measures appropriate for the job and the environment. Materials, documents, etc., that the employee transports to and from the University work location to the remote work location or which are stored at the remote work location must be kept confidential and secure. The employee agrees to protect University records from unauthorized disclosure or damage and will comply with University policies and procedures regarding such matters.
Any computer or information-technology equipment used in the performance of University business must be used in compliance with all applicable University policies, including with respect to computer and network security and data security. In particular, equipment may be required to satisfy minimum security standards established by University IT Services (see IT Acceptable Use Policy – 208.1, IT System Security and Access Policy – 208.5, Mobile Device Security – 208.7).
Requesting a Flexible Work or Remote Work Arrangements
To request a flexible work or remote work arrangement, an employee should first discuss it with his or her manager. The employee then completes a Flexible Work/Remote Work Arrangement Request Form. The request form is reviewed through the employee’s management chain and the Department of Human Resources to consider whether a flexible work or remote work arrangement may be appropriate based on the needs of the department and the considerations listed below and if so, to work through any necessary details of the arrangement. After the review and approval of the Department of Human Resources, the request is forwarded to the appropriate Vice Chancellor for final review and approval.
Requests should be approved for no longer than one year, though shorter time periods are allowable. Should an employee want to continue with a flexible work schedule or remote work, a new request must be submitted once the approved period ends.
Decisions to approve flexible work and/or remote work arrangements are final and not subject to further review or appeal. Flexible work and remote work arrangements are a privilege and are not subject to grievance procedures. Any approved flexible work or remote work arrangements are subject to all provisions of this policy.
The following guidelines apply to flexible work or remote work arrangements:
- A specific work schedule, including workdays and hours, must be established in advance;
- An employee must maintain the normal workload as outlined in his or her position or as identified by his or her manager;
- An employee who is unable to perform his or her duties during work hours must use appropriate leave; and
- An employee shall cooperate with his or her manager’s efforts to monitor and evaluate the quantity and quality of work.
An employee with a flexible work or remote work arrangement must be available by phone, email, and other means of communication as required by the manager during work hours.
Flexible work or remote work arrangements are not intended to allow for work at other jobs, to run other businesses, to engage in childcare activities, or to engage in other activities that would otherwise result in the employee being required to take leave. The expectation is that normal work requirements, both qualitative and quantitative, must be met. Failure to comply with these restrictions or failure to fulfill normal work requirements on account of non-position-related activities may be cause for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
An employee in a non-exempt position may not work overtime (more than 40 hours in a workweek) without prior authorization from the employee’s manager.
Generally, when an employee requests a flexible work or remote work arrangement (referred to collectively as “arrangement” unless specifically designated otherwise), the following, although not exhaustive of all considerations, should be considered:
- Whether the nature of the work to be performed is appropriate for the arrangement;
- Whether the quality of service can be maintained for students, other members of the University community, and the public;
- Whether the employee has demonstrated sustained productivity and the University reasonably anticipates the employee can maintain the expected quantity and quality of work;
- Whether the employee has demonstrated the ability to work independently;
- Whether the employee’s manager will be able to monitor the employee’s performance effectively;
- If the proposed remote work arrangement involves an alternative work location, whether the employee has demonstrated that the location is a safe, private, and productive work environment;
- Whether the proposed arrangement would present an undue difficulty to the University, its students, or the public;
- The impact that the arrangement would have on others;
- Whether the employee’s position has clearly identified and measurable performance objectives; and
- Whether the department can provide all equipment needs of the employee.
Generally, requests for a flexible work or remote work arrangement should not be granted when:
- The employee has an unsatisfactory attendance and/or performance record;
- The nature of the position requires the employee’s physical presence, including, for example, positions that involve regular interaction with students, staff, visitors, or the general public; that require the use of laboratory and other fixed equipment and facilities; that involve work on-campus physical facilities; or that require in-person work as part of a team or to accomplish an on-site task;
- The employee’s performance evaluations do not indicate sustained productivity;
- The employee’s observed productivity levels are less than desirable;
- The employee requires close supervision as indicated, for example, by the employee’s consistent need for guidance, or the employee’s current assignment requires frequent supervision, direction, or input from others who are on
- The employee is a manager of other employees requiring close, on-site supervision; or
- The schedule would create a pattern of overtime work or cause undue difficulty for the department.
Expected Work Week and Hours
An approved flexible work or remote work arrangement does not change the number of expected hours worked during a day or week. A full-time employee is expected to work a 40-hour workweek. With both flexible work and remote work arrangements, employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to accurately report all hours worked through Workday. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per day and per workweek require the advance approval of the employee’s manager. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate termination of the remote work arrangement.
Failure to comply with provisions of this policy may result in the termination of the flexible work or remote work arrangement and/or disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment in accordance with University policy.
Accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act
This policy is not meant to address medical-related requests for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any request for a flexible work or remote work arrangement due to a disability under ADA should be discussed with the Department of Human Resources and must follow the University’s guidelines for requesting an ADA accommodation.
Documentation and Storage
A copy of all documentation of an approved flexible work or remote work arrangement including the approved Flexible Work/Remote Work Arrangement Request Form and Remote Work agreements, as well as any later revisions to the flexible work and remote work arrangement, should be stored in Workday. In addition, the Department of Human Resources will maintain a central listing of all employees who have been approved for flexible work and remote work arrangements.
Approved By: Dr. Christina Drale, Chancellor
Custodian: Office of Human Resources