Flexible Work and Telework Arrangements for SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty Employees

University Policy: 

I. Introduction

UNC Charlotte recognizes that Flexible Work Arrangements can benefit both the University and its employees by enhancing productivity while providing for workplace flexibility. Though Flexible Work Arrangements are not feasible for all employees, UNC Charlotte recognizes that in many circumstances they can promote employee recruitment, retention, morale, and quality of life; promote general work efficiencies; ensure business continuity; and improve environmental sustainability and space utilization.

To fulfill the University’s strategic objective to increase the value of UNC Charlotte as a great place to work and learn, this Policy and its Supplemental Procedures were developed to maximize the advantages of all work arrangements while acknowledging that in-person instruction and many in-person services are often critical to achieving the University’s mission to provide students with an exemplary education and quality service to students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

While the general expectation is that most employees will conduct the bulk of their work from campus in order to provide the most effective services, this Policy provides appropriate flexibility for individual colleges, departments, and units to assess whether Flexible Work Arrangements can enhance the workplace experience without compromising service delivery.

In developing and reviewing requests for Flexible Work Arrangements, supervisors are expected to make sound judgments that balance the needs of the individual employee with the needs of the University, and to grant any Flexible Work Arrangement requests equitably for similarly situated individuals based on the considerations outlined in this Policy and its Supplemental Procedures.

Supervisors and employees alike must be mindful of the special accountabilities that apply to the University as a public employer and the added scrutiny of Flexible Work Arrangements that may be extended to State employees. Additionally, not every UNC Charlotte position lends itself to Flexible Work Arrangements, nor may every proposed arrangement be accommodated.

II. Definitions

A. Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible Work Arrangements include Flexible Schedules, Telework, and Remote Work.

B. Flexible Schedules

Flexible Schedules do not involve modifications to the work location but instead allow a supervisor to adjust an employee’s work schedule to accommodate a business need or respond to unusual personal circumstances of an employee, provided that the employee continues to work the total weekly hours required congruent with their employment status.

C. Telework

Teleworking is a flexible arrangement in which a supervisor, with appropriate Vice Chancellor approval, directs or permits an employee to perform some of their job duties away from their primary workplace, so long as they meet the same performance expectations and any other approved and agreed upon terms.

D. Remote Work

Remote Work is an arrangement in which an employee works off campus 100% of the time. An employee engaging in Remote Work may have a primary work station that is within commutable distance (no more than 100 miles) from campus. Remote Work arrangements that are outside North Carolina or not within a reasonable commuting distance from the primary workplace require prior written approval of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.

III. Applicability

This Policy applies to all SHRA and EHRA non-faculty employees, full-time and part-time permanent, probationary, temporary and time-limited.

IV. Policy

A.    The general expectation is that most employees will conduct the bulk of their work from campus in the workspace provided and the defined work schedule as set by the University. 

B.    Individuals hired into positions that are initially established with Flexible Work Arrangements are subject to this Policy, including the provisions permitting the University to alter or terminate Flexible Work Arrangements based on the needs of the University.  

C.    Flexible Work Arrangements are made at the sole discretion of the University and must be in compliance with applicable policies prior to being communicated as being approved to the employee and implemented.

D.    The availability and terms of Flexible Work Arrangements must be approved and administered based upon applicable business factors and without regard to an employee’s race, color, religion, age, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, actual or perceived gender expression, or gender identity.

E.    The University may consider factors such as knowledge of job duties, reliability and job performance, ability to use required technology, suitability of the job tasks, ability to monitor and review work, amount of in-office reference material required, and need for physical security of data, as well as safety considerations at the proposed work site when making decisions about approval of Flexible Work Arrangements.

F.    The term of all Telework/Remote Work Agreements is for a maximum of one year; Telework/Remote Work Agreements may be renewed for successive one-year terms if approved by the supervisor and divisional Vice Chancellor.

G.   The University may terminate a Telework/Remote Work Agreement at any time based on the needs of the University, including for positions initially established with Telework or Remote Work arrangements. Should the University terminate an employee’s Telework/Remote Work Agreement, the University will provide the employee with at least ten business days’ notice to enable the employee to prepare for return to the campus workplace, unless employee conduct or safety issues necessitate a shorter notice period, at the discretion of management. (See PIM-16 Normal and Variable Work Schedule for SHRA Employees Subject to the FLSA).

H.    Expectations and obligations associated with Flexible Schedules, Teleworking, and Remote Work, as well as management considerations for determining whether a request for a Flexible Work Arrangement is appropriate to recommend for approval, are detailed in the Supplemental Procedures to this Policy.

I.      Telework and Remote Work Conditions

1. Compensation and Benefits

An employee’s compensation, benefits, work status, and work responsibilities will not change due to Telework or Remote Work arrangements.  The amount of time an employee is expected to work per day or pay period will not change as a result of Telework or Remote Work arrangements.

2. Conditions of Employment

Any and all legal protections and workplace policies that relate to an employee’s employment status that normally apply in the campus workplace will apply to an employee authorized to Telework or Remote Work (e.g., rights under the FLSA and the Family Medical Leave Act, Defense of State Employees Act, workers’ compensation, performance evaluations, and other standards and requirements).  Flexible Work Arrangements do not change the conditions of employment or required compliance with applicable workplace laws, policies, and rules.

3. Environmental Health and Safety Considerations

In a manner consistent with UNC Charlotte’s Environmental Health and Safety Program, employees and supervisors will work together to make safety an integral part of a Flexible Work Arrangement.  The employee is responsible for maintaining the Telework or Remote Work site in a manner free from health or safety hazards.  The employee is also responsible for completing the Telework/Remote Workplace Self-Certification Checklist, which documents a safety review of the designated Telework or Remote Work site.  It is the responsibility of the supervisor to review this checklist, ensure that the employee has received relevant safety training, and to investigate any report of unsafe working conditions or injury. 

Since the employee’s Telework or Remote Work site is an extension of the University workspace, workers’ compensation liability may be, but is not necessarily, applicable for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment.  In cases where the home and the designated workplace are the same, workers’ compensation will not apply to non-job-related injuries that might occur at the Telework or Remote Work site.  Employees should contact the UNC Charlotte Environmental Health and Safety Office with any questions related to how and when to report a job-related injury.

4.  Equipment, Materials and Security

The University may provide a Teleworking or Remote Work employee with office supplies, equipment, and services as it deems appropriate and subject to departmental budget availability.  All Teleworking or Remote Work employees must understand and agree that University-owned resources will be used primarily for University business in accordance with University policies, and will take reasonable steps to protect all University property from theft, damage, or misuse. 

A Teleworking or Remote Work employee must follow all appropriate data security and record management practices and protocols, to at least the same degree as is expected of employees in the customary worksite, including their vigilant compliance with all data security and confidentiality requirements, as established by applicable law and policy. See UNC Charlotte Standard for Teleworking/Remote Work for additional information. A Teleworking or Remote Work employee must agree to comply with the licensing agreements for all software owned by the University, whether used on or off campus to conduct University work. 

The University assumes no responsibility for any damage to, wear of, or loss of the Teleworking or Remote Work employee’s personal or real property.

5. Travel Expenses

Employees engaging in Flexible Work Arrangements are not eligible for travel expense reimbursement when they commute to and from the University’s main campus for work purposes. Teleworking or Remote Work employees may be eligible for travel reimbursement, in accordance with applicable University policies, to attend meetings and business events that take place off the main campus (e.g., travel from/to the Teleworking or Remote Work site to a location away from the main campus).

6. Work Hours and Leaves of Absence

Teleworking and Remote Work employees are expected to perform their work during designated work hours and not engage in activities that are not work-related.  Variations to Telework or Remote Work hours, including overtime work, vacation, and other leave requests must conform with the regular business policies and practices of the University and the employee’s department.

7. Family Medical Leave Act

Flexible Work Arrangements are not a substitute for sick leave or family medical leave. Employees are encouraged to use their leave benefits for these purposes and must not be compelled to work when absent due to family medical leave.  In cases in which an employee requests permission to Telework or Remote Work temporarily due to illness, recovery from a serious medical condition, or to care for a family member or other individual as designated by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a completed and approved Telework/Remote Work Agreement is required even if the arrangement does not exceed 30 days.  This does not apply to one-day absences unless such absences are covered under FMLA.  A medical certification form or a fitness for duty statement completed by the employee’s treating physician must be submitted in order to determine if the employee is able to Telework/Remote Work and what, if any, restrictions are necessary.

8. Third Party Prohibition, Injuries and Liability

Teleworking and Remote Work employees shall not host or allow third parties to enter their off-campus worksite to conduct official University business.  The University is not responsible for any injury that occurs to a third party at the employee’s off-campus worksite.  If an employee violates this prohibition, the employee (or the employee’s personal liability insurance coverage) may be liable for any costs, claims, damages or judgments brought by an injured third party.

9. Workers’ Compensation

Employees working under a flexible work arrangement, including at an alternate work site, are covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment during the employee’s approved work hours. In cases where the home and alternate work location are the same, workers’ compensation will not apply to non-job-related injuries that might occur at the off-site alternate work location. Employees must immediately report any job-related injury occurring at an alternate work location to their supervisor. Failure to comply with workplace safety standards may impact workers compensation eligibility.

10. Out-of-State Employee Arrangements

The University of North Carolina is dedicated to the service of North Carolina and its people; accordingly, the University expects its employees to live in North Carolina with rare exception. Employees considering a Teleworking or Remote Work arrangement outside the State of North Carolina must review the out-of-state employee guidance. If a potential need arises for an employee to complete work for UNC Charlotte from a worksite outside of North Carolina for more than one month, the employee must complete an Out-of-State Work Arrangement Request Form at least 60 calendar days prior to the proposed start date of the arrangement. All approvals as indicated on the form must be obtained before out-of-state work commences.

Employees must also clearly disclose their intent to Telework or Remote Work from a worksite that is located outside North Carolina on their Telework/Remote Work Request Form. Out-of-state Teleworking or Remote Work arrangements may introduce tax withholding and reporting, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation requirements in the employee’s state of residence, among other considerations. For additional expectations and obligations for out-of-state employees, see Section A.3 of the Supplemental Procedures.

11.  Termination of Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible Work Arrangements are not an employee right, and the University may terminate a Flexible Work Arrangement at its sole discretion at any time.  Under state and University policies, the termination of a Flexible Work Arrangement established by management is not grievable through University grievance processes, nor is it grievable to the State Human Resources Commission.

12. Special Circumstances that Require Widespread Teleworking

In the event of a catastrophic weather incident, an outbreak of a serious communicable disease, physical damage, destruction, or unavailability of employees’ on-campus worksite due to fire or other condition, or other such significant emergencies, the University may implement emergency Flexible Work Arrangements on a more widespread basis.  In such cases, employees may be required to work from alternate sites off campus (including their homes) in order to meet the operational needs of the University. Such circumstances may include the University’s declaration of Operation Status 2, as set forth in University Policy 701, Campus Operation Status, Including Adverse Weather and Emergency Events.

The Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee has authority to determine whether special circumstances exist to implement required Flexible Work Arrangements on an emergency and more widespread basis.  The decision and any additional conditions and directives will be communicated to the entire campus community via the usual emergency communication methods (email, NinerAlerts, etc.).

In the event of special circumstances as described in this section, employees will not be required to sign Telework/Remote Work Agreements.  Each department must develop and maintain updated rosters of those job duties that are deemed as mandatory and which positions qualify for Teleworking or Remote Work under special circumstances.  Departments must plan for cross-training and redistribution of available employees in order to prepare for contingencies likely to emerge during catastrophic or special situations.

Revision History: 

Authority: Chancellor

Responsible Office:  Business Affairs (Human Resources)

Related Resources: