As indicated in University Policy 101.22, 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.
A. Flexible Work Arrangements
The expectations and obligations associated with each of the Flexible Work Arrangements are as follows:
1. Flexible Schedules
Employees may request, and supervisors may grant, a temporary or extended change in an employee’s regular work schedule in order to promote employee recruitment, retention, morale, and quality of life; promote general work efficiencies; ensure business continuity; and improve environmental sustainability and space utilization.
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. A Flexible Schedule may include modifying normal work start and end times or allowing work missed on one day to be made up on another day within the same 7-day workweek. Subject to the provisions in Section IV.I.7 of University Policy 101.22, a Flexible Schedule may help the employee to avoid taking leave or other paid time off that would otherwise have to be accounted for in a given week. Supervisors have the discretion to grant temporary changes in work hours as long as the operational needs of the department are satisfied and to discontinue such arrangements when necessary. Supervisors should ensure that adequate supervision is provided for situations in which adjusted work schedules fall outside of core operating hours.
Flexible Schedules should be documented in writing at the departmental level. If a Flexible Schedule is desired for more than 30 days, it must be reviewed by Human Resources for compliance with applicable policies and equity in application prior to being communicated to the employee and implemented. If Flexible Schedules are granted, supervisors must ensure proper departmental coverage will be in place on campus to comply with the posted service hours for their department.
2. Telework and Remote Work
Teleworking and Remote Work arrangements must continue to support the operational needs of the work unit and also provide for appropriate oversight of the employee’s work. A Telework or Remote Work arrangement is voluntary for the employee and at the sole discretion of the University; however, there may be circumstances in which it is a legitimate job requirement.
All SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty employees, full-time and part-time permanent, probationary, temporary and time-limited, are eligible for consideration for Teleworking or Remote Work arrangements (see State Human Resources Manual, Teleworking Program Policy). Some positions, even if eligible, include certain responsibilities or unique functions that render them inappropriate for Teleworking or Remote Work arrangements (e.g., front desk receptionist, building and grounds maintenance staff, service-oriented staff, and management).
Any type of Teleworking or Remote Work requires a formal written Telework/Remote Work Agreement if the arrangement lasts longer than 30 days. The Telework or Remote Work schedule should be outlined in detail in the Telework/Remote Work Agreement.
To ensure appropriate accountability and oversight of Teleworking or Remote Work arrangements, the University has established the following procedures for approvals, responsibilities, and standards:
- Any Teleworking or Remote Work arrangement that will be in place for more than thirty (30) calendar days must be recommended for approval by the supervisor or department head (see Section B below), and approved by the division Vice Chancellor. Once approved, a Teleworking or Remote Work arrangement must be reviewed by Human Resources for compliance with reporting obligations under applicable UNC System policies prior to being communicated to the employee and implemented. If the Teleworking or Remote Work location is outside of North Carolina, the Assistant Controller of Payroll and Tax must be notified of the arrangement once it has been approved (see Section IV.I.10 of University Policy 101.22).
- A Teleworking or Remote Work request from an employee on a medical or family leave of absence must involve advanced consultation with Employee Relations and Benefits officials from the Office of Human Resources (see Section IV.I.7 of University Policy 101.22).
- The employing department must submit a completed Telework/Remote Work Agreement/Request Form to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.
- Employee Responsibilities
- Once a Teleworking or Remote Work arrangement is approved by the divisional Vice Chancellor, the employee must complete the Remote Workplace Self-Certification Checklist (i) before work arrangement begins, (ii) if there are changed circumstances, and (iii) upon any renewal of a Telework/Remote Work Agreement.
- While Teleworking or Working Remotely, the employee should engage in virtual interactions (video conferencing, etc.) regularly to ensure a connection to coworkers and the workplace. All duties, obligations, and responsibilities for employees with Flexible Work Arrangements are the same as for onsite workers, including but not limited to the obligation to respond to voicemail, e-mail, and other messages in a timely manner.
- Renewal and Discontinuation
- Teleworking or Remote Work arrangements will be in effect during the time period indicated on the Teleworking/Remote Work request and must be reviewed at the beginning of each academic year by the approving supervisor. If there are any changes to the Teleworking/Remote Work Agreement, including changes to the employee’s Teleworking or Remote Work location, the employee’s supervisor must submit a new Telework/Remote Work Agreement/Request Form to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources at least 30 days in advance of the effective date of the change(s).
- Supervisors are responsible for notifying Human Resources when a Teleworking or Remote Work arrangement is being discontinued prior to the end of the term of any Telework/Remote Work Agreement.
3. Additional Expectations and Obligations for Remote Work Arrangements
- As a condition of employment, the work schedule of an employee in a Telework or Remote Work arrangement may require periodic travel to campus. The purpose of this travel may include, but is not limited to, meeting attendance, distribution of supplies or documents, event attendance, and/or other requests from the supervisor related to business needs. No reimbursement shall be made for transportation when commuting between an employee's Telework or Remote Work location and the campus location.
- Out-of-state and out-of-commutable distance Remote Work arrangements are not preferable and limited to the most compelling business situations. There are often additional costs involved with these arrangements, and it is the employing department's responsibility to cover any related costs (tax liabilities, workers’ compensation costs, equipment, telecommunication services, etc.).
- The University’s priority, to the greatest extent practicable, is to employ individuals who reside within or in close proximity to the State of North Carolina and from a place of residence that is within a reasonable commuting distance (no more than 100 miles) of the primary workplace. 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.
- If the employee’s proposed Remote Work location has been approved by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, and will be outside of North Carolina, the employee must complete an Out-of-State Work Arrangement Request Form, which must be fully approved through the divisional Vice Chancellor and other departments depending on the circumstances of the arrangement. No Telework/Remote Work Agreement for any staff will be approved for work locations outside of the United States. (See Section IV.I.10 of University Policy 101.22.)
B. Management Considerations
In considering an employee’s request for a Flexible Work Arrangement, supervisors should assess a variety of factors in determining whether the request is compatible with the operational and staffing needs of the work unit and the University as a whole, and should document those considerations. Such considerations may include:
- Is the reason for the request a business reason or work/life need of the employee? If a business reason, what is that reason? (see criteria in Telework Guidance)
- What are the present and future operational and staffing needs of the work unit?
- What is the employee’s level of performance and experience on the job?
- What are the work/life needs of the employee? And for what period of time? If there are unusual personal circumstances for the employee, does the employee understand that the continuation of an approved agreement is at the discretion of the University and may be revoked at any time?
- Are there restrictions on how, when, and where the employee’s work must be performed?
- What is the position’s degree of autonomy and independence?
- Does the employee regularly function as part of a team that would require a matching schedule of all team members or significant in-person communication (as compared to telephone or online communication)?
- Does the position require a high level of campus contact or physical presence to perform the job effectively?
- Considering the physical absence of the Teleworking or Remote Work employee, can the work unit provide coverage for all work functions without unduly burdening other employees in the unit or creating employee dissatisfaction?
- Are requests for Flexible Work Arrangements handled equitably across the work unit? Each arrangement must be assessed based on the individual facts and circumstances, with divisional fairness kept in mind.
- Will this Flexible Work Arrangement create employee relations issues, such as perceived favoritism?
- For Telework or Remote Work arrangements, is the alternate worksite physically sufficient for the work being performed? (e.g., Will the employee have access to reliable internet connection, cybersecurity, phone, other necessary utilities? Will the work space have sufficient furnishings and equipment? Will the work space be safe and secure?)
- Can the supervisor effectively monitor the employee’s work that occurs outside the supervisor’s regular schedule and/or away from the campus work location?
- Will the employee have access to all necessary work-related data or files at the Teleworking or Remote Work site, and will the security and confidentiality of this information be assured, as required by University policies and best practices?
- Will the employee be able to conduct business meetings with University or other personnel via phone, videoconference, and other communication technologies?
- If applicable, can the supervisor continue to assure compliance with federal (FLSA) wage-hour regulations regarding work that occurs outside the supervisor's regular schedule and/or away from the campus work location?
- If the proposed Telework or Remote Work location is outside of North Carolina, has the department reviewed the out-of-state employee guidance and completed the Out-of-State Work Approval Form (See Section IV.I.10) of University Policy 101.22.)
C. Roles and Responsibilities
Employee: The employee will be responsible for completing and submitting the form to their supervisor. Signature of the employee on the form indicates that they understand and agree to the conditions outlined on the form.
Supervisor: The supervisor is responsible for reviewing, endorsing, and routing the form to the Divisional Vice Chancellor for approval. They will be responsible for managing the employee while they are working a Flexible Work Arrangement.
Vice Chancellor: The Vice Chancellor will review and approve all requests from their division for Flexible Work Arrangements except out-of-commutable distance and out-of-state arrangements.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources (AVC-HR): The AVC-HR will be responsible for reviewing all Flexible Work Arrangement forms to ensure compliance with the Policy and all related state and federal requirements. The AVC-HR will also be responsible for approving all out-of-commutable distance and out-of-state arrangements.
Employee Relations Manager: The Employee Relations Manager will provide guidance to employees and supervisors regarding the Flexible Work Arrangements described in this Policy.
Employee Relations Consultant: Employees who may need assistance in discussing a proposed Flexible Work Arrangement with their supervisor should contact an Employee Relations Consultant in the Human Resources Department for guidance and assistance.
- University Policy 101.22, Flexible Work Arrangements for SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty Employees
- Docusign: Telework/Remote Work Agreement/Request Form - Important note for agreements effective prior to 9/1/2022: The agreement indicates a renewal requirement after 12 months. However, for the first year, agreements may extend through 8/31/2023 to align with an ongoing renewal process with a 9/1 effective date for each successive year.
- Required Supervisor Training: Establishing Effective Virtual Teams (30 min)
- Required Employee Training: Contributing as a Virtual Team Member (18 min)
- Flexible Work Arrangements - FAQs
- Telework and Remote Work Self-Certification Checklist
- Telework Guidance for Supervisors
- PIM-16 Normal and Variable Work Schedule for SHRA Employees Subject to the FLSA
- University Policy 701, Campus Operation Status, Including Adverse Weather and Emergency Events
- UNC Charlotte Standard for Teleworking and Remote Work (OneIT)
- Out-of-State Employee Guidance