The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (“UNCG” or the “University”) recognizes that both the University and its employees may need to utilize flexible work arrangements, consistent with the University’s mission and needs. The purpose of this policy is to outline the process by which the University and employees will implement flexible work arrangements.
All full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, probationary, trainee, time-limited, or intermittent employees are eligible for consideration for flexible work arrangements.
3. Definitions and Roles and Responsibilities
3.1.1Flexible Work Arrangements:
Temporary changes in work hours, flexible work schedules and/or flexible work locations.
3.1.2Temporary Change in Work Hours:
A short-term change in an employee’s regular work schedule that is not permanent or ongoing in order to adjust for an unplanned, short-notice, or sporadic event.
3.1.3Flexible Work Schedules:
Adjustments to the employee’s work start and end times on an ongoing or recurring basis.
3.1.4Flexible Work Locations (“teleworking,” “telework” or “remote working”):
Adjustment to the employee’s customary campus worksite, either on a short-term or on an ongoing or recurring basis, to an off-campus worksite.
A schedule combining remote working and working at a campus worksite.
The employee’s designated division, department, or work unit.
The designated schedule assigned to an employee (typically between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, when the University is open or during other specified times based on the operational hours of a specific department).
3.2 Roles and Responsibilities
The Chancellor has delegated implementation of this policy to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, in consultation with the Office of the Provost.
Departments may consider flexible work arrangements with the understanding that this flexibility must be accompanied by appropriate employee performance accountability measures and be compatible with the operational and staffing needs of the department. Supervisors are expected to make sound judgments that balance the needs of the individual employee with the needs of the department and to grant flexible work arrangements equitably for similarly situated employees within a particular department. Specifically, 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 UNCG position lends itself to flexible work arrangements, nor may every proposed arrangement be approved as meeting the needs of the department.
Beyond the benefits afforded to individual employees, additional policy considerations include balancing workplace flexibility against the needs, interests, and mission of UNCG, ensuring that UNCG can remain competitive relative to other employers, and providing supervisors with an important tool to meet environmental and budgetary challenges.
Decisions on flexible work arrangements are to be equitably made based on applicable factors without regard to an employee’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.
4.1Temporary Change in Work Hours
Employees may request – and supervisors may grant – a temporary change in work hours to adjust for an unplanned, short-notice, or sporadic event. This change may include modifying normal work start and end times or allowing work missed on one day to be made up on another. Such flexibility helps the employee 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 if the operational needs of the department are satisfied and to discontinue such arrangements when deemed necessary.
4.1.1Application of Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)
Employees who are considered subject to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA Non-Exempt”) must receive overtime for hours worked over 40 in a workweek, which is considered Sunday – Saturday. Supervisors of FLSA Non-Exempt employees must avoid unnecessary overtime when allowing an employee a temporary or permanent change in work hours. To accomplish this, supervisors must consider the Sunday-Saturday 40-hour work week when making a temporary change in work hours
4.2Flexible Work Schedules
Supervisors may approve flexible work schedules for employees on an ongoing or recurring basis. The flexible work schedule must continue to support the operational needs of the University and allow for appropriate oversight of the employee’s work assignments. Supervisors must consider employee performance and conduct when considering a flexible work schedule. Arrangements may be provided on a conditional or trial basis.
4.2.1Meal Periods Required
FLSA Non-Exempt employees working 6 hours or more a day must have a minimum of a 30-minute uninterrupted meal period. Exceptions based on business needs may be requested from the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources. Elimination of the meal period may not be used to shorten the workday.
4.3Flexible Work Locations (“teleworking,” “telework” or “remote working”)
A flexible work location arrangement may be made on a short-term or an ongoing or recurring basis to respond to the business needs of UNCG or to the work/life needs of an employee, while also considering the operational and staffing needs of the department. In most cases, a telework arrangement is voluntary for the employee (except in the rare occasion where UNCG business needs or special circumstances (as discussed in Section 5, below) require an employee to work at a remote location) and at the sole discretion of UNCG. No employee is entitled to a telework arrangement; it is UNCG’s prerogative to establish a telework arrangement.
Typically, telework arrangements involve the employee regularly or primarily working from home and are sometimes referred to as “virtual” or “remote” work arrangements. Most telework arrangements will be hybrid schedules, with the employee combining a campus worksite schedule with an off-campus worksite schedule (e.g., one day at off-campus worksite and four days at campus worksite). Hybrid schedules require documentation as outlined in Section 4.4, below.
UNCG makes the sole determination of which positions or employees are eligible for telework. Some positions have job responsibilities or unique functions that do not lend themselves to telework (e.g., front desk receptionist, building and grounds maintenance staff, employees who provide services such as cashiers, financial aid counselors, etc., and certain supervisory roles).
The telework arrangement must continue to support the operational needs of the department and provide for appropriate oversight of the employee’s work. Supervisors must consider employee performance and conduct when considering a flexible work location and arrangements may be provided on a conditional or trial basis.
Work activities by those employees who are not subject to the overtime provisions of the FLSA and who choose to accomplish part of their job duties outside of their normal work hours, such as, but not limited to, checking email, grading papers, reading work related documents, and returning calls are not covered by this policy.
All flexible work arrangements must be documented in writing. All flexible work location arrangements, whether short term or on an ongoing or recurring basis, must be documented in writing with an approved Flexible Schedule/Telework Plan and Agreement (“Plan and Agreement”) approved by the supervisor, Provost/Dean/Vice Chancellor, and Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources. Plan and Agreements for flexible work schedules only may be approved by the supervisor and do not require Provost/Dean/Vice Chancellor and Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources approval.
Vice Chancellors are responsible for ensuring that Plan and Agreements are reviewed periodically in order to ensure that University business needs are met. Such review must occur no less than annually by the supervisor and the employee.
A new Plan and Agreement must be submitted to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources if there are any changes to the Plan and Agreement (other than insignificant changes not affecting the work location, available hours, expectations, or any other material provisions of the Plan and Agreement) at least 30 calendar days in advance of the effective date of the change(s).
Plan and Agreements that have not been signed by all required parties, as defined in the procedures supplemental to this policy (which includes the employee and supervisor and, if applicable, the Provost/Dean/Vice Chancellor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources), will not be considered approved.
Occasional and/or sporadic remote working (e.g., working remotely a few days a year on a non-recurring basis) is not considered to be a flexible work location arrangement and does not require a Plan and Agreement but should be documented in writing between the supervisor and the employee.
4.5Revision or Termination of Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements are not an employee right, and UNCG may terminate or change a flexible work arrangement at any time at its sole discretion. Reasons for terminating or changing a flexible work arrangement can include, but are not limited to, changing business or operational needs or unsatisfactory employee performance or conduct.
Under State and UNCG personnel policies, the termination of a flexible work arrangement is not grievable through UNCG’s grievance processes – either for SHRA (Subject to the Human Resources Act) employees or EHRA (Exempt from the Human Resources Act) employees – nor is it grievable to the State Human Resources Commission.
4.6Conditions of Flexible Work Arrangements
4.6.1Compensation and Benefits.
An employee’s compensation, benefits, work status, work responsibilities, and the amount of time an employee is expected to work per pay period will not change.
4.6.2Conditions of Employment.
Any and all legal protections and workplace policies that relate to an employee’s employment status that normally apply to the campus worksite will apply to an employee authorized to telework at an off-campus worksite (e.g., rights under the FLSA and the Family Medical Leave Act, State Human Resources Act, workers’ compensation, performance evaluations, and other standards and requirements). Flexible work arrangements, including teleworking, do not change the conditions of employment or required compliance with applicable workplace laws, polices, and rules. Employees are expected to maintain satisfactory performance, meet performance expectations, and engage on a regular basis with their co-workers and supervisor.
4.6.3Environmental Health and Safety Considerations.
In a manner consistent with UNCG’s Environmental Health and Safety Program, employees and supervisors will work together to make safety an integral part of a flexible work arrangement. For flexible work location arrangements, the employee is responsible for maintaining their off-campus telework site in a manner free from health or safety hazards. Since the employee’s off-campus telework site is an extension of the UNCG workspace, workers’ compensation liability may be, but is not necessarily, applicable for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ compensation will not apply to non-job-related injuries that might occur at the telework site. Questions, including those related to how and when to report a job-related injury, should be directed to UNCG’s Environmental Health and Safety Office. It is expected that the employee’s off-campus telework site will be made available to any UNCG employee who needs access to the site to investigate a workplace injury or verify the site meets the criteria of a safe work environment. Failure to allow access for the above purposes may result in the immediate discontinuation of any flexible work location arrangement.
4.6.4Third Party Prohibition, Injuries, and Liability.
Teleworking employees shall not host or allow third parties (including other UNCG employees) to enter their off-campus telework site to conduct official UNCG business. UNCG is not responsible for any injury that occurs to a third party at the employee’s off-campus telework site. If an employee violates this prohibition, the employee (or the employee’s liability insurance coverage) may be liable for any costs, claims, damages, or judgments brought by an injured third party.
4.6.5Equipment and Materials.
UNCG may provide a teleworking employee with office supplies, equipment, and services as it deems appropriate. Reimbursement for any out-of-pocket expenses will need prior supervisor approval. Departments are responsible for maintaining an inventory of equipment and materials used at an employee’s off-campus telework site. A teleworking employee understands and agrees that UNCG owned resources will be used primarily for UNCG business in accordance with UNCG policies and procedures and will take reasonable steps to protect all UNCG property from theft, damage, or misuse. Teleworking employees may be responsible for the replacement cost of missing or damaged UNCG equipment. UNCG assumes no responsibility for any damage to, wear of, or loss of the teleworking employee’s personal or real property. The Plan and Agreement can be used to document the use of equipment and materials.
4.6.6Work Location and Travel Expense.
As UNCG is intended in part to contribute to the economy of the State, as well as the Piedmont Triad region, it is UNCG’s official position that, to the greatest extent practicable, UNCG will principally employ individuals who reside within or in close proximity to the state of North Carolina. While the defined reasonable commuting distance may cross state lines, any long term telework arrangement for an employee whose off-campus telework site is outside of a reasonable commuting distance or in another state must include a justification of the business need for the flexible work location arrangement. Due to potential tax consequences, telework arrangements for employees residing out of state (with the exception of those within the reasonable commuting distance) will also need to be approved by the Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance or his/her designee.
Employees with flexible work location arrangements are expected to maintain a place of residence within a reasonable commuting distance of their campus worksite. Employees must clearly and explicitly disclose their intent to telework from an off-campus worksite that is located in another state on their Plan and Agreement. Employees are generally expected to be able to report to their campus worksite within a reasonable period of time when directed due to operational needs and/or due to changes to or revocation of their flexible work arrangement.
Employees are not eligible for travel expense reimbursement when they commute to and from UNCG’s main campus for work purposes. Teleworking employees may be eligible for travel reimbursement, in accordance with current UNCG and State policies, for meetings and business events that take place off their assigned campus location (e.g., travel from/to the telework site to a location away from their assigned campus worksite).
Out-of-state telework arrangements may introduce tax withholding and reporting, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation requirements in the employee’s state of residence, among other considerations. Supervisors and business officers should be aware of the general administrative requirements associated with an out-of-state telework arrangement. Additional lead time may be required between notification of the out-of-state telework arrangement and the date of the arrangement to avoid state reporting and withholding penalties, interest, and late fees. Additional costs may also be charged to the employee’s department based on additional administrative work necessary to comply with out-of-state tax requirements. Departments may also be charged additional expenses should external tax consulting services be necessary to facilitate an out-of-state telework arrangement.
4.6.8Work Hours and Leaves of Absence.
Teleworking employees are expected to perform their work during designated work hours and not engage in activities that are not work related. Variations to telework hours, including overtime work, vacation, leave requests, and other schedule changes must conform with the department and University’s regular business policies and practices. Employees are expected to perform their duties free of external obligations and unreasonable interruptions. Employees who are engaging in non-work-related activities must notify their supervisor of the period of time they will be unavailable just as they would if working at campus worksite.
4.6.9Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
Telework is not a substitute for sick leave or family medical leave (“FML”). Employees are encouraged to use their leave benefits and must not be compelled to work when absent due to FML. In cases where an employee requests permission to telework due to illness, recovery from a serious medical condition, or to care for a family member or other individual as designated by the FMLA, a completed and approved Plan and Agreement is required, even if the arrangement is not expected to occur on a regular basis. This does not apply to one-day absences unless such absences are covered under FML. A medical certification form or a fitness for duty statement completed by the employee’s treating physician or other healthcare professional must be submitted to determine if the employee is able to telework and what, if any, restrictions are necessary.
4.6.10Information and Data Security.
The security, confidentiality, and integrity of UNCG records and information must be protected at all times in flexible work arrangements and comply with all information security requirements that would apply at the primary campus worksite. The Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Services, or his/her designees, have the authority to clarify and enforce policy requirements.
A teleworking employee will follow all appropriate data security and record management practices and protocols, to at least the same degree as is expected of employees in the campus worksite, including their vigilant compliance with all data security and confidentiality requirements, as established by applicable law and policy.
Sensitive information/data, as defined by the University’s Data Classification Policy, must not be processed or stored on a personally owned computer or device, but instead must be processed on UNCG owned systems, stored in approved, secure remote storage, and accessed only by secure network access technologies.
A teleworking employee agrees to comply with the licensing agreements for all software owned by UNCG, whether used on or off campus, to conduct work.
A teleworking employee is expected to maintain a secure internet connection that is strong enough to support teleworking. This includes, but is not limited to, videoconferencing, accessing email and documents, on-line training, and the ability to continue other work-related activities.
UNCG administration may implement flexible work arrangements on a more widespread basis in the event of a catastrophic weather incident, an outbreak of a serious communicable disease (including pandemics), physical damage, destruction, or unavailability due to fire or other condition, or other such significant emergencies. 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 UNCG.
The Chancellor or Chancellor’s designee has authority to determine whether special circumstances exists to implement this policy on a required and more widespread basis. The decision will be communicated to the entire campus community.
The implementation of this special circumstances provision would typically occur for no more than thirty (30) calendar days. If UNCG determines that a special circumstances provision should last longer than thirty (30) calendar days, renewal decisions will be made in increments up to thirty (30) calendar days. This will give both UNCG and the affected employees reasonable notice of the duration of this provision. For example, a Category Three hurricane may require three (3) weeks of teleworking whereas a pandemic may require a longer period of time.
In the event of special circumstances as described in this section, employees will not be required to sign a Plan and Agreement.
Each department will develop and maintain updated rosters of those job duties that are deemed as mandatory and which positions qualify for teleworking under special circumstances. Departments must plan for cross-training and redistribution of “available” employees in order to prepare for contingencies likely to emerge during special circumstances.
6.Compliance and Enforcement
The Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Academic Deans, and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and enforcement.
For employees, violation of this policy may result in immediate termination of the flexible work arrangement as well as be subject to disciplinary action subject to the employee’s status (e.g., EHRA non-faculty, SHRA, temporary, etc.), up to, and including, separation of employment. If violation of this policy also results in a violation of law, the violation may also be referred for criminal or civil prosecution.
Additionally, violations of this policy may result in termination or suspension of access, in whole or in part, to University information systems at the discretion of Information Technology Services where such action is reasonable to protect the University or the University information infrastructure.
9.Contacts for Additional Information and Reporting
|Revision Date||Revision Summary|
|01/10/2022||Replaces “Teleworking Program Policy”, approved by Chancellor Sullivan on July 24, 2003|