This Remote Work Policy will take effect on August 15, 2021 and provides non-faculty staff and administrators with new flexibility, when feasible, to perform certain work remotely.
The College will be seeking feedback from Oxy community members in the coming year, and will review this policy periodically based on the community’s experience and suggestions.
As a residential liberal arts college, the workplace culture of Oxy is rooted in face-to-face collaboration, exceptional service, and a connected community. Maintaining this culture is centered on employees regularly being on campus and interacting with other community members. Any remote work arrangement must maintain the service level provided to students and the community that would be provided in an on-campus working arrangement, consistent with the fundamental philosophy of Oxy as a small, close-knit, residential community. Many positions or functions within them are not amenable to remote work and require a physical presence. But in some circumstances and depending on the nature of an employee’s position, remote work may be a viable option.
Criteria for Approving Remote Work Arrangements
Each employee’s supervisor will decide whether or not a request for a remote work arrangement should be approved based on several criteria, including (but not limited to):
- the nature and essential functions of an employee’s job, including the need to interact with other staff, students, faculty, and Oxy community members;
- the length of employment to date (must be at least one year, absent an exception);
- the employee’s record of performance, attendance, and compliance with College policies;
- the employee’s demonstrated degree of self-discipline, organizational skills, and technological competency;
- the supervisor’s ability to adequately supervise a remote employee, including their ability to oversee timekeeping and breaks for non-exempt employees;
- the need for specific equipment, tools, or cybersecurity protections in the employee’s proposed remote work location;
- the safety and suitability of the proposed remote work location, including whether it is within California;
- the impact of the proposed remote work arrangement on the department’s and other employees’ abilities to perform their functions without interruption;
- whether the job may be performed remotely without causing undue difficulty or expense to the College.
Remote Work Arrangements (RWAs)
Employees may initiate requests for remote work arrangements with their supervisors. RWAs must be in writing and signed by the employee, the employee’s immediate supervisor, and the Vice President to whom the supervisor reports. A copy of the signed RWA must be submitted to Human Resources for final approval.
All RWAs must specify, at least:
- the remote work schedule (typically up to three days per week)
- the duration of the remote work arrangement (not to exceed one year); and
- the designated remote work location.
A remote work arrangement is not an employment contract and does not alter the terms or conditions of an individual’s employment with the College. The employee’s supervisor may revoke the RWA at any time and for any reason, ideally with two weeks’ notice. A supervisor may require an employee with an RWA to be present on campus for specific meetings/events, or otherwise to perform work on campus, during the employee’s regular remote work schedule. The establishment, discontinuance, and denial and/or terms of any RWA is not subject to the problem solving and grievance procedures in the Staff and Administrator Handbook (Appendix A). An RWA must not require additional hiring or additional overtime to carry out services that are traditionally conducted on campus.
Tools, Equipment, and Materials. Employees who are carrying out their responsibilities away from campus must have the necessary tools and equipment to perform their work. Prior to approving the remote work arrangement, the VP should ensure that the necessary tools and equipment are available and in place. Please reference the College’s policy on expense reimbursement for further information as to how and what items are eligible for reimbursement. Any College materials that are used by the employee working off-premises must be kept secure and confidential, and may not be made accessible to others.
Worker’s Compensation. The College will be responsible for any work-related injuries that arise out of, or in the course of, employment, as defined by California Workers Compensation laws. For the purposes of this policy, this responsibility is limited to an accidental injury or occupational disease or illness of an employee originating while the employee is engaged in the College's business or affairs at the direction, express or implied, of the College, as defined by the Workers’ Compensation Act. Any such claims will be handled according to the normal College procedures for Workers’ Compensation claims.
Work Considered to Be of a Temporary and Sporadic Nature. Not all work performed off-campus requires a formal or long-term remote work arrangement. As has always been the case at Oxy, exempt employees may occasionally perform work remotely without having a written agreement (e.g. during a business trip). Exempt administrators and staff should seek advance permission from their supervisors to conduct occasional work off campus, as the need arises. Staff who are in a position designated as non-exempt pursuant to the relevant California Wage Order may not perform work off-premises, except as specified in a remote work arrangement.
Employee Responsibilities (All Employees)
- Safety Measures:
- Conduct a review of the proposed remote work environment to ensure safety and appropriate office ergonomics are met. Any corrections required by that review are solely the employee’s responsibility. If there are ergonomic concerns, employees should review the remote work request in advance with the Risk Manager and/or can schedule a virtual evaluation with Risk Management.
- Adhere to any health and safety trainings and/or procedures as may be required by Oxy before returning to campus for any reason.
- Compliance with College Policies:
- Adhere to all College policies, procedures, and guidelines, including but not limited to compliance and privacy policies related to HIPAA, FERPA, etc.
- Comply with College guidelines to minimize the likelihood of Oxy equipment, records, or materials being used for non-Oxy business purposes.
- Minimize the risk of accidental access, use, modification, destruction, or disclosure of Oxy information, or unauthorized access, use, modification, or destruction of Oxy property.
- Meeting Regular Work Expectations:
- Communicate with your supervisor to ensure you are meeting expectations and satisfactorily performing work arrangements.
- Continue to fulfill all job responsibilities and conditions of employment, including maintaining a regular workload.
- Employees must be available for contact during their assigned working hours. This requires that employees reserve their assigned working hours for their remote work arrangement. Remote work arrangements should not be used for staff to work at other jobs, provide dependent care or care for others during work hours, or run their own businesses.
Specific Responsibilities of Non-Exempt Employees and Their Supervisors
- Work only within your assigned business hours. Generally, non-exempt employees will work from 8am-5pm, taking a 30-minute meal break and two 15-minute rest breaks per shift (as further defined in the Staff & Administrator Employee Handbook), for a total of no more than 40 hours per week. This Remote Work Policy incorporates the provisions of the Staff & Administrator Handbook, including those related to working hours, rest and meal periods, time records, and overtime. Employees with a remote work arrangement are required to review and understand their obligations under the Staff & Administrator Handbook.
- Record your start times, meal and rest breaks, and end times accurately in your timesheets or Kronos records.
- Additionally, email your supervisor: (1) at the start of your work day; (2) when you are taking breaks; and (3) at the end of your work day. Your supervisor may not approve your timesheets unless you have complied with this requirement, and may modify, suspend, or revoke a remote work arrangement for failure to comply.
- Unless expressly permitted by their supervisors in specific instances, non-exempt employees are prohibited from reading or responding to work-related emails, making or answering work-related phone calls, or otherwise performing work for the College, outside of their working hours or during their breaks.
- Employees who are working other than a standard 8-hour day must consult with their supervisors regarding the appropriate distribution of meal and rest periods.
- Employees who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement may also consult with their union representative regarding the application of their union contract to meal and rest periods.
- Overtime must be pre-approved in writing by an employee’s supervisor. Non-exempt employees may not work more than 40 hours per week without express, written approval from their supervisor.
- Non-exempt employees should immediately notify Human Resources of any discrepancies, unrecorded work hours, or missed meal or rest periods.
Failure to fulfill these responsibilities may result in the cancellation of the remote work arrangement and/or potential disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.