This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.
Approving Authority: President and Vice-Chancellor
Original Approval Date: July 13, 2021
Effective Date: July 19, 2021 – August 31, 2022
Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: N/A
Office of Accountability: Chief Human Resources and Equity Officer
Administrative Responsibility: Human Resources
1.01 To provide a flexible model of work at the University that allows eligible Employees, based on job requirements and operational needs, the opportunity to request a Flexible Work Arrangement that includes both In-Person and Remote Work, on a schedule that prioritizes service needs and considers, where possible, the Employee’s personal preferences, enabled by effective technology, space, and work practices.
1.02 The goals of the flexible work policy are to:
2.01 Flexible Work Arrangement: A work schedule that includes both In-Person and Remote Work, while maintaining the Employee’s regular daily and weekly hours of work and delivering upon the required work responsibilities.
2.02 Types of Flexible Work Arrangements:
a. Ad-hoc: When an Employee requests to work remotely on a one-off or occasional basis, not to form part of their regular work schedule, based on a particular short-term circumstance or work requirement
b. Regular: When an Employee requests to work remotely on a regular basis, for a set number of days, as part of their regular work schedule.
2.03 Remote Work: Work that is performed by an Employee from an Employee’s place of residence, or from a remote location, where the Employee is not physically present at the University.
2.04 In-Person Work: Work that is performed by an Employee when the Employee is physically present at the University.
2.05 Employee: A person who performs work for wages in any capacity for the University.
2.06 Direct Manager: The person to whom the Employee reports, and who has direct responsibility for hiring, directing work, and managing performance. Direct Managers do not include faculty Chairs or equivalent, Associate Deans, or WLUSA Supervisors.
3.01 This policy applies to Employees in the following non-academic bargaining units and Employee groups:
4.01.01. Service First: Flexible Work Arrangements will be dependent upon the operational and service needs of the faculty or department/unit. Operational effectiveness and service delivery standards will not be compromised as a result of a Flexible Work Arrangement.
4.01.02. Productivity and Effectiveness: Flexible Work Arrangements are intended to facilitate work productivity and effectiveness. Approval will be dependent upon the nature of the work performed, and the ability for the work to be performed productively and effectively in a remote environment.
4.01.03. On-Campus Presence: Regular presence on campus will continue to be an important part of the employment relationship. Flexible Work Arrangements will require Employees to be available to work in-person on a regular basis to perform required In-Person Work, attend meetings or events, and/or participate in training. Employees may be required to attend campus in the event of an emergency without advance notice.
4.01.04. Employee Preference: Employee preferences will be considered when developing and approving the Flexible Work Arrangement, as long as operational and service requirements can be met.
4.01.05. Regular Review: Flexible Work Arrangements will be reviewed regularly by the Direct Manager with the Employee, and may be terminated or changed with appropriate notice.
Employees may request a Regular Flexible Work Arrangement at least 1 month in advance of the desired start date. Employees should discuss the desired Arrangement with their Direct Manager in advance of submitting the request.
For new Employees, a Flexible Work Arrangement may be discussed as part of the hiring process and agreed upon in advance of the start date.
Flexible Work Arrangements are not a right or an entitlement, and will not be suitable for all jobs or circumstances. Approval of the Flexible Work Arrangement is required by the Employee’s Direct Manager and by their AVP/Dean/UL or equivalent. All requests will be assessed on an individual basis, in a fair and consistent manner, to ensure equitable application of this Policy.
Requests will be assessed based on the job requirements and faculty/departmental needs, considering the following criteria:
The University will not approve a Regular Flexible Work Arrangements where work is performed outside of the Province of Ontario. Employees are expected to retain residency in Ontario, in a location that allows them to attend the University In-Person as required by the terms of their employment. Any exceptions to this requirement must be linked to a business imperative and will require approval by the applicable Vice-President or equivalent and the Chief Human Resources & Equity Officer.
Employees may request an Ad-hoc Flexible Work Arrangement by making a request in writing to their Direct Manager. Ad-hoc Arrangements are one-off requests that are short term in nature, and less than one month in duration, to address a particular circumstance or work requirement. Approval is required by the Direct Manager in advance.
Employees must adhere to the agreed upon terms of the Flexible Work Arrangement, and the terms of this Policy.
Employees must perform the full scope of their regular job duties to the expected quality and performance standards while working remotely.
Employees must work their regularly scheduled hours of work, including taking their lunch and break periods.
Employees must maintain regular availability during their working hours, and maintain contact with their colleagues, clients, and supervisors/managers as required.
From time to time, Employees may be required to attend meetings, training, or other events In-Person on a day that they would normally be working remotely. In these circumstances, the Employee will be provided with advance notice of the requirement to attend work In-Person, and may be provided the opportunity to work an alternate remote day if operationally feasible.
Employees may be required to attend campus in the event of an emergency without advance notice.
Employees must ensure they have suitable workspace free from distractions and a suitable workstation set up and equipment to perform their work remotely.
Employees must maintain the regular standards of professionalism while performing Remote Work.
Managers will assess and approve requests for Flexible Work Arrangements in a fair and consistent manner, prioritizing operational and service needs and considering Employee preferences where feasible.
Managers will ensure appropriate supervision of Employees when working remotely, and will have regular communications with Employees about their work expectations. Hours of work will be monitored to ensure compliance with overtime obligations.
Managers will conduct team/departmental meetings and communications in a manner that allows for meaningful participation by Employees who are working In-Person and Employees who are working Remote as part of a Flexible Work Arrangement.
A Regular Flexible Work Arrangement shall have a specified start date and end date and be approved for no more than 12 months in duration, and not beyond the end date of this Policy.
The Flexible Work Arrangement will specify the number of days per week that the Employee will work remotely, not to exceed the equivalent of 3 days per week for a full-time Employee, or 60% of a regular workweek for a part-time Employee. Requests for Arrangements that include Remote Work for more than the equivalent of 3 days per week (or 60% of the regular workweek) will be considered on an exception basis only and will require additional approval from the appropriate Vice-President or equivalent and the Chief Human Resources & Equity Officer. Exceptions will only be considered to address a unique circumstance or a business imperative.
The actual days of the week that the Employee is scheduled to work remotely may be structured (i.e. the same days weekly or bi-weekly) or may fluctuate from week to week depending upon work priorities. In both cases, the schedule must be approved in advance by the Direct Manager, as reflected in the Flexible Work Arrangement.
Flexible Work Arrangements should be reviewed and evaluated regularly, and at least quarterly, by the Direct Manager with the Employee to ensure compliance with this Policy and the terms of the Flexible Work Arrangement, and that operational and service needs are being met. . Any operational or service issues or issues of non-compliance that arise should be addressed in a timely fashion and may result in a change in or a termination of the Flexible Work Arrangement.
Employees must comply with all health and safety standards and regulations while working remotely.
Employees are responsible to ensure their remote workspace and workstation setup is safe and ergonomically sound.
Employees must immediately report to their Direct Manager any safety concerns that occur in the course of their employment.
All work-related injuries incurred by the Employee during work hours in the course and scope of employment, as well as all work-related illnesses, must be reported immediately to their Direct Manager and SHERM.
The University will not be responsible for injuries incurred by others in the Employee’s Remote Work location.
Flexible Work Arrangements are not a substitute to address periods of leave that may be needed by the Employee for illness, childcare, eldercare, dependent care, or other personal obligations during working hours.
Employees should refer to existing University policies and provisions in their respective collective agreements or Employee handbooks if there are personal circumstances that arise that prevent the Employee from fulfilling their required job responsibilities.
The University will provide workplace accommodations in accordance with the University’s Employment Accommodation Policy.
Regular reporting requirements for absences apply to days when the Employee is scheduled to work remotely.
Employees with a Flexible Work Arrangement continue to be subject to all existing terms and conditions of their employment with the University and must abide by those terms when working In-Person and Remotely.
Employees with Flexible Work Arrangements will continue to be governed by the relevant collective agreements, Employee handbooks, University policies and procedures, and all relevant legislative requirements.
Employees shall not conduct any in-person business or meetings with others at their Remote Work location (i.e. in-person meetings should not be conducted at an Employee’s place of residence).
Employees shall have adequate and appropriate liability and property loss insurance covering the work activities and University property at the Remote Work location.
Employees must take all reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality and privacy of University documents and information while working remotely.
University records and personal or confidential information must be protected in accordance with University policies and processes to prevent unauthorized access, disclosure or destruction during transit to/from the In-Person Work location and at the Remote Work location. This includes ensuring University computers, equipment, and documents are stored in a safe and secure location with safeguards put in place to ensure privacy, confidentiality, and data security are maintained.
University records and information should be created, retained and disposed of in accordance with University retention schedules and records management protocols.
The University will provide the technology and equipment and work space necessary for the Employee to perform their In-Person Work at the University.
Employees with an approved Regular Flexible Work Arrangements will be provided with access to a University owned laptop to use when performing Remote Work.
Any additional technology or equipment required to support the Flexible Work Arrangement will be the responsibility of the Employee. Requests for additional equipment or supplies to facilitate Remote Work must be made to the Direct Manager, and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, dependent upon the nature of the work.
The use of University property, technology and equipment while working remotely shall conform to all relevant University policies and procedures.
The Employee shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety and security of University property, technology and equipment while working remotely.
Remote Work should be performed using a University owned computer, with the appropriate updates and security maintained.
In general, the University will not be responsible for operating costs associated with an Employee's remote workspace, including damages to personal property or space associated with Remote Work.
Legitimate business-related expenses incurred by Employees with a Flexible Work Arrangement will follow the University’s business expense procedures and guidelines as defined in the Expense Handbook.
Employees are responsible for covering the costs related to the Flexible Work Arrangement and their remote workspace, including any additional costs for home internet access, telephone access, property/liability insurance, or optional technology or equipment not provided by the University. If Remote Work is taking place on a First Nations reserve and reliable internet access is not available, the University will work with the Employee to explore alternative internet options to support the Flexible Work Arrangement.
The University reserves the right to terminate or alter the Flexible Work Arrangement at its sole discretion at any time. At least one month’s written notice will be provided by the University to the Employee of termination or change to the Flexible Work Arrangement. Less than one month’s notice may be provided if there are health and safety considerations, or other exceptional circumstances.
The Employee may request to change the Flexible Work Arrangement by providing at least one month’s notice prior to the desired effective date of the change. Review and approval of the change will follow the same process and criteria as the Flexible Work Arrangement request.
The Employee may terminate the Flexible Work Arrangement by providing at least one month’s written notice to their Direct Manager.
If the Employee changes positions at the University, the Flexible Work Arrangement will be reviewed by the new Direct Manager with the Employee, and may be changed or terminated in accordance with this Policy.
This policy will be reviewed after 12 months for consideration and for the possibility of longer-term adoption, change or revocation. The review will include an assessment of how Remote Work has contributed to the goals of the Policy, and the impact Remote Work has had on engagement, culture, and student service delivery. Unless renewed or revised, this policy will expire on August 31, 2022.
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