Effective March 14, 2020, President Cross suspended UW System Administrative Policy 1200 – Interim 01, Interim: Short-Term Telecommuting. Chancellors and other institutional leaders through designees and supervisors will approve telecommuting on a case-by-case basis without the need of a written agreement. This policy will be replaced shortly with a guidance document for UW System institutions to use.

Before the replacement guidance is published, institutions may refer to this document for guidance in thinking about the structure of any telecommuting arrangement particularly as regards access to technology/equipment, data security, and accountability measures such as regular check-ins between the telecommuting employees and supervisor.

Original Issuance Date: March 11, 2020

Expiration Date: July 1, 2020

1. Interim Policy Purpose

This interim policy is designed to provide a framework for a short-term telecommuting agreement between a UWS employee and their supervisor.  The UW System has adopted the State of Wisconsin Telecommuting Guidelines as its policy governing long-term telecommuting practices. These state guidelines specifically do not apply in the case of an employee who works from home on a short-term basis. This interim policy is intended to provide guidance for circumstances in which a short-term (up to two-week) telecommuting arrangement is desired for a UW System employee based on an employee need, a department need or a system need.

This interim policy is not applicable to employees working under regular (not short-term) telecommuting agreements, or employees telecommuting as part of a disability accommodation approved by their institution. This interim policy is not intended to prohibit informal single-day telecommuting arrangements verbally agreed upon between an employee and their supervisor.

2. Related System Administrative Policies

State of Wisconsin Telecommuting Guidelines, 2000

  • This interim policy temporarily supplements the UW System’s adoption of the State of Wisconsin Telecommunications Guidelines.

3. Scope

This interim policy applies to all UW System Institutions, except UW- Madison.

4. Definitions

Telecommuting: An employment arrangement in which an employee performs their job functions from home or another remote location, in lieu of reporting to work at their normally assigned headquarters location.

5. Interim Policy Statement

It is the policy of the UW System that short term telecommuting arrangements are permitted when approved by both the employee and their supervisor; when it is feasible that an employee could fulfill their essential job duties from a remote location for the period covered by the arrangement; and when the short-term telecommuting arrangement does not disrupt the operations of the UW System. Short term telecommuting arrangements may also be initiated by the employer for any legitimate business purpose.

A. Eligibility

  1. Only employees whose essential job duties can be fulfilled from a remote location are eligible for a short-term telecommuting agreement.
  2. Telecommuting is only available if the institution has the ability to monitor or measure the work product produced by the employee during the period of telecommuting.
  3. Telecommuting is only available to employees who have all tools required for their job available to them at the remote location. This may include, but is not limited to: a computer with all necessary software, a reliable internet connection, a telephone at which the employee can receive calls, a workspace free from distraction or hazards, an employer-issued radio or cell phone, a smoke detector, a surge protector, a desk, task lighting, a chair, and any other routinely needed tools or equipment. The UW System will not provide or reimburse an employee for required equipment needed for a short- term telecommuting agreement. All equipment, space, utilities and other services for the remote workspace must be provided by the employee at their own expense as a condition of the short-term telecommuting agreement.
  4. Prior to beginning a short-term telecommuting arrangement, the employee must certify to the employer that their remote workspace meets minimum safety requirements.

B. Limitations

  1. A short-term telecommuting agreement may not exceed two weeks in duration without the approval of the institution’s chancellor.
  2. No more than two short-term telecommuting agreements may be entered into with a particular employee over the course of a calendar year without the approval of the institution’s chancellor.
  3. An employee working under a short-term telecommuting agreement may still be required to attend meetings, work or other functions away from their remote workspace, if circumstances require such travel.
  4. Employees who are not FLSA-exempt must report actual hours worked and may not work overtime without supervisor approval in advance of the overtime work being performed.
  5. Employees on a short-term telecommuting agreement are expected to work their normal work schedule during the period of the agreement.
  6. Employees on a short-term telecommuting agreement must be available by telephone during their normal work hours.
  7. Sick leave and other paid time off may be used during a short-term telecommuting agreement, subject to the same notification, approval and reporting requirements as if the employee were working at their regular headquarters.
  8. The employee must have general liability homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Employees are responsible for notifying their homeowners or renters insurance company of their intent to work from home. The employee may not host UWS business visitors in their home during the short-term telecommuting arrangement. The employee must provide the employer with evidence of insurance upon request.

C. Short-Term Telecommuting Agreement

  1. If the employee and their supervisor both agree that the employee’s essential job functions can be performed from a remote workspace for the time period covered by the proposed short term telecommuting arrangement, and the other provisions of this policy are met, then the supervisor may authorize a Short-Term Telecommuting Agreement.
  2. The Short-Term Telecommuting Agreement must include, at a minimum, the language in SYS 1200-01 Interim Appendix 1 pdf , Short-Term Telecommuting Agreement.
  3. The Short-Term Telecommuting period may begin as soon as both the employer and the employee have signed off on the Short-Term Telecommuting Agreement.

6. Supplemental Documents

SYS 1200-01 Interim Appendix 1 pdf , Short-Term Telecommuting Agreement