COVID-19 Telecommuting Policy

In recognition of the fact that many of our staff continue to telecommute, the Cabinet approved offering a new COVID-19 telecommuting allowance during the pandemic. The COVID-19 telecommuting allowance of $35 per month, is intended to help telecommuting staff to partially offset their personal costs used for business such as phone, internet, utilities, and the use of non-HMC owned peripherals, such as printers and other devices. The Allowance is taxable and will be included in the individual’s paycheck, processed through Workday.  Both exempt and non-exempt staff are eligible. 

Due to the California stay at home orders and the desire of the College to minimize presence on campus since March, we are making the allowance effective retroactively as of March 2020.  If you currently receive a mobile device allowance, this allowance will be discontinued effective November 30, 2020 and replaced by the COVID-19 Telecommuting Allowance. The COVID-19 Telecommuting allowance will be discontinued at a future date to be determined based on campus circumstances.

In order to receive the new COVID-19 telecommuting allowance, retroactive to March 2020, you must submit the new COVID-19 Telecommuting Request form by December 2, 2020. If you previously submitted a telecommuting agreement, you will still need to complete this new one because the policies have changed to authorize this new allowance

Thank you for your ongoing efforts throughout this challenging time. 

COVID-19 Telecommuting Policy

HMC’s COVID-19 telecommuting policy is a temporary arrangement whereby, during a crisis or emergency situation at the College, an employee is permitted or is asked to work from home or elsewhere off-site to provide for continuity of the College’s operations.

Criteria used to determine telecommuting may vary based on the nature of certain crises and the ultimate need to maintain business continuity.

DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY TO TELECOMMUTE

COVID-19 telecommuting is applicable for both exempt and non-exempt employees with job responsibilities that do not require them to work on-campus. However, a nonexempt employee may telecommute with the understanding that the employee continues to be responsible for accurately recording daily work hours, start and stop times for meal periods and otherwise comply with College policies regarding employment and work hours such as rest breaks and overtime.

Offices and department heads, in consultation with the appropriate Vice President, should determine which employees are eligible for COVID-19 telecommuting arrangements. Considerations for determining which positions are eligible for telecommuting include:

  • Whether the services an employee provides to the College can reasonably be provided when working off-site;
  • Whether requests for immediate on-campus assistance can be addressed on days on which the employee is telecommuting;
  • Whether an employee can carry out key duties without extensive face-to-face contact with supervisors, other employees, clients, or the public on campus;
  • Whether an employee can perform key duties without access to equipment, materials, and files that can only be accessed on campus;
  • The extent to which an employee can be effective and productive using technology, equipment, or other job aids to carry out their responsibilities from an off-campus location;
  • The extent to which an employee working off-site will not affect the ability of other College departments or offices/units within a department to provide services, instruction and/or to conduct business;
  • Whether an employee has emergency management responsibilities that require an on-campus presence; and
  • The extent to which security issues require the key duties to be conducted on campus.

Generally speaking, an employee will not be eligible to work offsite if they are required to be on-campus to carry out their job responsibilities.

Some offices may choose to have an on-campus presence to provide operational support. Employees in these offices who are permitted to telecommute may be called back to the office to help provide short term or rotational support at the supervisor’s discretion and consistent with applicable current health and safety guidelines.

Telecommuting is normally reserved for employees in exempt positions. However, a nonexempt employee may request and receive approval to telecommute with the understanding that the employee continues to be responsible for accurately recording daily work hours, start and stop times for meal periods and otherwise comply with College policies regarding employment and work hours such as rest breaks and overtime.

REQUEST AND APPROVAL PROCESS

  1. The employee obtains verbal approval from the employee’s immediate supervisor and Vice President.
  2. The employee completes and submits the Telecommuting Request and Agreement available at https://hmc.formstack.com/forms/covid19_telecommuting_agreement
  3. Human Resources staff will receive the completed form, review it and do the following:
    1. Send it back to the employee if more information or corrections are needed before the agreement is final.
    2. Confer with the Vice President if there are questions.
    3. Forward the agreement to the Vice President to confirm their approval or denial of the request.
    4. Forward the final agreement to the employee and confirm that the agreement has been approved or denied. Final approval rests with the Vice President with the concurrence of the supervisor.
  4. Harvey Mudd College retains the right in its sole discretion to determine if a position is appropriate for telecommuting and approve an employee’s request. Telecommuting is not an entitlement and the decision to grant an employee’s request is determined and approved on a case-by-case basis.  Prior approval to telecommute given to an employee does not guarantee future requests will be approved.

DURATION AND CONTINUATION

A request to telecommute may not exceed 6 months in duration from the date on which an approved agreement commences. Continuation of a telecommuting arrangement beyond the approved end date is neither automatic nor guaranteed and is subject to the processes outlined in section III – Request and Approval Process, unless otherwise communicated by the Office of Human Resources.  The employee will receive an email prior to the expiration of an agreement.

The College may call back employees to work on campus, at its sole discretion, once COVID-19 subsides or guidance from the appropriate public authorities allow for such a return

TERMINATION OF A TELECOMMUTING AGREEMENT

The College reserves the right to change or terminate a Telecommuting Request and Agreement at any time, without cause or advance notice.  Likewise, an employee may terminate a telecommuting agreement at any time by providing written notice to a supervisor.

An employee must return College equipment, records, and materials within three days of the termination of a telecommuting agreement.

GENERAL CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT WHILE TELECOMMUTING

Compliance with Policies – Employees must agree to comply with College rules, policies, practices and instructions and understand that violation of such may result in the termination of the telecommuting arrangement and/or disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Employees who telecommute will be subject to the same policies as other employees, including polices relating to information security and data protection.

Hours of Work – Unless otherwise agreed in the COVID-19 Telecommuting Request and Agreement, an employee’s regular hours and days of work will not change. If an employee needs to modify the agreed-upon schedule, the employee must notify the supervisor in advance of the change. The employee is expected to perform duties and responsibilities during work hours as he/she would do if the employee was on campus. Authorized campus closures or early release programs and their terms apply to eligible employees who telecommute.

Work Environment and Dependent Care – It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure that a proper work environment is maintained (e.g., dependent care arrangements are made so as not to interfere with work; personal disruptions, such as personal telephone calls and visitors are kept to a minimum, etc.). Furthermore, telecommuting is not intended as a substitute for child care or care for another adult. If a child or adult needs care during work time, another responsible individual is expected to be present. If dependent care circumstances change, the employee is required to notify the supervisor.

Attendance at Meetings – The employee is expected to attend all required meetings (telephone or web-based) and may be required to report for work-related events on or off-campus or to meet with the supervisor in the alternate location, if needed.

Performance Expectations – Performance expectations and evaluations are neither changed nor waived because of a telecommuting arrangement. An employee’s job performance will be evaluated in accordance with College guidelines and procedures.

Salary and Benefits – An employee’s salary and benefits will not be affected by telecommuting.

Tax Consequences – The employee is responsible for any tax and insurance consequences associated with the telecommuting agreement and for observing any municipal zoning ordinances regulating the performance of work at home for telecommuting purposes.

Use of Personal Vehicle – While telecommuting, an employee may not use his/her personal vehicle for College business unless specifically authorized by a supervisor.

Use of Leave – The employee is responsible for reporting absences and submitting requests for leave in accordance with department procedures and College policy. Telecommuting is not to be used in place of using vacation, personal holiday or sick leave to cover an absence.  However, in consultation with Human Resources, a supervisor may choose to offer telecommuting arrangements as an opportunity to accommodate an employee’s partial or full return to work while on or after a medical leave based on College policy and the criteria normally applied to decisions regarding the approval of telecommuting and requests for reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy and/or disability.

Changes in Employment – The Telecommuting Request and Agreement does not automatically transfer or continue with an employee who (a) accepts a different position at the College, (b) has a change in job duties, work schedule or other job-related functions/requirements, (c) apply to a position that is vacated and was previously approved for telecommuting, or (d) when there is a change in supervision.

Communication Responsibility – Telecommuters must have a method of receiving and responding to communications (messages, mail, etc.) from other staff, supervisors, and when applicable, students and/or the public.

Commuting Distance – While telecommuting, employees are expected to remain within normal commuting distance and not otherwise be traveling unless expressly permitted by supervisor and Vice President.

EXPENSES, EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES 

During the COVID-19 telecommuting period, employees will receive a taxable allowance of $35.00 per month, to cover the costs associated with cell phone, internet, utilities and the use of non HMC owned peripherals, such as printers and other devices. The amount of the allowance will be the same for all employees and is based on HMC’s analysis of services fees charged by vendors, adjusted by an estimated percentage of personal vs work use. The Allowance is taxable and will be included in the employees’ pay check, processed through Workday.

  1. Equipment may be owned and maintained by the employee or by the College. HMC will not be responsible for operating costs, home maintenance, or any other incidental costs including cost of utilities, associated with the use of the employee’s residence as a telecommuting location.
  2. The College will reimburse the employee for business supplies necessary for performing work assignments at the telecommuting location in accordance with College Policy and provided advance authorization has been obtained.
  3. In accordance with the College’s Conflict of Interest Policy, an employee who telecommutes is expected to use college-owned equipment, records, and materials for purposes of College business only, and to protect them against unauthorized or accidental access, use, modification, destruction, or disclosure. The employee is required to notify a supervisor of loss, damage, or unauthorized access at the earliest reasonable opportunity.

SECURITY OF INFORMATION

  1. Employees working in an alternate work location and their supervisors must adhere to all applicable security procedures in order to ensure confidentiality and security of data.
  2. An employee’s work computer shall be in compliance with College guidelines for uses of hardware and software including virus protection software, licensing provisions, system security and passwords.
  3. The employee will protect all confidential College documents from unauthorized access.
  4. All products, documents and records that are used, developed, or revised while telecommuting remain the property of Harvey Mudd College.
  5. The College may provide hardware and software support; however, internet connection is the responsibility of the employee.

TELECOMMUTING SAFETY

The employee is solely responsible for ensuring the safety of the alternative work location. The COVID-19 Telecommuting Request and Agreement requires an employee to confirm that the alternate work location is, to the best of the employee’s knowledge, free of recognized hazards that could cause physical harm.  Employees are expected to practice the same safety habits they would use while at the College and to maintain safe conditions in their alternate work location.

The College is legally obligated to provide its employees with a workplace that is free from hazards that might cause serious harm or injury and, therefore, the College reserves the right to periodically inspect the employee’s alternate work space. Any such inspection will be preceded by advance notice and an appointment will be scheduled.

Employees who telecommute are covered by the College’s Workers’ Compensation insurance if injured while performing official duties on campus or at the alternate work location. As such, employees are required to immediately report any injuries that occur while working by completing an accident report form available at www.hmc.edu/hrforms.

The employee shall be liable for any injuries that occur to third parties at or around the employee’s alternative work location.

SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Provide clear direction and deadlines, interim check points and regular feedback.
  2. Schedule team meetings to include all telecommuters, considering the following:
    1. Frequency of team meetings
    2. Preferred methods of communication
    3. Progress reports
  3. Establish protocols for:
    1. Out-of-office messages
    2. Checking voicemail
    3. Use of tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams
    4. Response time to internal and external customers

COVID-19 Telecommuting Request Form

The COVID-19 Telecommuting Request and Agreement form is available at: https://hmc.formstack.com/forms/covid19_telecommuting_agreement

In order to receive the new COVID-19 telecommuting allowance, retroactive to March 2020, you must submit the new COVID-19 Telecommuting Request form by December 2, 2020. If you previously submitted a telecommuting agreement, you will still need to complete this new one because the policies have changed to authorize this new allowance.

If you submit the new Telecommuting Agreement by December 2, 2020 then in your December paycheck, you will see an amount reflecting the December allowance. If you have not already been receiving a mobile allowance larger than $35 a month, you will also be receiving a one-time catch-up payment for March to November 2020 to account for any remaining amount due.

Going forward you will receive an allowance each month on your paycheck until we notify you of the discontinuation of this benefit.

Telecommuting Policy (Inactive)

SCOPE

Telecommuting provides employees with an opportunity to work from an alternative work place instead of their primary location at Harvey Mudd College. Telecommuting should be voluntary on the part of the employee (unless it is a condition of employment), must not interfere with regular office or department functions and services, benefit the department and College, and requires management approval. The quality of an employee’s work and services must not be compromised as a result of telecommuting.

Student Employees, Temporary Employees, and other similar positions are not eligible to telecommute.  All requests require Supervisor and Cabinet Member approval, prior to beginning any telecommuting arrangement, and at least 30 days in advance of the beginning date of the agreement.

DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY TO TELECOMMUTE

Telecommuting is normally reserved for employees in exempt positions. However, a nonexempt employee may request and receive approval to telecommute with the understanding that the employee continues to be responsible for accurately recording daily work hours, start and stop times for meal periods and otherwise comply with College policies regarding employment and work hours such as rest breaks and overtime.

REQUEST AND APPROVAL PROCESS

A. The employee obtains verbal approval from the employee’s immediate supervisor and Vice President at least 30 days in advance of the beginning date of the agreement. Depending on the employee’s position, a request to telecommute may require review by the President’s Cabinet to assess impact and determine whether the position is appropriate for a telecommuting agreement.

B. The employee completes and submits the Telecommuting Request and Agreement available at  https://hmc.formstack.com/forms/telecommuting_agreement.

C. Human Resources staff will receive the completed form, review it and do the following:

1. Send it back to the employee if more information or corrections are needed before the agreement is final.

2. Confer with the supervisor and/or Vice President if there are questions.

3. Forward the agreement to the supervisor and Vice President to confirm their approval or denial of the request.

4. Forward the final agreement to the employee and confirm that the agreement has been approved or denied. Final approval rests with the Vice President with the concurrence of the supervisor, subject to approval by the President’s Cabinet as considered necessary.

D. Harvey Mudd College retains the right in its sole discretion to determine if a position is appropriate for telecommuting and approve an employee’s request. Telecommuting is not an entitlement and the decision to grant an employee’s request is determined and approved on a case-by-case basis. Prior approval to telecommute given to an employee does not guarantee future requests will be approved.

Telecommuting Request Form (Inactive)

The Telecommuting Request and Agreement available at  https://hmc.formstack.com/forms/telecommuting_agreement.