Remote Work Policy
Defines the philosophy and expectations regarding remote work to strategically facilitate continuity of business operations, ensure effective use of facility resources, and enhance the quality of work life for employees.
All faculty and staff at the Lawrence campus and reporting units.
The University recognizes that remote work can be an effective approach to fulfilling organizational objectives and providing employees with a flexible, productive work environment. Remote work arrangements are individually assessed based on the position duties and job requirements.
In order to provide flexible work options, a remote work arrangement may include:
- hybrid designations that involve an employee working some portion of the week/pay period at a remote site as well as on-campus, or
- fully remote designations in which most work is conducted at an alternate off-campus designated location.
A remote work arrangement may be made at the time of recruitment (i.e., condition of employment), during the employment period by the assigned unit leadership, or at an employee’s request to transition to a remote work arrangement. All employees are expected to follow all professional standards of performance and conduct, applicable laws, and Kansas Board of Regents and University of Kansas policies and procedures while at all work locations. KU employees are required to complete all University mandatory training by specified deadlines, regardless of the work location. A fully remote work arrangement will necessitate both the supervisor and employee to complete required trainings.
Employees who elect to pursue a remote work arrangement after hire should discuss their interest with their supervisor and complete and submit the HRM Work Location Request Form. A work schedule modification or remote work arrangement request for a health-related reason should be submitted directly to the ADA Resource Center for Equity & Accessibility.
The University reserves the right to end the designated remote work arrangement at any time for operational needs, performance concerns, scheduling conflicts, budgetary impacts, customer service needs, or other related matters. A minimum notice period of 28 calendar days should be provided to the employee prior to a required return to the designated campus location unless emergency circumstances necessitate the time period to be shortened or if a different time period is mutually agreed upon by the employee and unit leadership.
Evaluating a Remote Work Arrangement
Remote work arrangements are not required to be uniformly available to all positions or employees within a unit because not all positions are conducive to remote work arrangements. Remote work arrangements are based upon the University’s mission in providing a residential campus experience coordinated with the unit’s defined business model.
Instructional duties are generally not eligible for a remote work arrangement. Instructors are expected to provide classroom instruction and conduct office hours in person unless an exception or official accommodation is approved, the position is hired as remote, or the class is officially designated as an online course.
Unit leadership is responsible for determining the best use of a remote work arrangement, while assessing the impact on campus operations, space availability, budget, and the student experience. The remote work arrangement is intended to benefit the employee and University without putting undue burden or added expense on the supervisor, team, and/or unit and must conform with all applicable policies, procedures, regulations, and/or Memorandums of Agreement.
Each of the following factors should be considered by unit leadership:
- Remote work arrangements must not adversely affect the services provided to students, parents, employees, colleagues, or the public, whether those services are directly provided by the employee or by other unit members.
- Remote work arrangements must not be assigned if it adversely impacts productivity at the individual or unit level, or if the arrangement negatively impacts communications, collaborations, team-based environments, etc.
- Work schedules in different time zones will need to be considered and managed to ensure unit operations and services are not disrupted. Work schedules should be aligned with the Central Standard Time Zone when possible.
- A remote work location agreement is not intended to provide child, dependent, and family care, convalescing, or caring for an ill family member. The presence of children or other dependents, guests, or pets in the remote work location cannot disrupt the overall performance of work activities or negatively affect the productivity of the employee.
- Although a work schedule modification that is reflective of both the employee and employer needs might be possible, the focus of the arrangement must remain on the effective fulfillment of job responsibilities.
- Remote work arrangements should be analyzed to determine if the position duties can be performed in a remote environment.
- The employee’s prior/current work performance and conduct should be considered to determine whether the employee is likely to be successful in a remote work arrangement.
- Remote work arrangements should not create or increase a need for additional staffing or increase work hours of existing staff.
- Remote work arrangements should not create data security or other confidentiality risks that cannot be effectively mitigated.
- Remote work arrangements require supervisors to be able to effectively manage work hours and productivity. The supervisor should provide clear performance goals and expectations for the employee, and the employee’s work quality, quantity, and timeliness should be adequately monitored by the supervisor.
- Hourly (non-exempt) employees working over 40 hours during an assigned work week are eligible for compensatory time/overtime hours.
Units considering remote work arrangements are encouraged to contact Human Resource Management (HRM) for consultation, especially for employment arrangements necessitating an out-of-state remote work location to ensure all employment law requirements and related costs are identified. Employees will be taxed according to the state and employment law and benefit provisions for the city and state designated as the primary work location which may have a financial impact to the unit.
Remote work arrangements should be reviewed by the supervisor and employee after the first six months and annually thereafter or at the time of evaluation to confirm continuation of the arrangement. Employees hired into a position designated as fully remote do not necessitate a review outside of the performance evaluation process. HRM will review work location arrangements with unit leadership annually.
In the event of campus closure due to a declared emergency, employees may immediately be designated as remote workers for temporary or permanent arrangement. Remote work due to temporary campus closures will not require the HRM Work Location Request Form.
Assigning/Approving a Remote Work Arrangement
Any requested change to an existing work arrangement (i.e., in-person, fully remote, or hybrid) extending beyond two consecutive pay periods must be documented by completing the HRM Work Location Request Form. Requests require review by the supervisor and support from unit leadership. If questions exist about the potential effectiveness of the arrangement, the supervisor may consider evaluating a remote work arrangement on a pilot basis with a defined review period.
In circumstances where the arrangement cannot be approved, it is important the supervisor communicates the reason to the employee (e.g., policy, impact on operations, budgetary implications, employee’s work record). An employee may request additional information from the supervisor regarding the decision outcome. Equity concerns should be submitted to the unit leadership or HRM for further review.
Remote work arrangement requests approved by the supervisor/unit leadership must be submitted to HRM for final review and approval prior to the work arrangement going into effect. HRM will provide a communication to the employee and supervisor once processing is completed.
Fully remote employees approved for remote work arrangements are required to update primary address information in HR/Pay. The employee must notify their supervisor and KU Payroll anytime there is a city and/or state location change to the primary work location. The employee and/or supervisor are responsible for accurately reporting and maintaining primary work locations and directory building information in HR/Pay under Personal Information>KU Directory, which may include a different state or Kansas county location designation if the employee is not primarily working at a campus designated location. Hybrid employees on-campus location is to be listed as their primary work location for space utilization tracking. Hybrid employees should still notify their supervisor of changes to their alternate work location address.
Remote work schedule changes do not require the completion of the HRM Work Location Request Form; however, all remote work schedule changes are to be discussed between the supervisor and the employee and approved in advance with a 14 calendar day minimum notice period. Approved work schedule adjustments resulting in an ongoing schedule change should be updated in HR/Pay.
Electronic Devices and Data Security
Reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that University property is assigned and used according to University policy and related requirements. Compliance with all Information Technology policies including, but not limited to, software licensing, virus protection, data security measures (i.e., multi-factor authentication) is required.
Employees with a remote work arrangement are required to have a University issued computer or other electronic device. Security and confidentiality of University records must be maintained, and electronic records must be stored in University-identified drives via secure remote access technology provided by KU Information Technology. For further information please refer to the Information Technology Security Policy. The supervisor should identify the employee’s equipment needs and coordinate acquisition of assigned equipment with their KU IT Technical Services Liaison.
The employee is required to follow all University policies and procedures regarding access to and destruction of sensitive or confidential data at any assigned work location. Employees are required to keep University-owned equipment and information secure at the work site. The stipulations for use of personal computers for University business is outlined in the Acceptable Use of Electronic Information Resources policy.
Because unknown workers' compensation liability may be incurred if accidents occur off-site, the employee will immediately report accidents to their designated supervisor which occur at the remote work location during the agreed upon work hours while performing work-related duties.
Job-related accidents will be reported on the specified University form available on the HRM webpage. The State Self Insurance Fund, the University’s insurance carrier, will determine the compensability of such claims.
Ending a Remote Work Arrangement
Upon notification that a remote work arrangement is ending, the employee may be asked to work at the designated campus work location as directed by the supervisor. Failure to return to the designated worksite within the defined timeframe may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. The supervisor is required to notify HRM of the cancellation of the remote work arrangement prior to communicating the cancellation to the employee.
At the time of separation from employment, employees under a remote work arrangement are required to return all keys and University-issued electronic devices used to access or store data (e.g., computer/laptop, docking station, power supply, tablet) per the Employee and Affiliate Departure Policy. A value/cost analysis assessment for property return of non-electronic devices should be conducted by the unit leader with KU Purchasing. The Office of Research should be consulted for returning equipment or other property purchased on sponsored projects, grants, contracts, or awards.
Employees will be required to return all equipment within seven calendar days following their separation date and will be billed the replacement cost if they fail to return required University equipment. Employees transferring to a different University position should initiate conversations between the new and departing units to ensure that property assignments can be transitioned accordingly.
Remote work arrangements are limited to the United States or District of Columbia.
Student employees are not eligible for remote work arrangements unless an exception is approved by the unit leadership and HRM.
Remote work arrangements may be eligible for a flexible work schedule as discussed and agreed to by the employee, supervisor, and unit leadership.
Notification of a work location change, based upon a performance concern, may not occur until after the employee has had an opportunity to meet performance objectives as outlined in a performance improvement plan.
Commuting costs between multiple work locations as designated in a hybrid work arrangement are not an employer reimbursable expense. Employees designated as non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with a fully remote work arrangement may be eligible for compensation for travel time if travel occurs during the assigned work schedule. Travel expenses incurred while commuting between multiple work locations, such as airfare, mileage, hotel, and per diem, are not required to be covered by the employer.
Working in a remote work location may be authorized for shorter time periods (i.e., less than two consecutive pay periods) in the best interests of the employee or the University as discussed and approved with the supervisor and/or HRM. A HRM Work Location Request Form is not required for one-time, irregular, or brief instances when an employee may perform work away from the designated campus location, nor will it be required when remote work is directed by the University due to a disruption of business operations or related emergency.
The employee will be subject to the applicable tax jurisdiction, zoning, and tax liability associated with the remote work location as determined by KU Financial Services (KU Payroll). Employees whose remote work arrangements are not within the state of Kansas will be subject to applicable laws related to employment conditions. Remote work arrangements outside of the United States and/or the District of Colombia are not allowed unless it is approved official travel.
The University is not required to furnish or provide additional equipment for the remote work location beyond the designated computer requirements unless the designated item is approved by HRM as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In periods of inclement weather, all employees should refer to the University Inclement Weather Policy. Fully remote employees experiencing an extreme weather-related or other uncontrolled event (e.g., loss of electricity) that restricts or prohibits the ability to work should contact their supervisor for further instruction.
Failure to follow this policy and University expectations may result in ending a remote work arrangement, and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Human Resource Management
103 Carruth-O’Leary Hall
1246 W. Campus Road
Lawrence, KS 66045
Types of Remote Arrangements
- Hybrid: When the employee has an established work schedule to perform job duties from multiple primary worksites on a reoccurring basis: 1) on-site at the designated campus location and 2) at an alternate work location (likely the employee’s residence). One day or more per week should be assigned to work at each designated location noting that work schedules may be adjusted as needed between the supervisor and employee for specific unit and customer facing needs. The employee may or may not have a shared designated workspace on campus.
- Fully Remote: Ongoing work activities are not performed at the designated campus location.
- Flexible Work Schedule/Flextime: An arrangement whereby the employee works any approved schedule that does not adhere to the traditional Monday through Friday or 5-day work week and/or the 8:00 – 5:00 workday. Schedule changes may be intermittent based upon the occasional need or be formalized.
07/12/2021: New policy published in the Policy Library.