Telecommuting allows employees to work at home, on the road, or in a satellite location for all or part of their workweek. Kenosha Public Library (KPL) considers telecommuting to be a viable, flexible work option when both the employee and the job are suited to such an arrangement. Telecommuting may be appropriate for some employees and jobs but not for others. Telecommuting is not an entitlement, it is not a library-wide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with the Kenosha Public Library.
Telecommuting can be informal, such as working from home for a short-term project or on the road during business travel, or a formal, set schedule of working away from the office. Either an employee or a supervisor can suggest telecommuting as a possible work arrangement.
Individuals requesting formal telecommuting arrangements must be employed with the Kenosha Public Library for a minimum of 12 months of continuous, regular employment and must have a satisfactory performance record. In addition, the employee must be in a job position that is designated as eligible for telework.
Before entering into any telecommuting agreement, the employee and manager, with the assistance of the Head of Administrative Services and the approval of the Library Director, will evaluate the suitability of such an arrangement, reviewing the following areas:
Employee suitability. The employee and manager will assess the needs and work habits of the employee, compared to traits customarily recognized as appropriate for successful telecommuters.
Job responsibilities. The employee and manager will discuss the job responsibilities and determine if the job is appropriate for a telecommuting arrangement.
Equipment needs, workspace design considerations, and scheduling issues. The employee and manager will review the physical workspace needs and the appropriate location for the telework.
Tax and other legal implications. The employee must determine any tax or legal implications under IRS, state and local government laws, and/or restrictions of working out of a home-based office. Responsibility for fulfilling all obligations in this area rests solely with the employee.
If the employee and manager agree, and the Head of Administrative Services concurs, a telecommuting agreement will be prepared by the Head of Administrative Services and signed by all parties.
Evaluation of telecommuter performance during the trial period will include regular interaction by phone and e-mail between the employee and the manager, and weekly face-to-face meetings to discuss work progress and problems. After a trial period that will be determined in the signed agreement, the employee and manager will each complete an evaluation of the arrangement and make recommendations for continuance or modifications. Evaluation of telecommuter performance beyond the trial period will be consistent with that received by employees working at the office in both content and frequency.
An appropriate level of communication between the telecommuter and supervisor will be agreed to as part of the discussion process and will be more formal during the trial period. After conclusion of the trial period, the manager and telecommuter will communicate at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that is appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.
On a case-by-case basis, KPL will determine, with information supplied by the employee and the supervisor, the appropriate equipment needs (including hardware, software, modems, phone and data lines and other office equipment) for each telecommuting arrangement. The Division Head for Support Services and the Network Administrators will serve as resources in this matter. Equipment supplied by the library will be maintained by the library. Equipment supplied by the employee, if deemed appropriate by KPL, will be maintained by the employee. KPL accepts no responsibility for damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. KPL reserves the right to make determinations as to appropriate equipment, subject to change at any time. Equipment supplied by the library is to be used for business purposes only. The telecommuter must sign an inventory of all KPL property received and agree to take appropriate action to protect the items from damage or theft. Upon termination of employment, all KPL property will be returned to KPL, unless other arrangements have been made.
KPL will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) as deemed necessary. KPL will also reimburse the employee for business-related expenses, such as phone calls and shipping costs, that are reasonably incurred in carrying out the employee’s job.
The employee will establish an appropriate work environment within his or her home for work purposes. KPL will not be responsible for costs associated with the setup of the employee’s home office, such as remodeling, furniture or lighting, nor for repairs or modifications to the home office space.
Consistent with the library’s expectations of information security for employees working at the office, telecommuting employees will be expected to ensure the protection of staff or patron information accessible from their home office. Steps include the use of locked file cabinets and desks, regular password maintenance, and any other measures appropriate for the job and the environment.
Employees are expected to maintain their home workspace in a safe manner, free from safety hazards. Kenosha Public Library will provide each telecommuter with a safety checklist that must be completed at least twice per year. Injuries sustained by the employee in a home office location and in conjunction with his or her regular work duties are normally covered by the company’s workers’ compensation policy. Telecommuting employees are responsible for notifying the employer of such injuries as soon as possible. The employee is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors to his or her home worksite.
Telecommuting is not designed to be a replacement for appropriate child care. Although an individual employee’s schedule may be modified to accommodate child care needs, the focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting business demands. Prospective telecommuters are encouraged to discuss expectations of telecommuting with family members prior to entering a trial period.
7. TIME WORKED
Telecommuting employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act will be required to work with their supervisor to enter actual work hours in the library’s time keeping system. Hours worked in excess of those scheduled per day and per workweek require the advance approval of the telecommuter’s supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in the immediate termination of the telecommuting agreement.
8. AD HOC ARRANGEMENTS
Temporary telecommuting arrangements may be approved for circumstances such as inclement weather, library shutdown, special projects, or business travel. These arrangements are approved on an as-needed basis only, with no expectation of ongoing continuance.
Other informal, short-term arrangements may be made for employees on family or medical leave to the extent practical for the employee and the library and with the consent of the employee’s health care provider, if appropriate.
All informal telecommuting arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis, focusing first on the business needs of the library.