Work from Home
FIT Remote Work Policy Guidelines
Effective Fall 2023
FIT’s policy is to support work flexibility where it is reasonable to do so based on the institution’s mission, operational, and program needs. This program is not an accommodation or entitlement, instead, it is a flexible work arrangement. This policy applies to both bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit staff; it does not apply to campus senior leadership, classroom faculty, non-classroom faculty, or classroom assistants.
Because working remotely is a privilege and may be revoked for any legitimate business reason, it is critical that participants and supervisors are aware, understand, and comply with all provisions of the program. Staff approved to participate must read this policy and acknowledge they have read, understand, and will comply with all remote work expectations.
FIT Business Needs
- The needs of the college, division, department, and clients must be fully met when considering any remote work arrangement.
- Remote work arrangements are not operationally feasible for many job functions. All determinations as to which job functions are eligible for remote work are subject to management discretion and are based on operational needs.
- Schools and unit supervisors will determine and communicate “blackout periods” during which remote work is not allowed prior to the start of the semester. These dates typically correspond to the beginning and end of semesters; periods of high work volume; high student, faculty, and campus traffic; and other staffing and scheduling concerns.
- No remote work is permitted after Spring commencement until Fall convocation.
- A remote work arrangement shall not detract from the ability of the employee to successfully perform their job responsibilities. Further, it should not negatively impact their colleagues' ability to successfully perform their job responsibilities.
- Employees must be available during the scheduled workday in the same manner as if on campus and must interface using audio and video capabilities in order to simulate in-person operations.
- Collaboration and communication are critical for success. A plan for continuous communication of expectations and feedback on progress and accomplishments must be agreed upon prior to the commencement of a remote work arrangement.
- Schedules must be determined in advance and may be altered to meet the needs of the college. In special circumstances, a remote worker may be required to report to the official worksite on a scheduled remote workday with twenty-four (24) hour notice. Special circumstances may include weather-related or technology-related issues, staffing emergencies, or other unexpected conditions.
- All full-time employees with at least one year of service with FIT are eligible to apply and may be given consideration for one (1) day each workweek (based on a calendar week) for remote work for each week. This policy applies to the bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit staff; it does not apply to campus senior leadership, classroom faculty, non-classroom faculty, or classroom assistants.
- Employees must be performing at a satisfactory level as determined by their latest performance evaluation and/or as determined by the supervisor and the campus senior leadership for the area based on current work performance.
- Employees must be available and focused on their work during scheduled hours. Child or elder care arrangements must be in place prior to approval.
- Employees understand that the supervisor may schedule modifications or blackout calendar days/weeks based on operational needs.
- Employees must possess the following skills to ensure success:
- The ability to prioritize and self-direct work
- Excellent communication skills (e.g. follow-up, status updates)
- Time management skills
- Organizational skills
- Technical skills (e.g. mastery of all tools to ensure seamless communication and attendance at virtual meetings and events)
- Staff who wish to participate in the program must submit their request via the online application for consideration prior to the end of the semester for the following semester regardless of previous participation or status.
- The immediate supervisor/manager will review the employee's request.
- The application then goes to the Dept/Division Leader for review/approval (if applicable).
- Thereafter, the application goes to campus senior leadership; all requests are subject to final review and approval of the Unit Vice President.
- Senior-level administrators (Deans and VPs) will review all requests and make determinations at the institutional level to ensure equity across units. Final approval is at the discretion of the Unit Vice President.
- The requestor will receive a written response as to the decision within seven (7) working days.
- If the request is denied, an explanation of the basis for the denial will be provided to the employee. An appeal may be made to the next-level supervisor and a final decision will be provided to the employee within seven (7) working days of filing the appeal.
Criteria for Review of Requests
The employee’s ability to effectively perform work functions in a remote setting is a primary factor in the consideration of approval of remote work as well as the following considerations:
- The proposed day for remote does not require in-person student/constituent interaction, classroom presence, or contact, and the work is typically performed away from the end customer (i.e. the student, colleagues, etc.).
- The work can be performed as effectively from a remote work location as from a campus location.
- The remote work arrangement does not necessitate the transfer of work which increases the workload of co-workers on campus.
- The assignments completed in the remote work location are consistent with the employee’s scope of responsibilities and job description.
- The quality of work, the quantity of work produced, response time/turnaround time, level of service, etc., will be assessed consistent with the employee’s regular professional obligation or job description.
- Recognizing that remote work arrangements cannot be approached in a one-size-fits-all manner, supervisors must ensure equity when evaluating the operational need for remote work arrangements. Approval for any request will not be unreasonably withheld.
Modification, Suspension, Cancellation of Arrangement
Modifications or blackout calendar days/weeks may be scheduled by the supervisor based on operational needs.
Individual remote work arrangements may be modified or terminated at any time following a 2-week notice by an immediate supervisor/manager in consultation with HR, based on operational needs, performance concerns, or any other non-discriminatory reason. An employee may suspend or cancel their participation at any time by notifying their immediate supervisor/manager.
- The immediate supervisor/manager is accountable for communicating performance expectations, monitoring and measuring performance, providing ongoing performance feedback, and formally addressing performance issues via established policies.
- Flexible work arrangements must be evaluated every semester and reviewed, documented, and approved by the immediate supervisor/manager, department head/division leader of the area, and campus senior leadership in order to consider renewing the agreement for a subsequent three (3) months.
Employees must comply with all NYS, FIT, and campus laws, rules, regulations, policies, and guidance required at the official worksite when working remotely. Failure to abide by all laws, rules, regulations, policies, and guidelines may result in exclusion from remote work and/or administrative action, including disciplinary action.
Employees will treat remote workdays as regular workdays and will be expected to maintain their normal work schedule/workday (including overtime when appropriate and authorized in advance) and routine while working remotely.
Leave Requests. Employees must request time off in advance and submit all leave requests as currently required. All current laws, regulations, and standard rules governing employee work schedules apply including, but not limited to, existing call-in procedures (for titles outlined in the CBA).
Reporting to Campus. As noted above, in special circumstances, a remote worker may be required to report
to the official worksite on a scheduled remote workday with twenty-four (24) hour
notice. Special circumstances may include weatherrelated or technology-related issues,
staffing emergencies, or other unexpected
When remote workers are required to report to the official worksite on a scheduled remote workday, there is no expectation that the remote worker will be granted a substitute remote workday in return. However, with flexibility as a key component of the program, with management approval, a scheduled remote workday may be changed within the same pay period.
If a remote worker is required to report to their official worksite, they will not be paid or reimbursed for their commute to/from the official worksite.
Communication. remote workers must be available via all required methods of communication throughout
the workday. Should a remote worker not be available through official channels, management
may contact the remote worker via their personal contact information on file. Managers
must communicate clear expectations for meeting core service to students, partner
offices, as well as internal and external constituents while working remotely.
Remote workers will be required to forward their official worksite phone to the personal phone (cell or landline) that will be used while working remotely and have other technical support (i.e. voicemail) to ensure phone calls related to work are attended to in a timely fashion.
Remote workers agree that, with job-related cause, FIT may access the alternate worksite following 48 hours’ advance notice to the employee unless exigent circumstances require less notice. Such access shall be for the purposes of assessing safety concerns, data security concerns, or inspecting or retrieving campus-issued equipment or records.
Remote workers follow the work schedule and directives of the college for campus closures.
If an emergency occurs at the alternate worksite and the remote worker is unable to work at the remote worksite that day or if the remote worker is unable to, for any reason, continue working during their scheduled hours, the immediate supervisor/manager may direct the remote worker to come to the official worksite or grant authority to charge accruals.
Remote work arrangements simply allow work to be performed in settings other than the traditional on-campus worksite. All policies, work rules, performance expectations, professional obligations, and codes of conduct apply as they normally would in a traditional campus setting. Specific employee responsibilities include:
- Employees accept requirements to be available online (both video and audio) during scheduled work hours. In-person meetings at the remote worker’s alternative work site are prohibited.
- Employees are actively working towards and are fully focused on business goals and professional obligations during normally scheduled hours of work.
- Employees are accessible throughout the workday, answer phones, and respond to emails and other inquiries in a prompt and timely manner.
- Employees meet or exceed all performance goals and expectations as outlined in the job description and work as directed by the supervisor.
- Employees ensure effective and productive communication with their immediate supervisor/manager, team members, and all other constituents or campus partners. Employees’ behavior is professional, courteous, service-oriented, and aligned with codes of conduct, campus values, etc.
- Employees return to campus for onsite meetings, team building activities, training, etc., as required.
- Employees submit requests for scheduled time off (vacations, sick leave, etc.) in accordance with established policies and/or contracts and charge appropriate time off benefits.
- Employees notify the immediate supervisor/manager of unanticipated full day or partial day absences or lateness in accordance with established policies and/or contracts and charge appropriate time off benefits.
- Remote work will not be considered as a substitute for childcare or eldercare. Employees
are expected to make such arrangements for childcare or eldercare so as not to adversely
impact remote work workflow and
- Employees who have childcare obligations, family care obligations, and/or any other obligations that would prevent them from focusing their full time and attention on work, must follow all leave and/or time off policies as needed.
- While NYS Workers Compensation through the State Insurance Fund covers the employee
working from a flexible location, it is the employee’s responsibility to also ensure
that this type of arrangement is permissible
under their homeowner's or renter’s insurance policy. Employees must practice safe work habits and do all they can to minimize the risk of workrelated injuries.
- Employees understand and acknowledge that remote work arrangements are not an entitlement and can be modified or discontinued by management at any time following appropriate notice (as discussed above). Likewise, remote work arrangements may be terminated at any time by an employee following appropriate notice to their immediate supervisor/manager and HR.
- Employees understand and acknowledge that remote work arrangements do not change the employee’s terms and conditions of employment including an employee’s classification, base compensation, or benefits.
- Employees understand and acknowledge that the FIT campus is not responsible for equipping
their remote work location(s) and the FIT policies related to loaning, borrowing,
transporting, and/or supporting supplies and
Equipment and Supplies
The employer will not provide remote workers durable equipment such as desks, chairs, file cabinets, or other office-related furniture.
The use of an employee’s personal computer to access work-related sites, applications, systems, and other information, will be dependent on the use of appropriate security protocols, which will be deployed at the discretion of, and as directed by, the employer. Examples of security protocols include but are not limited to anti-virus software, multi-factor authentication, Virtual Private Network (VPN) access, and/or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Management will determine which connection mechanism is appropriate based on operational needs. Remote workers using personal devices will receive instruction on how to implement any necessary software, hardware, and/or other security processes, all of which must be tested before remote work can begin.
Generally, the remote worker must have an internet connection with the bandwidth that is appropriate for conducting the remote worker’s full professional obligation/job description and FIT official business without disruption. The remote worker is responsible to secure and pay for an internet connection. FIT will not reimburse internet costs or other utility-related costs. In limited instances, remote work assignments that do not require an internet connection may be available. Where such assignments meet operating needs, they may be made/approved. The College will not be responsible for any costs associated with wear and tear, upgrades, or other expenses related to personal equipment.
The remote worker is responsible for having a phone for all work-related calls or having other technical support to ensure phone calls related to work are attended to in a timely fashion.
Minimal office supplies may be provided by the employer and should be requested during the remote worker’s in-office work period. Supplies will not be shipped to the alternate worksite. Any out-of-pocket expenses incurred for supplies, equipment, food, commuting, etc. will not be reimbursed.
When the Remote Work Program ends, the employee must return any supplies issued on their next workday unless otherwise specified by management.
FIT Policies/Security of Information
Any FIT/campus information possessed by the remote worker cannot be shared with or made available to any other individuals except as appropriate, consistent with their campus work obligation.
Remote workers are responsible for adhering to the FIT Information Security Policy concerning the use of computer equipment and the security of data/information while utilizing this Remote Work Program. Such policies, procedures, and standards can be found at the college policy library.
Remote workers must ensure that official records and information are secure in the remote environment and not maintained in a way that would make them available to any other individuals except as appropriate, consistent with their campus work obligation.
Remote workers must protect and safeguard files, documents, equipment, and other materials while transported back and forth between the official worksite and the alternate worksite. Remote workers shall protect official records and documents from unauthorized disclosure or damage and shall comply with all established policies and procedures regarding such matters.
Unauthorized access to or disclosure of official information or systems must be immediately reported to the remote worker’s immediate supervisor/manager. Such unauthorized access or disclosure, including the release of confidential information or the personally identifiable information of college staff or customers, which happened due to the remote worker’s neglect, will be addressed through administrative actions.
Employees must also take the following specific precautions:
- Only take confidential information/documents off-site when authorized in advance by their immediate supervisor/manager.
- Avoid transmitting confidential information from work email to personal email addresses or text messaging services (e.g., icloud.com, gmail.com, aol.com, yahoo.com, etc.). If an employee forwards FIT emails to their personal email account, that account may become subject to subpoena, legal discovery, and other scrutiny.
- Securely store all hard copy documents or office media so that others cannot access them.
- Do not communicate confidential information where others can listen.
- Place documents requiring destruction in Confidential/Sensitive destruction bins located at the official worksite.
Any suspected data breach containing sensitive data must immediately be reported to the employee’s supervisor and the Chief Information Security Officer, consistent with the FIT Information Security policy. The remote worker must complete any required documentation of the suspected breach.
Remote workers should log off and secure any computer being utilized to conduct official business when not in use, consistent with campus computer use policies.
Management will not require that the employee present personal equipment to the college unless legally required.
Remote Work - An alternate work arrangement that allows employees to conduct some of their work away from the official worksite. Under the Remote Work Program, employees will be expected to have a regular in-person presence at the official work location. The number of days and which days an individual employee may be allowed to telecommute is determined by management based on operational need.
Official Work Site - The employee's FIT on-campus workstation. This is the employee’s usual and customary work address.
Alternate Work Site – A specific location/situation appropriate for conducting work away from the FIT-provided work site. This location/situation should allow employees to meet all criteria set forth in this document and is conducive to their specific job duties.
Remote Work Application – An electronic application form, furnished by management, and completed by the employee requesting or being assigned to work remotely. Each approved application shall be effective for a specified period, not to extend beyond the effective dates of this program.
Remote Work Plan – A document, part of the remote work application, completed by the remote worker which identifies the specific work to be performed on remote work days, consistent with the employee’s normal obligation.
Campus Senior Leadership – A single cabinet-level (vice presidential level) employee at the campus who has authority over the department/division reviewing/approving remote work.