COVID-19 Alternative Work Arrangements and Teleworking Guidelines
The following guidelines are designed to assist supervisors as they make decisions
related to alternative work arrangements — including teleworking and flexible
schedules — during the unusual circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Supervisors are encouraged to be as flexible as possible during this time and permit employees to use alternative work arrangements, as well as alternative tasks to be completed remotely.
- An employee may request an alternative work arrangement for a variety of reasons,
- The employee is considered vulnerable (i.e., older adults and individuals who have serious chronic medical condition) to becoming very sick if they contract coronavirus COVID-19.
- The employee is pregnant or has a spouse or member of their household who is pregnant.
- The employee needs to stay home with their children as the result of the closure of school and/or daycare.
- The employee is uncomfortable leaving their home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Discuss the option for teleworking with each employee. Teleworking is a work arrangement in which some or all of an employee’s work is performed from home or another off-site location. Employees generally work regular office hours while teleworking, and deviations from that schedule require supervisor approval.
- If an employee has technology, such as a laptop, and can telework, please allow the employee to do so. Discuss what type of work that employee will be accomplishing while working remotely and establish regular check-ins.
- For employees who may not be able to utilize technology remotely, please allow them to complete other tasks. For example, writing personal and professional goals, reading policies and/or books, etc.
- Supervisors also should consider intermittent telework during this time as a way to provide social distancing while still meeting potential on-site demands, for an essential employee. This may mean that you can allow your employee to telework two to three days a week but require them to come onsite for the remaining workdays, based on operational needs.
- Considering alternative work schedules also allows for more social distancing, while creating opportunities for employees to still come to work onsite and meet operational demands. If employees feel more comfortable being around fewer people and would like to come work on a later shift, those options should be given full-consideration during this time.
Duration and Schedule
- Given this unusual situation, we want to be flexible and understanding since we don’t know specifically how long to anticipate this need. Please hold regular check-ins with employees via telephone or email.
- An employee’s work hours generally should replicate their standard working day (e.g., 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.). However, it may be necessary to flex an employee’s schedule to an alternate shift during this time due to school closures.
- Non-exempt employees must obtain prior written approval from their supervisor before occurring any overtime (time worked greater than 37.5/week).
- Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime.
Business and Operations
- WVU will not be liable for damages to the remote location that result in participation in telecommuting or reimburse any costs associated with using the employee’s residence.
- Employees are covered under Workers’ Compensation Law if injured in the course of performing official duties at the telecommuting location. Appropriate and prompt reporting is required.
- During this time, leaders should be flexible and think of different tasks an employee can conduct while remote.
- The employee will apply approved safeguards to protect WVU records from unauthorized disclosure or damage. All work done at the telecommuting location is considered WVU business.
Suggestions for Telework Assignments
Work directly related to the employee’s job that can still allow them to meet
operational needs from a remote location are ideal. This may include conducting
meetings via telephone or video conferencing, responding to email, writing
procedures for the department, reviewing or preparing materials related to
their work, etc.
Visit the Information Technology Resources website for information on technology resources available to employees who are working remotely.
- If directly related work is not immediately available but the employee still has
access to technology resources, supervisors should consider allowing employees
to participate in online training that is:
- Related to their primary job.
- Required training at WVU (e.g., safety, diversity, ITS, etc.).
- Beneficial for their personal or professional development.
- If technology resources are not readily available to the employee, please consider providing printed resources that employees can work through as assignments during this period. This may include reviewing policies related to their work/department, reviewing safety procedures, reading a book that is recommended by the supervisor, etc.
Please work with your HR partner if you are unsure if an employee can telework or if they are essential to your operations. Your partner can help you think of creative ways to engage your employees so they can work remotely.