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Hybrid/Remote Work Policy

NOTE: A request form will be made mid-September 2021.

Policy Statement

Fordham University is a highly collaborative workplace that provides robust on-campus experiences that are the hallmark of a transformational Jesuit education and a dynamic environment for students, faculty, staff, and administrators. While work performed at the University worksite is preferred, at times a formal hybrid work arrangement, and, less frequently, a formal remote (see definition under Definitions section) arrangement may create advantages for both the University and its employees. Such advantages may include increased productivity and performance, relief of on-campus space constraints, enhanced employee recruitment and retention, cost reduction, environmental sustainability, crisis response, greater work-life balance, and increased job satisfaction. Some positions may require a hybrid/remote work arrangement; however, most hybrid/ remote work arrangements are voluntary and for the convenience of the employee.
The approval and management of the hybrid/remote program will continue to be solely and exclusively the responsibility and prerogatives of University management and leadership. Such responsibility and prerogative shall not be exercised arbitrarily or unfairly as to any employee.

Any hybrid/remote work agreement is at the discretion of the employee’s supervisor, and must be approved by the appropriate Vice President/Provost (or their designee) and by the Office of Human Resources Management. Concurrence of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Office of Legal Counsel must be obtained prior to supervisory approval.

Eligible employees will fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location during a portion or all of their regularly scheduled work hours for a fixed period of time. The scope of this policy covers voluntary hybrid/remote work arrangements.

Reason for the Policy

Fordham University is a highly collaborative workplace with a mission that values face-to-face interactions. In an effort to stay market competitive, enhance employee recruitment and retention, and increase environmental sustainability, Fordham may offer flexibility for eligible employees to work remotely or hybrid without compromising their work performance, productivity, or the collaborative nature of our mission.

Responsible University Office/Officer

Office of Human Resources Management

Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all benefited Administrators, referred to in this policy as the “employees”. Employees in good standing and whose job duties and responsibilities are suitable for hybrid/remote work arrangements, may be considered for a voluntary hybrid/remote work schedule.

Professional Non-Exempt employees who are authorized to work hybrid/remotely are not authorized to work overtime without prior written approval from their supervisor and the area Vice President/Provost (or their designee).

The University will consider work from a remote location on a part-time basis (hybrid) or full-time basis (remote), subject to the approvals outlined above. As noted in the Policy Statement, the University places a high value on the on-campus face-to-face experience, and therefore, approvals of fully remote work schedules will be uncommon. Hybrid/remote work may be appropriate for some positions and not for others, during some operationally feasible periods of the year and not others and it is not an entitlement for any employee. A hybrid/remote work arrangement is not a contract of employment, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with the University or the nature of the at-will employment relationship with the University. An employee working hybrid/remotely remains obligated to comply with all Fordham University rules, standards, policies, practices, and instructions that would apply if the employee were working at an on-campus worksite.

Policy Text

The general expectation for a hybrid/remote work arrangement is that the employee will effectively accomplish their regular job duties, regardless of work location. If this is not possible, or is not happening, then a remote work arrangement will not be approved.

Eligibility
Current employees in good standing requesting a formal hybrid/remote work arrangement should be employed by Fordham University for a minimum of 6 months of continuous, regular employment. Depending upon the nature of the position a hybrid/remote work arrangement during the first six months of employment may not be advisable because of the need to train the employee, clarify job responsibilities, establish relationships, and assess suitability for continued employment.

Eligible Positions for Hybrid/Remote Work
When evaluating whether the duties of a particular position may be performed hybrid/remotely, the supervisor should consider the following:

  • Nature of the work and responsibilities to be performed are conducive to a hybrid/remote work location without causing disruption to performance or service;

  • The needs of the department to advance its core mission and the needs of the department to fulfill its role in that mission: including frequency of meetings, department goals and projects, and space constraints;

  • Other collaborating departments’ needs and schedules;

  • Whether or not daily face-to-face in-person interaction is required of the position including on-campus appointments or meetings with students, constituents, or colleagues. Generally, positions with significant face-to-face in-person interactions or that require regular access to onsite confidential documents may not be suitable for hybrid/remote work;

  • The job does not require onsite employee supervision.

  • An excellent level of service can be maintained without hardship on collaborating departments, students, internal constituents, and co-workers.

  • Identification of a backup to monitor the hybrid/remote worker in the supervisor’s absence.

  • The performance of the employee.

Employee Eligibility
Before considering a request for a hybrid/remote work arrangement, the supervisor and department management, with the assistance of Human Resources, will evaluate the employee’s performance and the feasibility of such an arrangement.

The supervisor will assess the needs of their department and collaborating departments, employee work habits, employee attitude, and overall employee performance to ensure:

  • Employee has a clear understanding of the position and expectations;

  • Employee has demonstrated ability to work independently;

  • Employee must demonstrate at least satisfactory performance in that they must have met university workplace expectations in their last performance evaluation;

  • Employee must meet required punctuality and attendance standards, and not require close supervision;

  • Employee should demonstrate consistent ability to complete tasks and assignments timely and accurately; Employee’s communication and collaboration skills should be excellent.

Approval of Hybrid/Remote Work Arrangement
To be considered for a hybrid/remote work arrangement, the employee must apply for approval via the Hybrid/Remote Work Arrangement Form, which will be made available at a later time. This includes but is not limited to information about where the remote work is to be performed, and an affirmation that the remote work is being performed for the convenience of the employee (if applicable).

The supervisor must obtain the concurrence of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Legal Counsel prior to approving any remote work requests, providing the University with an opportunity to evaluate the legal and taxation compliance costs of the proposed work arrangement.

Supervisors should assess all requests for a hybrid/remote work arrangement with fairness across similarly situated staff members and in a lawful and equitable manner.

Change in Remote Work Location
Once a request is approved, it is the responsibility of the hybrid/remote worker to inform the University of any intended change in any of the information contained on the Hybrid/Remote Work Arrangement Form, which will be made available at a later time, including a change in residency or remote work location, and seek their supervisor’s advance approval by filing a new Hybrid/Remote Work Arrangement Form, which will be made available at a later time. The Supervisor will be required to consult with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the Office of Legal Counsel before approving the change in remote work location.

Supervisor Resources
Supervisors may access additional resources on how to manage a virtual or hybrid team by reviewing the following:

Two-Month Review
After the first two months, the approved hybrid/remote work arrangement will be reviewed. The supervisor will evaluate the hybrid/remote work arrangement and meet with the employee to discuss the status of the arrangement thus far. The supervisor will assess whether:

  • the employee clearly understands the expectations of the arrangement;

  • the employee’s overall performance, including among other things work-product, turnaround times, workplace collaborations are being maintained or exceeded;

  • the department’s or unit’s needs are being met or benefited by the arrangement (i.e. the employee is available during regular business hours and responsive to emails, calls, or other messages);

  • the operational needs of collaborating departments are being met;

  • whether adjustments to the arrangement might be desired by either party.

The supervisor, after a review with the employee, will decide whether to continue the hybrid/remote work arrangement. Continued approval of the hybrid/remote work arrangement will be granted on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the considerations of the current needs and limitations of the department or unit, and the employee’s performance during the two-month review period. If the hybrid/remote work arrangement is continued, it should be evaluated at least annually thereafter (or sooner as necessary and appropriate), and is otherwise subject to the same standards of continued approval set forth herein. If the hybrid/remote work arrangement is discontinued the supervisor should provide the employee, if feasible, with notice and a reasonable period to transition (at least 2 weeks) to their on-campus work setting.

Job Duties
The University expects all hybrid/remote working employees to be available during the regular administrative hours of business for the University. Presence may be maintained by using appropriate technology including but not limited to a phone, computer, email, messaging application, video conferencing, instant messaging, Google sheets, and/or text messaging.

Employees must be available for staff meetings and other meetings deemed necessary by management. Hybrid/remote employees are expected and may be required to be physically present on-campus for staff and other in-person meetings or events even if they occur on a day that they normally work remotely. The cost of commuting and parking at Fordham, under this policy, will be at the employee’s sole expense as would be expected of non-remote/non-hybrid employees.

Hybrid/remote employees will be subject to and required to follow all Fordham University policies and procedures.

Compensation, Work Hours, and Time Worked
An employee’s compensation, benefits, work status, and work responsibilities will not change due to hybrid/remote work. Work hours will also remain the same unless changes are agreed to as part of the arrangement. All vacation and other time-off benefits (including leaves of absence) must be scheduled, approved, and recorded in accordance with the University’s time-off policies and practices.

Hybrid/remote employees are responsible for personal tax obligations.

Work Space and Equipment
Hybrid/remote employees must maintain a safe, secure, and ergonomic work environment at their own cost. Employees must ensure that they have a designated workspace and should discuss any request for items needed to facilitate the working relationship with their supervisor. Fordham will not provide office furniture to facilitate the hybrid/remote arrangement. Employees must maintain access to networking and/or Internet capabilities at the remote worksite. The use of equipment provided by the University is limited to authorized persons and for purposes relating to University business.

The University’s IT personnel can answer general questions related to Fordham-owned equipment. For further details on technology to support remote work, please see Remote Work Resources or contact IT Customer Care at HelpIT@fordham.edu or via phone at 718-817-3999.

Employees must protect University-owned equipment, records, and materials from unauthorized or accidental access, use, modification, destruction, or disclosure. All equipment, records, and materials provided by the University are and shall remain the property of the University regardless of whether the records and materials were prepared remotely. Employees are expected to report to their supervisor any incidents of loss, damage, or unauthorized access at the earliest reasonable opportunity and cooperate with reporting such incidents to law enforcement officials and/or insurance providers, as necessary.

Equipment must be returned to the University damage-free and in good working order immediately upon the termination of the hybrid/remote work arrangement, or at any time if requested by the University. Records and materials provided by the University likewise must be returned upon the termination of the hybrid/remote work arrangement, or at any time requested by the University.

Office supplies (other than furniture) will be provided by the University, as needed. Hybrid/remote working employees must obtain prior approval from the University before purchasing office supplies and must follow University reimbursement procedures. Generally, the University will not reimburse the employee for the cost of internet access, electricity, or other utility costs incurred while working remotely.

Hybrid/remote employees shall report any job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment at the earliest reasonable opportunity.

Distractions
It is the hybrid/remote working employee’s primary responsibility to perform work for the University during their regularly scheduled work hours. The employee is responsible for controlling interruptions during their work hours and should make regular dependent care arrangements as needed during remote work periods. A hybrid/remote arrangement is not intended to be used, and should not be used, as a substitute for dependent care.

Personal tasks and errands should only be performed during the employee's scheduled breaks and lunchtime.

Hybrid/remote work arrangements are not to be used for purposes of taking leave or time off from work. Requests for leave or time off (e.g., to bond with a newborn child or care for a family member with an illness) should be made under the appropriate leave policy.

Term, Review, and Termination
Hybrid/remote work arrangements will be implemented on a trial basis during the first two months. Following the successful completion of the trial period, the arrangement may be approved for up to one year, and may be renewed on an annual basis. Hybrid/remote work arrangements require advance approval by the employee’s supervisor, area Vice President or Provost (or their designee), and by Human Resources by executing a Hybrid/remote Work Arrangement and a Confidentiality Arrangement for Hybrid/remote Work.

Supervisors need to submit the Hybrid/remote Work Arrangement and the Confidentiality Arrangement for Hybrid/remote Work forms via email to remotework@fordham.edu. The department will also code the work location accordingly, making the appropriate notation in our system of record, Banner.

Notwithstanding the annual review, the University in its sole discretion may review the hybrid/remote work arrangement more frequently as needed to ensure that employee’s work quality, efficiency, and productivity meet expectations, and that the operational needs and obligations of the department have been met.

Either the employee or the University may end a hybrid/remote work arrangement:

  • An employee may terminate a hybrid/remote work arrangement upon reasonable written notice to their supervisor.

  • In the event that the University determines that the hybrid/remote work arrangement is not in the best interests of the University for any reason, including but not limited to the employee’s performance and productivity, the University may terminate the arrangement. The University will strive to provide a minimum of two weeks’ written notice of such termination of the arrangement, if feasible, but is not required to do so if the circumstances warrant a shorter notice period.

Modifications to Hybrid/remote Work Arrangement
Any changes to an existing hybrid/remote work arrangement must be approved by the employee’s supervisor, including changes to the days that an employee works remotely. Long-term or substantive modifications must be documented by entering into a new hybrid/remote Work Arrangement that will be forwarded to Human Resources and by making the necessary work location updates in Banner.

Tax and Other Legal Implications
Hybrid/remote employees may be subject to new or different state or local income taxes based upon where their work is performed and where they reside. These taxation obligations may not always align with the University’s taxation withholding requirements. This may mean, for example, that hybrid/remote employees are subject to estimated state or local income tax obligations. These taxation rules are complicated. Hybrid/remote employees should consult with their personal tax advisors at their own expense before completing the Hybrid/Remote Work Arrangement Form, which will be made available at a later time. Hybrid/remote employees also should update their tax withholding certificates before undertaking hybrid/remote work and upon making any changes to their residency or their remote work location. In no event will the University be liable for any state or local income taxation obligations, interest charges, or penalties to which hybrid/remote employees are subject or for any associated defense costs (such as legal or accounting fees).

Emergency Remote Work
It may be necessary for the University to cease, limit, or otherwise alter its operations on campus for a period of time due to an emergency circumstance (e.g., COVID-19, inclement weather, etc.). This generally will not impact approved remote operations. Many functions can be performed on an interim basis via remote work. In such circumstances, the University will communicate with employees with regard to working remotely and may, in its sole discretion, forgo documenting such arrangements via Hybrid/remote Work Arrangement.

Implementation of emergency remote work does not indicate the University’s approval of remote work for any employee on an ongoing basis. When the University deems the emergency circumstances to have passed or if a hybrid/remote work arrangement is not successful, employees will be notified that the emergency hybrid/remote work arrangements will terminate.

We encourage employees to review their roles and regular tasks with their supervisors in advance of a potential emergency to determine what functions can be performed remotely and what resources may be necessary to accomplish hybrid/remote work.

Inclement Weather
The University will announce campus closings, delayed openings, or modification of operations due to inclement weather. In these instances, hybrid/remote employees will continue to work remotely, while employees that typically work on-campus will discuss arrangements with their supervisors to perform their duties remotely, if possible.

Definitions

  • Employee: For purposes of this policy, an employee is defined as a full-time or part-time employee classified as a benefited administrator.

  • Hybrid Work Arrangement: Hybrid work is a work arrangement in which eligible employees fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location for all or part of their regularly scheduled work hours, for a fixed period of time.

  • Remote Work Arrangement: Remote work is an arrangement in which eligible employees fulfill their job responsibilities at a site other than their onsite work location during regularly scheduled work hours, for a fixed period of time.

  • Emergency Hybrid/Remote Work: A serious and/or unexpected event or situation requiring an immediate need for hybrid/remote work often in response to a campus crisis or inclement weather.

  • Supervisor: The person an employee reports to such as academic leaders, administrative supervisors, directors, and managers.

Contacts

Office of Human Resources Management

  • Nancy Hark, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, nhark@fordham.edu, 718-817-4090
  • Gülay Siouzios, Senior Manager of Labor/Employee Relations, siouzios@fordham.edu, 718-817-3897

Handbook for Administrators

Exclusions and Special Situations

This Policy does not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) or other employees who are paid on an hourly basis.

Faculty are not covered under this Policy, and should consult with the appropriate Chairperson or Dean for any applicable policies. Graduate Students and other student workers are not covered under this Policy.

This hybrid/remote work policy and any hybrid/remote work arrangements entered into pursuant to this Policy do not apply to hybrid/remote work arrangements made through the University’s reasonable accommodation policy or process based on an employee’s own disability or other applicable circumstances