Procedures

Telecommuting - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures outline the process for accessing a telecommuting arrangement.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Authorised Officer – the officer authorised to exercise the relevant HR power or function in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule

Enterprise Agreement - The University of Queensland Enterprise Agreement 2014 – 2017

Occupational Category – as defined in the Enterprise Agreement

Relevant Legislation – includes:

  • Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)
  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth)
  • Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld)
  • Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld)
  • Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014 (Qld)

Telecommuting location – home based office or alternate work location

WHSC – Work Health and Safety Coordinator

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to Professional staff members covered by the Enterprise Agreement.

Whilst an Academic staff member is not required to have a formal telecommuting arrangement, it is expected that Academic staff members have an awareness of the University’s workplace health and safety requirements and insurance coverage as they apply to a home-based office or alternate work location.

4. Procedures Statement

A staff member may apply for a telecommuting arrangement, subject to approval in accordance with these procedures.

5. Telecommuting Arrangement

The University recognises that telecommuting is a flexible work arrangement that may provide a staff member with greater flexibility to balance their personal and professional life.

Telecommuting arrangements are not suited to all University positions, and must not have an adverse impact on the University or relevant organisational unit operations.

A staff member on a telecommuting arrangement must be able to perform the required duties of the position at the required standard.

Telecommuting may be requested by a staff member to enable them to work from home or alternate location, on an ad hoc or regular and systematic basis, subject to consideration of operational requirements and approval by the Authorised Officer.

Telecommuting on an ad hoc basis does not require a formal telecommuting arrangement, however is subject to approval by the Authorised Officer.

Telecommuting agreements may be approved for a period of up to 12 months, subject to review.

Certain staff members have the ‘right to request’ a flexible work arrangement in accordance with Section 65, Division 4 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). A range of flexible work arrangements are available at the University as outlined in the Flexible Working Arrangements Policy.

5.1 Considerations for suitability

An application for a telecommuting arrangement will be assessed with consideration to:

  • the suitability of the position’s duties to be performed at the telecommuting location;
  • the level of interaction with staff and/or students required by the position;
  • the balance between the number of days worked at the telecommuting location and the number of days worked at the normal University location;
  • demonstrated ability for the staff member to work effectively without direct supervision;
  • the suitability of the workspace identified as the telecommuting location;
  • required access to University systems and resources that are unavailable from the telecommuting location; and
  • the performance of the staff member.

It is expected that a staff member on a telecommuting arrangement participates in relevant meetings and staff development activities at the University location as required.

A telecommuting agreement may be approved on a trial basis of up to 3 months in order to assess the suitability of the arrangement as a longer term telecommuting arrangement.

A telecommuting arrangement must not be a substitute for providing care for dependents.

6. Conditions

6.1 Hours of work

A staff member is required to work at the telecommuting location within the span of hours consistent with the occupational category to which they are employed, in accordance with the Enterprise Agreement.

Any changes to the days worked at the telecommuting location will need to be approved by the Authorised Officer in advance.

Where a staff member requests to work outside the normal span of hours, and this is agreed to by the Authorised Officer, then no overtime rates will apply. Any such agreement/s must be in writing and retained by the organisational unit.

Any overtime to be performed at the telecommuting location must be pre-approved by the Authorised Officer prior to the work being carried out, in accordance with the Hours of Work, Overtime and Staff Attendance (Professional Staff) Policy.

6.2 Adherence to employment terms and conditions, University policies, and Relevant Legislation

A staff member on a telecommuting arrangement must adhere to the terms and conditions of their employment, University policies, and Relevant Legislation whilst performing work at the approved telecommuting location.

6.3 Ceasing a telecommuting arrangement

A telecommuting arrangement may be discontinued on reasonable grounds by either the University or the staff member at any time. The rationale for ceasing the telecommuting arrangement should be provided to the staff member or the University as appropriate. Where a staff member is seconded to a different role, or moves into a new position at the University, the staff member’s telecommuting arrangement will cease.

7. Telecommuting Location Requirements

A staff member on a telecommuting arrangement must ensure they have appropriate facilities to ensure work can be performed effectively and safely from their telecommuting location.

7.1 Office equipment and setup costs

A staff member entering into a telecommuting arrangement will be responsible for providing any office and/or computer equipment required to perform the agreed duties at the telecommuting location.

The staff member will be required to provide a list of the office and/or computer equipment that they will provide during the telecommuting arrangement to the Authorised Officer.

In the event additional equipment is required, the staff member may seek approval from the Authorised Officer to provide and/or use relevant University equipment at the telecommuting location.

Any equipment provided by the University is to be used by the staff member for work purposes only, and must be recorded on the Equipment Being Taken to a Private Residence Advice Form.

7.2 Workplace health and safety assessment

A workplace health and safety self-assessment of the home-based office must be completed and actioned as a condition of the telecommuting agreement.

A staff member will be required to complete the Home Office Inspection Checklist and provide photographic evidence of the work area at the telecommuting location for consideration by the WHSC in the relevant organisational unit or Occupational Health and Safety Division as appropriate.

In the case of complex, significant or unresolved OHS issues the WHSC or Authorised Officer may request to visit the proposed telecommuting location, and/or seek guidance from the OHS Division with regard to specialist risk areas such as electrical safety or ergonomics.

In the instance the telecommuting location is moved, for example to a new property, or substantial changes to office equipment are made (e.g. new chair or desk), the staff member will be required to complete a new workplace health and safety self-assessment for approval.

8. Insurance Coverage

8.1 Home contents insurance

The University recommends that a staff member on a telecommuting arrangement obtains appropriate home contents insurance cover for the period of the telecommuting arrangement. 

8.2 Workers Compensation

The University is self-insured for workers' compensation and this is managed by the Work Injury Management Section within the Occupational Health & Safety Division who manage all claims for workers' compensation and rehabilitation.

A staff member on an approved telecommuting arrangement will continue to be covered by workers compensation while performing University work at the agreed telecommuting location, and will be subject to the provisions of the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) and Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation 2014 (Qld).

A staff member on a telecommuting arrangement whose agreed telecommuting location is based outside of Queensland may have different insurance and compensation details, and should contact Human Resources to ensure appropriate coverage is arranged for the duration of the agreement.

9. Applying for a Telecommuting Arrangement

9.1 Staff member responsibilities

A staff member should discuss a request for a telecommuting arrangement with their Supervisor and/or Authorised Officer in the first instance.

Prior to applying for a telecommuting arrangement, a staff member should ensure they have considered:

  • the suitability of the position for telecommuting; and
  • any reasonable adjustments to be made to the work area at the telecommuting location as applicable.

A staff member may make a request to the Authorised Officer to enter into a telecommuting arrangement using the Telecommuting Agreement Form.

9.1.1 Requests submitted in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

A staff member who is requesting a flexible work arrangement in accordance with Section 65, Division 4 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), as referenced in the Flexible Working Arrangements Policy, may be requested to provide reasonable evidence to support their application to the Authorised Officer.

9.2 Authorised Officer responsibilities

When considering applications for a telecommuting arrangement, consideration should be given to:

  • the suitability of the position for telecommuting;
  • the performance of the staff member;
  • operational requirements;
  • the WHSC assessment of the Home Office Inspection Checklist;
  • recommendation by the Supervisor as applicable;
  • requests for University equipment to be provided for the duration of the telecommuting arrangement as applicable; and
  • whether the request for a telecommuting arrangement has been made in accordance with Section 65, Division 4 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), as referenced in the Flexible Working Arrangements Policy.

Where University equipment is provided to the staff member to use at the telecommuting location, the Equipment Being Taken to a Private Residence Advice Form must be completed.

The approved Telecommuting Agreement Form and Equipment Being Taken to a Private Residence Advice Form should then be forwarded to Human Resources for processing.

The Authorised Officer should ensure that the telecommuting arrangement is reviewed periodically throughout the arrangement as required.

9.2.1 Requests submitted in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

Where a request is submitted in accordance with Section 65, Division 4 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the University is required to provide a written response within 21 days of receipt of the request. The University may only refuse a request for flexible working arrangements made in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) on reasonable business grounds.

In the instance a request made under this section of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is not approved, the Authorised Officer must ensure they consult with Human Resources prior to informing the staff member of the decision.

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)

Forms

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Home Office Inspection Checklist - Form

Home Office Inspection Checklist - Form

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Description: 

This form is used by professional staff who are seeking to enter into a telecommuting arrangement.

 

This form is used by professional staff who are seeking to enter into a telecommuting agreement. 

Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Telecommuting Agreement - Form

Telecommuting Agreement - Form

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Description: 

This form is to be used by staff to apply for a telecommuting arrangement in accordance with the relevant procedure.

Attached File: 
Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)
Custodians
Director, Human Resources
Mr Bill Kernahan (Acting)