City of Saint Paul employees telecommute or "telework" when, on a regularly scheduled basis they fulfill the responsibilities of their job at a site other than a City location. The City considers telecommuting to be a viable work option that can be implemented at the discretion of Department or Office management. Telecommuting, when appropriately applied, may benefit both the City and the employee. To telecommute, a City employee and supervisor shall enter a written Telecommuting Agreement.
The following guidelines of telecommuting apply to all City employees:
- Telecommuting is a cooperative arrangement that is employed if it is mutually beneficial to the City and the employee. It is not an entitlement, and should be based on:
- The needs of the job, work group, and City
- The employee's past and present levels of performance
- The business benefit to the City as confirmed by management in its approval of Telecommuting Agreement
- Telecommuting is a tool allowing for flexibility in work options, which may be agreed upon by the City. Clearly defined tasks and deliverables typically characterize jobs suitable for telecommuting. Not all positions or work assignments may be appropriate for telecommuting.
- Telecommuting may be considered as part of an employee's reasonable accommodation as defined by ADA, depending on business requirements of the position and the City.
- Telecommuting is not a substitute for dependent or elder care.
- New hires may be hired on the condition of telecommuting. For current employees, each telecommuting arrangement will be jointly agreed upon between supervisor and employee. Telecommuting may be terminated at any time by either the City or the employee. If the termination occurs before the mutually agreed upon time has expired, and it is initiated by the employee, the employee will reimburse the City for any expense incurred in setting up telecommuting per the agreement. If the termination occurs before the mutually agreed upon time has expired, and it is initiated by the City, the City will reimburse the employee for any employee expense incurred in setting up telecommuting per the agreement, unless such action is precipitated for cause, inadequate performance or failure of the telecommuter to adhere to the provisions of the Telecommuting Agreement.
Wages & Benefits
- Telecommuting does not change the terms and conditions of employment as a City employee.
- A Telecommuter's salary, job responsibilities, benefits and insurance do not change as a result of telecommuting.
- State Worker's Compensation Laws and applicable City policies and procedures governing such matters shall apply to telecommuters.
- The work schedule for telecommuters will depend on the type of work performed, the needs of the department and the employee's personal situation. Nevertheless, some employees may be expected to work some hours each week at the central work site.
- The Telecommuter's supervisor must agree and approve individual schedules for on-site and off-site work hours.
- Customers and other staff should not be adversely affected by a telecommuting schedule. If telecommuting creates adverse effects, the city and the telecommuter shall work to eliminate them. The City retains the right to end the Telecommuting Agreement if the adverse effects continue.
- Telecommuters will be as accessible as their on-site counterparts during their agreed upon scheduled work hours, and reachable through electronic means such as telephone, email, fax or video conferencing, regardless of their work location.
- City meetings, including meetings with customers, may be conducted off-site, but not in an employee's residence.
- Telecommuters are expected to attend on-site meetings related to the performance of their jobs, as necessary.
- Telecommuters who work off-site shall have a designated workspace agreed to by the City and maintained by the employee. This designated workspace shall be subject to City visits, upon request, to ensure that safe and ergonomically sound work conditions exist. The telecommuter will be responsible for absorbing any costs related to remodeling and initial set-up (e.g., furniture) of the designated workspace.
- Employees shall agree to carry personal liability insurance (homeowners if appropriate) for at least the minimum amount, as specified by the City in the Telecommuting Agreement.
- Tax implications of home work-sites are the sole responsibility of the employee.
Equipment & Security
- Telecommuters who work off-site shall take all precautions necessary and are responsible for securing and safely maintaining information, documents and equipment off-site and in route to their home to prevent unauthorized access or damage to any City system, equipment or information.
- The City shall provide required supplies and tools to a telecommuting employee for successful performance of assigned duties. City-owned equipment that is agreed to be provided for off-site use remains the property of the City. Because equipment needs for telecommuters may vary the responsibility for providing and supporting the equipment will be defined and agreed to in the Telecommuting Agreement.
- The Telecommuting Agreement may provide for use of City-owned equipment, employee-owned equipment or both, regardless of whose equipment is being used it must conform to City standards for security, technical support and maintenance.
- In case of City or employee-owned equipment malfunction, which hampers a telecommuter's ability to complete assigned duties, the employee must promptly notify their supervisor. If the malfunction precludes or severely restricts an employee from performing work assignments, the employee may be assigned another project or be required to move to an appropriate work location.
- The City and employee may agree to employee's working off-site on a limited or occasional basis. While this policy is not intended to restrict this practice, any such occasional or informal arrangements that may impact or involve City software, systems or hardware shall conform to all City technical and security standards.
- Telecommuting funding by the City shall be discretionary and specified in the Telecommuting Agreement. The costs of telecommuting including but not limited to initial set-up; software and hardware; assembly/set-up costs, modem and on-going costs such as monthly telephone lines may be assumed by either the employee or the department, or shared by employee and department. Uniformity within a department is recommended whenever possible.
- The City shall be responsible for insuring City equipment used by the telecommuter.
Documentation & Review
- Telecommuters and their supervisors shall jointly prepare and sign an agreement that may be terminated at any time by either the City or the employee, unless telecommuting was a term and condition of employment at the time of hire. This Agreement does not create a contract of employment with the City, and the telecommuter is subject to regular work rules.
- The Office of Human Resources shall review all Telecommuting Agreements before they are put into force.
11 Aug 1998