H12 – Remote Work (Interim Policy)
Originator: Chief Human Resource Officer
Approver: President and CEO
Effective: January 1, 2022 (to be reviewed in January 2023)
Red River College Polytechnic is committed to fostering a safe, productive, engaged, and inclusive workforce, and recognizes that flexible work arrangements, such as the ability to work remotely, can be mutually beneficial to employees and the College. This policy and the related procedures establish the conditions in which voluntary, remote work arrangements will be considered, and the roles and expectations involved where such arrangements are approved.
The policy enables and supports the development of well-managed remote work arrangements, where such arrangements are appropriate, considering the nature of the work being performed, the College’s operational requirements, and the College’s commitment to delivering high quality education experiences and services. The policy covers the typical remote work arrangements available at the College.
This policy is being implemented on an interim basis and may be modified to reflect institutional needs.
The purpose of this policy, and its accompanying procedures, is to facilitate the implementation of remote work arrangements, where appropriate. The policy sets out the broad expectations for the College, management and employees around remote work including:
- types of voluntary remote work arrangements;
- eligibility considerations; and,
- responsibilities of employees, management, and other departments of the College in relation to remote work.
The policy promotes fairness, due process, and well-being for all College employees, while recognizing and addressing the many considerations that must be made in approving and administering remote work arrangements.
“Management” or “Manager” refers to an individual who is responsible for managing employees within a particular department or academic program at the College. Management may include an Executive Director, Director, Dean, Manager, Chair, or equivalents.
“College Worksite” means any College-occupied building, site, mobile vehicle, or any other premises or location whether indoors or outdoors in which one or more employees, or self-employed persons, are engaged in work or have worked.
“Remote Work” is a work arrangement in which some or all of the work by an employee is performed from home or another approved off-site location, usually with the aid of technology resources such as a telephone, laptop, and other technology tools. At the College, the types of remote work include: Periodic Remote Work, Blended Remote Work, Primary Remote Work and Critical Situation Remote Work. Remote work changes an employee’s work location. Remote work does not change an employee’s hours of work or basic terms and conditions of employment with the College.
“Remote Work Agreement” is an approved arrangement between the College and an employee for the employee to work remotely. The agreement shall stipulate whether the remote work arrangement is for an ongoing basis or for a specified period. Typically, the agreement will be in writing, unless the remote work arrangement is due to a critical situation.
“Workplace” is any place where an employee is engaged in work for their employer. This includes locations where work is being performed outdoors, on third-party premises or from the employee’s home. An approved remote workplace such as a home office, is considered and is an extension of the workplace.
This policy covers the typical conditions under which remote work for an employee will be considered at the College. While remote work is a type of flexible work arrangement, this policy does not govern other forms of flexible work arrangements such as flextime, compressed work week, reduced work week or job sharing.
Remote work does not change the employee’s employment relationship with the College, nor does it relieve an employee from the obligation to observe all applicable College rules, policies, and procedures. All existing terms and conditions of employment as set out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and/or the employee’s employment agreement, including but not limited to the position description, salary, benefits, vacation, sick leave, and overtime pay, remain the same as if the employee worked exclusively at a College worksite.
This policy applies to all employees of the College, including faculty/instructors and non-academic staff; however, not all positions can be performed remotely or are suitable in all situations for remote work. Remote work requests will be considered by management in accordance with this policy and its associated procedures.
In the case of faculty, any pre-existing authorization to perform certain administrative duties associated with a faculty role remotely–for example marking, performing research for course or curriculum development previously identified and agreed upon by management and employee –is deemed approved under this Policy and does not require further application or approval.
Although remote work may be an appropriate accommodation for an employee with medical, family care or other human rights-related needs, this policy does not supersede the College’s usual processes for employee accommodations and does not govern remote work as an accommodation. All requests for accommodation (medical or otherwise) shall follow the established HR procedures.
This policy is intended for use during regular College operations. In the event of a critical situation, remote work may be mandatory for all or some employees. In such situations, policies, procedures, and previously approved remote work arrangements may be modified.
This policy generally contemplates remote work within the province of Manitoba. Out-of-province or out-of-country work arrangements are rare, and in all cases, require the prior approval of management.
There are four (4) types of remote work covered under this Policy:
- Periodic Remote Work is a type of remote work arrangement that allows an employee, who is primarily based at a College worksite, the flexibility to work remotely, typically 1-2 days per week or 1-2 days per month. In some cases, Periodic Remote Work may involve an employee temporarily working remotely part or all of the time for a fixed term to focus on a specific project or piece of work.
- Blended Remote Work is a type of remote work arrangement where the employee’s work location is more frequently their remote workplace (generally working remotely 60-80% of the time), with the balance of their work performed at a College worksite.
- Primary Remote Work is a type of remote work arrangement where the employee’s primary work location is their remote workplace, and they rarely, if ever, perform work duties at a College worksite. This type of remote work is rare, and may occur in the following circumstances:
- The employee is contracted as an interim remote worker and is typically not required on campus; and
- A departmental review has determined that the arrangement is justified, based on operational requirements and/or space considerations.
- Critical Situation Remote Work is a type of remote work arrangement in response to an unexpected, undefined, and evolving situation that forces all or a large percentage of employees to work remotely from home or another offsite location. In situations where Critical Situation Remote Work is applied, employees will follow the direction of management. Procedures will be developed and communicated as required, having regard to the situation.
Each type of remote work requires the prior approval of management and is typically documented in a remote work agreement. Management decisions about remote work will be made in a fair and equitable manner. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with this policy and the applicable procedures, but decisions are made at the sole discretion of management.
Remote work agreements will offer flexibility to employees where feasible and appropriate; however, changing needs and circumstances may call for modifications to or termination of the remote work agreement at the College’s sole discretion. Management has the authority to regularly review remote work arrangements and modify or terminate a remote work arrangement with appropriate notice as set out in the remote work procedures and/or the collective bargaining agreement or employment agreement.
Where the College is closed in accordance with the College’s Absences due to Adverse Weather Conditions Policy (H17), the procedures set out in that policy shall be followed. In the event of a campus closure, employees with the ability to work remotely will generally be expected to do so.
Remote work should not be used as a substitute for sick leave or other medical-related leaves. Where an employee is unable to work because of illness or injury (whether scheduled to work at a College worksite or remotely), the employee will follow the applicable procedures.
Employees working remotely shall not hold in-person meetings in their remote work location.
- Employee Safety, Health and Wellbeing The College has the overall responsibility to provide a safe and healthy work environment that is compliant with applicable legislation, regardless of the employee’s work location. Various College employees and departments have specific responsibilities to implement, manage and maintain safe work conditions under this policy and/or relevant workplace legislation.
- Remote Office Expenses. The College will supply employees working remotely with the essential equipment and supplies required for the performance of their duties in accordance with the procedures. However, most expenses related to establishing and maintaining a home or remote workplace, such as furnishings, utility expenses, home insurance costs, will be the responsibility of the employee. Employees will be responsible for determining their eligibility for and claiming any eligible deductions on their personal income tax returns in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency guidelines.
- Managers are responsible for assessing, in accordance with the procedures, whether the type of work performed by their department can be effectively completed in a remote setting.
- Managers are responsible for reviewing and approving all remote work requests from employees under their management in accordance with the procedures.
- Managers are expected to consider remote work requests in a fair and transparent manner, in accordance with this policy and related procedures.
- Managers are responsible for implementing approved remote work arrangements in accordance with the applicable procedures and for responding to any safety and health concerns brought to their attention.
- Managers have the authority to revise and/or terminate remote work arrangements as they deem necessary, including based on operational needs or employee performance concerns.
- Employees are responsible for acting in accordance with this policy and related procedures, as well as abiding by the terms of a remote work agreement and the terms and conditions of their employment agreement and/or collective bargaining agreement (as the case may be), and all applicable legislation.
- Under this policy, employees have the following general responsibilities with respect to the performance of their work duties. Employees will:
- Give full attention to their assigned work during scheduled work hours and perform their position duties to the same standard and with the same professionalism as would be expected if the employee were working at a College worksite;
- Ensure the remote work location has appropriate connectivity (to internet and/or host applications), security and privacy for effective functioning;
- Ensure that work activities and organizational needs take priority over any non-work-related activities (such as child or family-care responsibilities) during established work hours. Employees must maintain adequate and appropriate childcare services to permit them to devote their full time and attention to College duties and to attend to a College worksite as required by management;
- Make themselves available for regular “check-ins” with their manager or other designated person(s) as determined by management. Management may also require that the employee notify them when leaving the remote worksite during regular, scheduled work hours for reasons other than scheduled breaks;
- Attend a College worksite as required by management, including for in-person meetings, training and employee development activities, and ongoing departmental interactions as deemed necessary. Management may require the employee to attend a College worksite for various purposes, regardless of the remote work agreement. Management will endeavour to provide as much notice as possible. Where travel to and parking at a College worksite is required, costs associated with such travel and parking will not be reimbursable. Generally, commuting from the employee’s remote work location to a College worksite will not be recorded as time worked.
- Alert management in a timely way if external circumstances are likely to interfere with performance under the remote work agreement;
- Record days worked remotely in accordance with the procedures.
- With respect to College equipment, work product and IT, employees will:
- Use the supplies, equipment, software, data and electronic networks of the College only for College business and the carrying out of work assignments, unless otherwise authorized by management.The employee is responsible for ensuring all items are properly used and maintained in safe and secure conditions. All College IT must be used in accordance with the College’s Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy (IT1);
- Take reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality and security of all work-related information when work remotely. This includes locking sensitive information away and preventing unauthorized use or access to College resources, equipment, and information. In the event of a theft, information breach or security breach, the employee must report it to their manager immediately so that appropriate mitigation steps can be taken.
- With respect to the remote office setup, employees will:
- Ensure they have the necessary equipment and supplies to perform their assigned duties in an effective and professional manner. This may include computer hardware, computer software, voice communication, email, voicemail, connectivity to host applications, and other essential equipment as deemed necessary by management.
- Be responsible for any costs related to remodeling, furnishings (such as chairs, desks, filing cabinets, printers, etc.) and maintenance (such as insurance, heat, hydro, internet, etc.) of the home or remote office.
- With respect to workplace safety and health, employees will:
- Ensure their remote workspace adheres to workplace safety and health requirements established by the College; is free from hazards, and conducive to carrying out duties in an organized and safe manner.
- Regularly identify to management any potential situations where they will work alone or in isolation as defined under the College’s Work Alone or in Isolation Policy (E12) and comply with any applicable safety measures.
- Alert management promptly of any safety-related concerns that arise while work remotely.
- Report any injury occurring in the remote workplace during work hours in accordance with the applicable safety and health procedures.
- Comply with all applicable procedures and/or codes of practice or directions developed or issued by Safety and Health Services under this policy or otherwise.
Human Resource Services
- Human Resource Services will assist, wherever requested, in the determination of whether to approve a remote work request and provide appropriate guidance in relation to the remote work agreement.
- Human Resource Services has the authority under this policy to develop, maintain and update procedures for management and employees to support effective remote work arrangements.
Safety and Health Services
- Safety and Health Services will:
- Provide safety and health related advice and training where required on the implementation of this policy; and, develop protocols for safe remote work, including physical and equipment considerations and requirements;
- Support management in conducting assessments related to remote work situations that may impact the ability of the employee to safely perform their position duties, or that may put others at risk;
- Oversee the process for reporting work-related injuries occurring in the workplace whether on-campus or off-site, including at an employee’s remote work location.
- Safety and Health Services is authorized under this policy to develop procedures and/or codes of practice to ensure workplace standards related to safety, health, risk management and the reporting of incidents/ accidents that occur in approved remote work locations are met.
- IT Solutions will:
- Provide training and advice to management and employees on technological support and/or issues, where required on the implementation of this policy;
- Support the ability of employees to perform remote work effectively and safely through the provision of approved technology resources, tools, software and access;
- Provide resources and support to ensure employees can use and access required technologies and applications.
- IT Solutions is authorized under this policy to develop procedures related to data and information security, confidentiality, and use of College IT resources to support the implementation of this policy.
The Legal and Compliance Department
- The Legal and Compliance Department will:
- Address legal and compliance issues related to this policy;
- Provide legal advice on employment contracts and other types of agreements governing remote work under this policy.
7.0 Review Period
This policy is in place on an interim basis. It will be reviewed within one year of its approval date. Nothing in this policy precludes a shorter review period at the discretion of the policy owner and/or approver.
8.0 Related Policies and Tools
- Remote Work Procedures Guide
- Remote Work Departmental Assessment Tool
- Remote Work Employee Request Form & Managers Assessment Tool
- Remote Workplace Safety Checklist
- Remote Work Arrangement Agreement Template
IT1— Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
IT2— Security of Information Technology Resources
E1 — Safety
E10 — Use of Equipment for Personal Use
E11 — Reporting of Accidents and Serious Incidents
E12 — Work Alone or in Isolation
H17— Short-term Unforeseen Campus Closures (also being revised)
MGEU Collective Bargaining Agreement