1. Opening Statement
Lafayette College’s mission of providing outstanding opportunities for intellectual, social, and personal growth is grounded in our traditional residential experience. As a residential community, serving our students and collaborating with others is expected and usually best achieved by being present on campus.
The College recognizes the growing professional and personal demands on employees, as well as the increasing challenge of finding new and better ways to effectively manage people, time, space, and workload. Flexible work arrangements can promote productivity, enhance job satisfaction, enable recruitment and retention of valuable employees, contribute to environmental sustainability, and strengthen the College’s position as an employer of choice.
2. Purpose and Scope
Flexible work arrangements provide the potential for employees to explore a flexible work schedule that may better meet their personal needs while allowing the institution to continue to meet core college and general business responsibilities. Lafayette College is committed to facilitating workplace arrangements that support a variety of operational, professional, and personal needs, knowing these may vary depending on each employee’s responsibilities and situation. Not all positions are suitable for flexible work arrangements. As such, all decisions on flexible work arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis.
The College provides guidance on various forms of workplace flexibility balanced with required actions and legal concerns related to overtime, holiday pay, timekeeping, medical leave considerations, and tax issues.
The College permits the use of flexible work arrangements when they are pre-approved by the employee’s division, accommodate the needs of employees, assist in meeting operational needs and requirements, and are consistent with the maintenance of a high level of service by the College.
If you are seeking a flexible work arrangement due to care for your own serious health condition or that of an employee’s spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition, or birth, adoption, or fostering of a child; consult with Human Resources to determine whether your circumstances would be more appropriately addressed under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or as a potential reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Requests may be submitted via the appropriate family and medical leave form or the reasonable accommodations request form and/or by contacting the Office of Human Resources.
If a hiring manager is seeking to hire an employee based in a location that is not within a commutable distance to the College, the manager should consult with Human Resources to appropriately address necessary circumstances and other considerations such as payroll, state taxes, etc. prior to making any offer of employment to the applicant.
i. We are a residential college community where serving our students and collaborating with others, and is best achieved by being present on campus through face-to-face, classroom and on campus interactions between students, faculty, and staff.
ii. Flexible work arrangements change the work norms of how a job is typically accomplished, including, but not limited to, time, place, methods, etc.
iii. Flexible work arrangements will only be granted for certain positions and are dependent upon an employee’s ability to be accountable for their job needs. They do not change job responsibilities and are not suitable for every job. Such arrangements should be based on current job duties and should not result in changes to the essential functions of the position.
iv. Flexible work arrangements are not available for all positions. Many jobs require employees to be on-site and physically present on a daily or frequent basis due to personal interaction with students, employees, and other constituents and/or to access information or materials that are available only at the regularly assigned site(s).
v. Flexible work arrangements must have a net-positive effect. These work arrangements should have a net-positive effect on the individual’s performance, business results, and work environment. If a flexible work arrangement has a negative effect on the individual’s work performance or business results, the arrangement may be revoked at the sole discretion of the College.
vi. Flexible work arrangements are responsive to the needs of employees and business operations. As changes occur frequently, flexible work arrangements should be reviewed and updated annually.
b. Business Considerations
i. In order to determine the appropriateness of a flex arrangement, the College will take into consideration issues including, but not limited to, the employee’s position, the position’s suitability for a flexible work arrangement, tax laws, state employment laws, safety and security of College equipment and information, and compliance with College policies and workplace regulations including the Fair Labor Standards Act and workers’ compensation.
ii. The operational needs of the College take precedence over flexible work arrangements. An employee must report to the primary work location on any scheduled workday when required by the Supervisor and with reasonable advance notice (see definitions).
iii. In general, flexible work arrangements should replicate the productive working conditions of a Lafayette-provided workspace. Major activities that wouldn’t be a normal part of the on-campus workday (such as providing care for family members or performing non-work-related tasks) are not appropriate while working remotely. Activities that might normally be interspersed throughout the day at the office (such as taking check-in calls from a caregiver) are acceptable if they do not interfere with expected routines and deliverables. Employees cannot use a flexible work arrangement as a replacement for appropriate childcare.
iv. Flex-time schedules may be specific, intermittent, or rotational and will be set up in an attempt to better meet the operational needs of the College and the needs of employees.
c. Equipment & Location
i. The employee’s use of equipment, software, and all other resources provided by the College is limited to work related purposes and is not intended for and should not be used for the employee’s personal matters.
ii. In-person business with others cannot be conducted in a personal residence. No in-person meetings, material drop-off, or in-person technical assistance will be conducted in a personal residence. No technical support will be provided for non-Lafayette computers or equipment.
iii. Only one set of technological equipment for a workspace will be provided and maintained by ITS. The type of equipment provided will be based on primary workspace needs.
iv. Commutable Distance. Generally, the employee’s flex-place must be within a commutable distance (see definitions) to the College.
v. Confidential Information. The flex-place should be a suitable business-focused working environment that protects sensitive information and is secure from unintentional access and non-work-related interruption.
i. Benefit eligibility/status is not affected by a flexible work arrangement.
ii. There is no additional pay for flexible work arrangements, nor will mileage be paid or transportation reimbursed between a flex-place and the College. Travel for business will be reimbursed from whichever work location (flex-place or on campus) is closer to the required destination.
iii. The College will not be held responsible for, and will make every effort to prevent, costs, damages, or losses associated with a flexible work arrangement.
iv. The College is not responsible for flex-place expenses, including, but not limited to, heat, electricity, internet, personal phone, etc.
v. Appropriate andcontinuous liability insurance coverage and expense is the employee’s responsibility (e.g., homeowner’s or renter’s insurance) for securing College property and information at the flex-place. The employee may be asked by the College to provide a certificate of insurance. The College’s insurance will not cover any personal property that is used at home or another flex-place site.
e. Approval and Decision Process
i. The approval process is equitable. Requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Decision-makers are responsible for considering requests objectively and fairly, but are not obligated to grant approval. Initial decisions are made without favoritism and with an eye toward the specific job requirements and expectations, as well as continued satisfactory job performance.
ii. Division heads hold final decision making authority to approve or decline flexible work arrangement requests.
iii. Division heads have the authority to delegate decision making approval to supervisors or department heads.
iv. Approved arrangements can be retracted by the College or the employee at any time with reasonable notice (see definitions) at the College’s sole discretion.
The success of a flexible work arrangement depends on a mutual understanding and clear expectations between the employee and their supervisor.
a. Employees are expected to:
i. Comply with all terms and conditions of employment, including College policies, practices, and procedures (including, but not limited to data privacy and security);
ii. Maintain a level of performance consistent with expectations for job duties and responsibilities;
iii. Adhere to core work hours, availability, and tracking of hours:
▪ Be available during pre-determined core hours. The total number of hours employees are expected to work will not change based on flexible work arrangements;
▪ Report to designated location(s), as needed, for work-related meetings, events, discussions regarding work progress, or other work-related issues;
▪ Non-exempt employees are prohibited from checking, reading, sending, or responding to work-related emails, voicemails, etc., outside the normal work schedule, unless authorized by the Supervisor. Using electronic communications for work purposes is considered to be working, is compensable, and will count toward overtime eligibility, as required by law;
▪ Report all absences from work due to illness or any other reason to the supervisor, according to established departmental procedure;
▪ Maintain accurate time records in accordance with College procedure. For any non-exempt employee, overtime work must be approved in advance by the supervisor.
iv. Ensure the flex-place workspace is free from safety hazards:
▪ Ideally, a separate workspace must be designated, particularly if working at home.
▪ The workspace must be properly set up and maintained following Public Safety’s ergonomics guidelines. Any questions regarding setting up your workspace should be directed to the Supervisor of Environmental, Health and Safety.
▪ Workers’ compensation benefits will apply only to injuries sustained while working in an approved remote work arrangement and flex-place. Employees are responsible for notifying their Supervisor / Division Head of such injuries as soon as practical and immediately completing an incident report, as established in the College’s Workers’ Compensation Policy. The College is not responsible for injuries unrelated to such work activities that might occur in the defined flex-place or elsewhere. The employee is responsible for any injuries sustained by visitors at their flex-place.
v. Comply with all College safety guidelines, whether working on campus or remotely, including those related to travel.
b. Supervisors are expected to:
i. Develop plans and strategies for flexible work arrangements in their area(s) of responsibility and discuss/finalize them with the division head.
ii. Ensure the fair and equitable distribution of assignments, rotations, and other expectations so as not to advantage one employee over another. While responsibilities may rotate, flexible work arrangements should not place a burden on other employees.
iii. Provide clear expectations and feedback oon job performance during flexible work arrangements including expected core work hours, required meeting attendance, productivity expectations, and performance standards.
iv. Ensure day-to-day supervision of the flexible work arrangement.
v. Review and understand supervisor FAQ for flexible work arrangements prior to approving requests.
5. Procedures (see Appendix for flow charts)
a. Request Submission and Approval Process:
i. Employees must submit a request in writing via the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form and Agreement to their supervisor for a flexible work arrangement that includes details such as duration, type of flexible arrangement (refer to definitions in Appendix), rationale, etc.
ii. Employees and their supervisors / division head are expected to engage in open dialogue about requests for remote work arrangements and to assess feasibility on a case-by-case basis.
iii. The supervisor will review and document the flexible work agreement in the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form and Agreement, which shall include:
▪ Specific days and times for the employee’s flexible work arrangement,
▪ Specific and objectively verifiable performance expectations while in a flexible work arrangement (stating that the employee will “do their job” or similar general direction is not sufficient),
▪ Expectations of the level of communication and responsiveness expected during flex-time,
▪ Expectations of attendance for meetings and other interactions across the College and with external customers,
▪ Any other expectations of work fulfillment and metrics/instructions on how this work will be recorded and assessed,
▪ An end date or a 3-to-6-month recurring timeframe when the employee and supervisor will reassess the appropriateness of the flexible work arrangement,
▪ Notice that approved agreements can be retracted at any time with reasonable notice at the College’s sole discretion.
iv. Appeals of initial decisions regarding flexible work arrangements shall be made to the division head. When needed, the appeal may be brought to the Office of Human Resources or the Provost’s Office, as appropriate.
b. Termination / Continuation Process:
i. If the arrangement becomes infeasible at any time, it may be discontinued at the discretion of either the employee or the Supervisors / Division Head. Every attempt will be made to provide a period of reasonable notice.
ii. Flexible work arrangements must be reviewed and evaluated periodically by the employee and the Supervisor / Division Head to determine the effectiveness of a continuing arrangement. The Supervisor should document all reviews.
iii. Continuation of remote work arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Supervisors / Division head.
iv. If an employee has a concern regarding a decision under these guidelines and procedures, it should be brought to the attention of the Supervisors / Division Head immediately.
v. If the concern is not resolved, Human Resources can provide guidance to all parties in order to reach a resolution.
The following terms appearing in these guidelines and procedures shall have the meanings indicated below:
Commutable distance – A commute within a 100-mile radius of the College or the flex-place location.
Compressed schedule – A form of flex-time where the performance of weekly duties by working longer hours over fewer days per week. For example, working four 10.5-hour days, or three 12.5-hour days and one 4.5-hour day, instead of five 8.5-hour days.
Division head – The Cabinet member responsible for the business unit in which the employee works.
Employees – Full-time employees, including faculty, employed by Lafayette College, unless otherwise specified.
Flexible work agreement – The written documentation of a flexible work arrangement, which can be in the form of an email, memo, letter, or other documentation that is available for later reference.
Flex-place – The alternate work site(s) where an employee completes all, or some portion, of their work. Usually, but not limited to, the employee’s home. For example, the employee works Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the office but works Tuesday and Thursday in the home (flex-place).
Flex-time – The performance of daily work duties during time periods over a single day that vary from the normal work hours. For example: working 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., or 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., instead of 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Flexible work arrangement – Any change to work norms such as time, location, setup, etc., under which job duties customarily have been conducted in order to better accommodate the needs of the employee and/or department. Flexible work arrangements can be established or occasional. (Situations covered instead by provisions in the ADA or USERRA must be handled under the College’s Reasonable Accommodation Policy.)
▪ Established flexibility – An arrangement that is agreed upon by the employee, their immediate supervisor, and/or the division head with an expected duration of two months or longer.
▪ Occasional flexibility – An arrangement agreed upon by the employee, their immediate supervisor, and/or the division head with an expected duration of less than two months.
Immediate supervisor – The person to whom the employee directly reports.
Net-positive effect – The resulting impact of a flexible work arrangement in which the completion of the employee’s job responsibilities is as good or better than it would be otherwise.
Next-level supervisor – The person to whom the employee’s immediate supervisor reports.
Reasonable advance notice – A minimum of 48 hours’, in most situations.
Supervisor – The employee’s immediate supervisor.
Supervisors – The employee’s immediate supervisor and next-level supervisor.
Work norms – Performing duties on campus during the work hours established by the College and the department.