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Policy Human Resources Remote Working Policy

Remote Working Policy


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Intent

James Cook University (JCU) is committed to providing a healthy, safe and flexible working environment for its staff. JCU recognises that from time to time working remotely can provide benefits to staff.

The Policy and associated procedure assists Staff Members and their Line Management to clearly set in place a Remote Working Arrangement (RWA).

Consideration must be given to the nature of the work being undertaken remotely and whether this can be conducted safely and productively.  Not all jobs can be performed remotely and requests for RWAs will be considered on a case by case basis in accordance with this Policy, associated Remote Working Procedure and the operational requirements of the University.

Scope

This Policy applies to all JCU Australia staff performing authorised work in connection with or on behalf of the University. It applies to all Australian JCU campuses and JCU managed locations, with the exception of JCU Brisbane.

This Policy does not apply to staff requesting a change in work location from that specified in their employment contract. This Policy does not apply to affiliates e.g. honorary appointees, contractors and volunteers. This Policy may be applicable to casual staff members depending on the nature of their employment.

Definitions

Remote Working Arrangement (RWA)

A formal, documented and agreed upon autonomous working arrangement, enabling JCU staff to perform their regular work duties in a location other than the traditional on campus workplace setting. This may include collaborative workspaces or working from home and may be for all or part of the Staff Member’s work schedule.

Ergonomic Equipment

Chairs, desks, monitors, risers and other equipment or aids that assist with the interactions of humans and work.

Working from home

The performance of duties at a non-commercial private-dwelling as agreed between the University and the staff member.

Working remotely

The performance of duties at location(s) outside of the traditional workplace setting.


Policy

1. Commitment

1.1  The University is obliged to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all staff, visitors and students.  To meet this commitment, JCU shall endeavour to control any risk to work health and safety (WHS) through compliance with WHS legislation and the adoption of risk management principles into all work practices in line with the JCU Work Health and Safety Policy.

1.2  The University’s Statement of Strategic Intent acknowledges that the needs of students are central to JCU’s vision, and that a vibrant on-campus environment fosters a positive learning experience.  As such, this policy endeavours to ensure that Remote Working Arrangements support the University’s Statement of Strategic Intent and quality services for students that are integrated, responsive and focused on supporting wellbeing, success and engagement are maintained.

2. Responsibilities

2.1  The JCU WHS Responsibilities Procedure defines the work health and safety responsibilities for all roles at all levels within JCU. Head of work units are responsible for ensuring that their staff are able to work safely in a RWA and that any associated ergonomic equipment is used in accordance with any WHS requirements.

2.2  Staff that are approved to work remotely must meet the requirements of their role in respect to privacy and confidentiality, and have a duty of care unto themselves with regards to their health and safety.

2.3  The Staff Member’s performance standard has been assessed by the Line Manager to be at an acceptable level and is to remain at such a level while the RWA is in operation.

2.4  Staff working remotely remain bound by

  • the provisions of the James Cook University Act 1997 (Qld);
  • the JCU Code of Conduct;
  • the Policies, Procedures and decisions of the University Council and of other appropriate University authorities; and
  • the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement

as enacted, implemented, varied or removed from time to time.

2.5  The WHS Unit will provide advice on workstation ergonomic matters and seek expert opinion where necessary.  This advice will principally take the form of education, workplace assessments and recommendations at any stage throughout the RWA.

2.6  The WHS Unit will monitor the frequency and severity of incidents and injuries that occur to those who are working remotely, and report these to the relevant personnel and committees to assist with monitoring of the arrangement(s).

3. Principles of Remote Working Arrangements

3.1  RWAs must consider the genuine operational requirements of and for the Division/College/Institute/Centre/Directorate (i.e. the work unit), and by extension, the genuine operational requirements of and for the work undertaken by staff.

3.2  All RWAs are temporary and may be terminated by JCU at any time.

3.3  RWAs are not to be used where leave entitlements should be taken.

3.4  The Head of Work Unit will support Line Managers to determine the work practices that maximise team effectiveness.

3.5  A student or service focus must be adopted at all times. Consideration must be provided to learning and teaching activities on campus, predictable work patterns (including set face-to-face consultation hours), attendance at JCU-led events on campus as well as strategic initiatives at the University.

3.6  JCU will provide a campus based work environment and a mobile computing device.  Staff choosing to work remotely will be responsible for any additional home office costs including ergonomic equipment and consumables.

3.7  Remote working environments must be safe and the work undertaken must be suitable to be performed outside of the traditional workplace setting.

3.8  JCU recognises that some work may necessarily require Staff to be on campus, and there may be reason(s) why approval(s) for RWAs are denied, this may include an individual’s suitability to work remotely.

3.9  The University will not be liable for any liability, loss, damage, costs, expenses or injury incurred or suffered by any person arising directly or indirectly out of or in connection with the RWA, including but not limited to any liability, loss, damage, costs or expenses as a result of faulty equipment, except to the extent that any liability, loss, damage, costs or expenses are caused or contributed to by the negligence of the University.  The staff member indemnifies the University against all loss or damage to the staff member’s property and all claims by third parties in respect of personal injury and property damage except to the extent caused by the negligent act, error or omission of the University.

Related policy instruments

JCU Code of Conduct

Remote Working Procedure

WHS-PRO-001 WHS Responsibilities Procedure

Work, Health and Safety Policy

Related documents and legislation

James Cook University Act 1997

JCU Enterprise Agreement

JCU Statement of Strategic Intent

Administration

NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing. Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

DVC Services and Resources

Approval Authority

HR Committee

Date for next Major Review (in accordance with the Policy Handbook)

10/02/2024

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

21-1

10/02/2021

10/02/2021

Policy established. Interim approval provided by Vice Chancellor

Divisional Executive Officer, Services and Resources & WHS

Keywords

Working remotely, remote working arrangements, working from home