Policy Remote Working Procedure

Remote Working Procedure


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Intent

This Procedure and the associated Remote Working Policy details step by step measures to consider and thereafter ensure commitment by both James Cook University (JCU) and JCU staff alike to be healthy, safe and productive when working remotely, whilst not detracting from the student experience at the University.

Scope

This Procedure 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 Procedure does not apply to staff requesting a change in work location from that specified in their employment contract. This Procedure does not apply to affiliates e.g. honorary appointees, contractors and volunteers. This Procedure 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.

Table of Contents

1     Introduction

2     How to Apply for a Remote Working Arrangement

3     Assessing a Remote Working Arrangement Request

3.1 University Strategic Impact

3.2  Work Unit

3.3  Suitability

3.3.1 Role

3.3.2 Individual

3.3.3 Alternate work space

3.4   Work Health & Safety (WHS) Requirements

3.5   Information Technology Requirements

4     Determination of a Remote Working Arrangement Request

5     Monitoring and Review of a Remote Working Arrangement

6    Termination of a Remote Working Arrangement

7     Incidents, Injuries and Insurance

8     Hours of Work

9     Allowances

10   Equipment

11   Ad-hoc Arrangements

12   Complaints

1  Introduction

JCU recognises the importance of, and the benefits of, Remote Working Arrangements (RWA) in the attraction and retention of staff. JCU acknowledges the need to balance this benefit to staff with the creation of a vibrant on-campus experience and a positive workplace culture.

Working remotely is not an automatic entitlement but may be approved in accordance with this procedure.

JCU also acknowledges the right for eligible staff to request flexible and/or remote working arrangements under the Fair Work Act 2009.  The JCU Enterprise Agreement outlines the process for requesting an Individual Flexibility Arrangement (IFA) which relates to when work is performed.  Where a request for flexibility includes a request to work remotely, then the Remote Working Arrangements Policy and this Procedure apply.  The right to request flexibility under the Fair Work Act 2009 does not guarantee approval.

JCU and the Staff Member each have obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 which must be met to ensure a safe alternate work arrangement.  The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Remote Working Arrangement and Safety Checklist  has been developed to ensure these obligations are met.

2  How to Apply for a Remote Working Arrangement

A Staff Member will first discuss their request for a Remote Working Arrangement (RWA) with their Line Manager. Upon verbal agreement, a Staff Member will access the HR catalogue through Service Now to submit the Remote Working Arrangement and Safety Checklist.  Upon submitting the RWA and Safety Checklist, an automated approval request will be sent to the Line Manager. The Line Manager will consider the request in light of the details outlined in section 3, together with the Remote Working Arrangement and Safety Checklist outcomes. Service Now has the function to include additional comments and attachments to the file.

3  Assessing a Remote Working Arrangement Request

Line Managers and Head of Work Units are to consider the following when determining whether to accept a proposed RWA.  Requests that are more complex in nature must be determined in consultation with Human Resources (HR) and/or WHS.

3.1 University Strategic Impact

The RWA must not detract from the student or service focus of a Staff Member’s role.

3.2 Work Unit

Head of Work Units are to consider the genuine operational requirements of and for the work unit, together with the advantages and disadvantages realised from previous remote working arrangements.

Line Managers are to consider the impact of the RWA on students and other staff.

3.3 Suitability

3.3.1 Role

Some roles are more appropriately performed on campus, and may therefore be unsuitable for RWAs.  Such jobs may include (but are not limited to):

  • those requiring face to face interaction with students and clients;
  • those requiring a high degree of supervision;
  • frequent access to on-campus material/systems/resources/facilities/assets;
  • site specific occupations; and
  • team based work where regular, direct, daily contact with other team members is required and where team members would be negatively impacted by a change in operation.

3.3.2 Individual

The suitability of the individual Staff Member is to be considered in light of their required level of supervision and performance standards, their supervisory responsibilities, the operational requirements of the work unit and the impact on other team members.

Individual characteristics likely to indicate a successful shift to a blended work model of on campus and remote work include:

  • self-motivated, effective time management and organisation skills;
  • the capacity to work independently;
  • a proven record of satisfactory work performance; and
  • the ability to set and maintain boundaries when working remotely.

3.3.3 Alternate work space

The suitability of the alternate work space – see WHS Remote Working Arrangement and Safety Checklist.

3.4 Work Health & Safety (WHS) Requirements

Staff Members requesting to work remotely must complete the WHS Remote Working Arrangement and Safety Checklist as part of the application process.  Staff must be able to demonstrate they are able to, or plan to adhere to the Seated Workstation Set up Guide (outlined in the RWA Safety Checklist).  Once approved to work remotely, staff are to implement their plan and control any identified risks prior to commencing remote work.

Line Managers are responsible for ensuring the Staff Member’s remote workstation will meet the requirements outlined in the RWA Safety Checklist, this includes using an external monitor and/or laptop riser to optimise their workstation set up.  Approval of an RWA may be subject to the proposed remote work area being assessed by the WHS Unit.

The Staff Member must have completed their mandatory WHS training as outlined in Appendix 1 JCU Work Health & Safety Mandatory Training Requirements

3.5 Information Technology Requirements

Staff Members are to review the information provided through the IT Services Comms Hub  to ensure their IT equipment, access and connections are adequate and secure. If required, Staff should lodge a Service Now request to contact the IT Services directly.

Staff are required to ensure their connectivity and ongoing access to internet services. JCU will not reimburse or pay any allowance toward internet costs associated with an RWA.

4  Determination of a Remote Working Arrangement Request

Each request will be considered on a case by case basis.  It should not be assumed that a RWA will be approved or that if approved, the arrangement will be ongoing.

If satisfied with the proposed RWA, the Line Manager will approve the RWA in Service Now which will automate a second approval request to the Head of Work Unit. Service Now will send a notification via email through to the Line Manager and Staff Member regarding the RWA outcome. The RWA will be stored securely on Service Now. In the event a RWA is declined, reasons for the decision will be included on the Service Now form.

The RWA is to be approved for a maximum of 12 months, shorter timeframes are recommended, including if the Line Manager has concerns on the viability of the arrangement.  Following completion of the RWA, if no further RWAs are requested/approved the Staff Member’s location of work will revert to their ‘on-campus’ location as stipulated in their original employment contract.

RWAs are subject to conditions to ensure that the needs of the University are met, such that the Staff Member may, from time to time, be required to attend campus despite an approved RWA in order to meet the genuine operational requirements of the University and the requirements of the position.  These requirements may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • attending meetings or events on campus;
  • attending laboratories and research facilities;
  • conducting research, teaching, administrative or other activities;
  • supporting student engagement;
  • meeting government or industry client commitments.

An approved RWA made under the Remote Working Policy and this procedure will void any previously agreed upon arrangements, unless such arrangements have been specified in the Staff Member’s employment contract.

A RWA request may be declined on the basis of genuine operational requirements and/or the suitability of the individual to work remotely.

5  Monitoring and Review of a Remote Working Arrangement

The effectiveness of a RWA is to be monitored and discussed regularly to ensure it continues to meet the needs of both the Staff Member and the University. An arrangement for monitoring and review is required to be documented within the RWA.  JCU recommend that RWAs are reviewed at 3 month intervals.

The Staff Member is required to notify their Line Manager of any changes to, or affecting, the success and/or safety of their RWA.  Failure to do so may result in revocation of the RWA.

6  Termination of a Remote Working Arrangement

All RWAs are temporary and may be terminated by JCU or the Staff Member at any time. JCU reserves the right to terminate a RWA including if:

  • the Staff Member fails to perform all or part of their role or responsibilities satisfactorily while working remotely;
  • genuine operational requirements or other factors limit the success of the arrangement;
  • there is a negative impact to JCU students, the workplace, productivity or team dynamics;
  • there is a risk identified which the University is unable to control or unwilling to accept.

Either party may terminate a RWA by providing the other party with at least 28 days’ written notice, or earlier by mutual agreement. A risk to health and safety may constitute the need for immediate termination of the RWA.

7  Incidents, Injuries and Insurance

In line with the WHS Responsibilities Procedure, staff are required to report all incidents, injuries and hazards to their Line Manager and log these into RiskWare, JCU’s online Work Health and Safety Risk Management system.

Staff Members who are performing authorised work in connection with or on behalf of the University are covered by JCU’s Accident and Injury Insurance policies (e.g. WorkCover QLD).

Staff who are ill or injured and wish to work remotely should refer to the WHS Health Management Procedure and consult with the WHS Injury Prevention & Management Advisor.

8  Hours of Work

The Hours of Work for Professional & Technical Staff and Casual Staff, regardless of the work location, are in accordance with c.16 and 17 of the 2016 JCU Enterprise Agreement (unless an IFA about when work is performed has been otherwise agreed in accordance with c.25 of the Agreement).

The Hours of Work for Academic Staff, regardless of the location of the work, are in accordance with c.15 of the 2016 JCU Enterprise Agreement (unless an IFA about when work is performed has been otherwise agreed in accordance with c.25 of the Agreement).  This process and form is designed to complement any arrangement made under Clause 15.8 of the 2016 JCU Enterprise Agreement.

9  Allowances

There are no allowances paid by JCU to Staff Members who elect to work remotely.  The Australian Tax Office provides information for staff members seeking reimbursement for work-related expenses incurred while working at home.

Staff who elect to work remotely may, from time to time, be required to attend campus to fulfil the genuine operational needs of the University.  The cost of travel from the remote working location is borne by the Staff Member, unless an agreement indicating otherwise forms part of the Staff Member’s contract of employment.

10 Equipment

JCU will provide all the necessary equipment for a safe on-campus work environment.

JCU will provide staff with a mobile computing device which will enable staff to transition between their on-campus workstation and their remote work location.

Staff are expected to safely transport the mobile computing device between their on and off campus work locations.  All other JCU owned workstation equipment is to remain on campus with the exception of the mouse and keyboard which are lightweight, portable and easily transferred between work locations.

Staff who elect for a RWA are responsible for the provision and cost of all other remote location workstation equipment to ensure they are creating a safe work environment and meet the requirements of the WHS RWA Safety Checklist.  This includes a suitable work surface, ergonomic chair, external monitor(s) and/or laptop riser and any other equipment identified through the Safety Checklist such as a footrest.  The Staff Member is also responsible for the provision and cost to replicate any specialised ergonomic equipment that has been provided in the on-campus workplace.

Non-JCU owned equipment used when at a remote working location is not insured by JCU.

11  Ad-hoc Arrangements

This Procedure and associated Policy is not intended to cover or be implemented for ad-hoc, short term situations of working from home or from another location away from the regular workplace (such as whilst travelling).  In these circumstances however, Staff Members are to consult the available ergonomics and safety information in order to ensure that they are aware of how to work safely in these situations.

12  Complaints

Where a Staff Member has a grievance about the decision, they should attempt to resolve this by discussing their concerns with their line manager or follow the grievance process outlined in the Resolving Workplace Grievances and Complaints Procedure.

Related policy instruments

Remote Working Policy

Workplace Health and Safety Policy

WHS Remote Working Arrangement and Safety Checklist

James Cook University Act 1997

WHS-PRO-001 WHS Responsibilities Procedure

Fair Work Act 2009

Resolving Workplace Grievances and Complaints Procedure

Schedules/Appendices

Appendix 1: WHS-PRO-004 Work Health & Safety Mandatory Training Requirements

Administration

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

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Version no

21-1

Date for next Major Review

10/02/2024

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

21-1

10/02/2021

17/02/2021

Procedure established to implement the Remote Working Policy.

Divisional Executive Officer, Services and Resources & WHS

Keywords

Remote work arrangements, working remotely, working from home, flexible work, RWA