2,071: Remote Work Arrangement Policy

Revised: September 2021

1. Policy Statement

The University of Nevada, Reno is a Carnegie® R1 Research, Carnegie Community Engaged, and Tier 1 University committed to our students, the pursuit of knowledge that addresses the important issues of our time and promotes innovation that drives Nevada's economic prosperity. In order to promote and maintain the University as a world-class institution, a principle of the University is to have a majority of its teaching and services provided to students live and in-person. The University prioritizes face-to-face instruction and interactions between faculty and students as well as in-person engagement between academic faculty, administrative faculty, classified staff, administration and all others involved in supporting the University’s mission. At the same time, the University recognizes that online education can meet the needs of some of our students and can be an effective instructional delivery method for certain educational programs. Other activities unrelated to instruction may also be effectively completed remotely. Allowing for flexibility in the workplace offers the University a tool to serve our students, and recruit and retain students and employees.

University Principles Related to this Policy

  1. To support in-person education, our leaders must be engaged and present for their units.
  2. It is critical that faculty and staff who provide and support in-person education be present to deliver and facilitate the educational experience.
  3. The University is a public institution and must maintain core business hours of Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to meet the expectations of our University community.
  4. Remote Work Arrangements (RWA) must be cost-neutral to the University.
  5. Core jobs which support University infrastructure, health, life, and safety must be provided in-person and be available to ensure departments, faculty and staff are able to meet the needs of our campus.
  6. Online degree programs augment traditional in-class programs in certain disciplines.

The application of this policy is limited because of our underlying principle of providing majority in-person educational experiences and degree programs for our students. The following jobs are not eligible for remote work, although temporary arrangements may be approved:

Senior Leadership*, in-person instructional faculty, student support jobs, and most campus infrastructure and facilities jobs.

*For the purpose of this policy, senior leadership is defined as the President, Executive Vice President and Provost, Vice Presidents, Associate/Assistant Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Associate Vice Provosts, Deans, Associate/Assistant Deans, and other essential leadership positions with varied titles, as determined by the President, Vice Presidents or Deans.

A RWA is a non-traditional working arrangement that maintains without disruption the University’s teaching, research/scholarly/creative/entrepreneurial, service and/or business needs. Units must ensure needs are met when considering RWA request. Adequate supervisory contact and/or employee accountability must be achievable and maintained. A RWA must not adversely affect the services provided to students, the unit, other operating units, coworkers or the public. The quantity, quality, and timeliness of employee work must be maintained.

The University is a complex organization with many interdependencies and RWA’s are not appropriate for all positions, job functions, educational objectives, or business needs. Likewise, RWA’s may only be appropriate at certain times of the academic calendar or fiscal year. Additionally, safety, privacy, security, technology concerns and limitations, unit size and position responsibilities, and other relevant considerations may preclude a RWA.

A Remote Work Arrangement is not a right; it is a limited discretionary privilege subject to conditional approval on a case-by-case basis that may be amended or revoked.

Employees with a RWA remain subject to all applicable University and NSHE policies and procedures, and federal and state laws. Standards of performance are the same whether working on-campus or remotely. Denial of an employee’s request to work remotely shall not be subject to any grievance, reconsideration, or appeal.

2. Applicability and Eligibility

Except as stated above, this policy pertains to all University employees whose core job functions may be performed at the same level through a RWA as would be on campus. Employees interested in a RWA should discuss eligibility and options with their immediate supervisor.

The policy does not apply to authorized work performed away from an employee’s assigned work location as part of an employee’s job responsibilities, including but not limited to travel, sabbatical, research (including international), community engagement, conference attendance, nor is it intended to prohibit work performed off-campus by University academic and administrative faculty holding professional positions as defined and authorized by the Board of Regents (NSHE Code, Title 2, Sect 1.1).

A RWA is not available to all positions or individuals in an operating unit. Not every function is conducive to an alternate location because of student needs, research obligations, unit size and job responsibilities and/or university business needs. The following factors will be considered when evaluating the appropriateness of a RWA:

  • The types of tasks performed, and supervision required for the position, as well as the supervisory responsibilities of the position.
  • The job responsibilities and the operational needs of the unit.
  • The need for and remote access to specialized databases or other work resources that are not adequately supported remotely.
  • The requirements to attend meetings, fulfill public and in-person customer service responsibilities, and other commitments.
  • Jobs that require physical presence to perform effectively are not suitable for remote work.
  • Whether potential costs or savings would result.
  • The types of electronic or paper records/files which are required to perform a job.
  • The advancement of the University’s mission without reducing or impeding the quality of instruction or service provided to students, co-workers, and the community.
  • The proposed remote work location.
  • Other factors specific to the position.

A supervisor may recommend the establishment of RWA for positions where such arrangements are in the best interests of the University and NSHE, or where a RWA would enhance services to meet the specific needs of the unit. RWA’s will be reviewed per the terms specified in the accompanying RWA agreement to determine if the arrangement continues to meet the University’s business needs. An approved RWA does not reduce expectations regarding an employee’s performance or productivity nor does a RWA bind the University or the employee to a future arrangement within a department or unit. No employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to a RWA.

A RWA agreement must be completed and submitted for review if the request for a RWA is more than 10 working days. Remote Work Arrangement agreements will be considered twice annually. For RWA beginning January 1, applications are due November 1 of the preceding calendar year. Employees will be notified on or before December 1 of the status of their request. For RWA beginning July 1, applications are due May 1 of the same calendar year. Employees will be notified on or before June 1 of the status of their request. Remote Work Arrangements may be considered at time of hire outside of these two time periods.

3. Approval Authority

The President has delegated approval authority for RWA’s within Nevada as follows:

  • The Executive Vice President & Provost and the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs are authorized to approve RWA for employees in all units reporting to the Office of the Provost.
  • Vice Presidents are authorized to approve RWA for employees in all units reporting directly to them.
  • Additional considerations and approval authorization for remote work locations outside of Nevada are found in Section 5.

Request for a RWA must be recommended up through the employee’s supervisory structure before approval will be considered by the approval authority indicated above.

4. Types of Remote Work Arrangements

Types of RWA’s available under this policy include:

    1. Temporary Remote Work Location (10 or fewer workdays)

      A temporary arrangement that allows a RWA for ten or fewer workdays. This is approved by the immediate supervisor and the next level manager. A RWA agreement is not required for this temporary situation, however the details of the arrangement must be documented in writing, which may include email between the employee and the supervisor. A supervisor may choose to use an RWA agreement for temporary remote work.

    2. Hybrid Remote Work Arrangement

      A workplace alternative that provides the option of occasionally working from a virtual location (e.g., home or other off-campus location) for part of the employee’s assignment with remainder of the work being performed on campus. The schedule for each location must be consistent and approved by the immediate supervisor.

      A RWA agreement is required for hybrid RWA’s, and must be approved by the supervisor and the appropriate appointing authority. A regularly scheduled hybrid RWA may not exceed 40% of the stated Full-time Equivalency (FTE). For example, an Administrative Faculty member working 1.0 FTE could work 0.4 (2 days) per week remotely. Employees working remotely under this arrangement must be able to report to campus with four hours’ notice by their supervisor. It is the responsibility of the individual approving the agreements for the individual units to ensure the adequate coverage in the unit and that remote days are distributed appropriately across the staff and throughout the week (i.e.: Mondays and Fridays should not be the only days for RWA).

    3. Remote Work Location

      A workplace alternative where an employee works from home or from another off-campus location, away from a regularly assigned on-campus work location for all available work. For academic faculty, this arrangement is limited to, but not necessarily required of, those academic faculty hired to teach solely in online degree programs. The decision to recommend a RWA for academic faculty to teach solely in online degree programs is at the discretion of the Dean. A RWA agreement is required.

5. Remote Work Outside of Nevada

Remote Work Arrangements outside of Nevada will require additional considerations and approval. Approval authority for RWA outside of Nevada, but within the United States, is delegated to the Executive Vice President & Provost for all university employees. Remote work outside of the United States is prohibited.

Remote work locations outside of Nevada will require additional considerations and approval from Business and Finance, the University’s Office of General Counsel, and possibly the Office of the NSHE General Counsel. Issues raised with remote work locations outside of Nevada include, but are not limited to, worker’s compensation, labor laws, tax issues, unemployment insurance, payroll, and state registration, and therefore need to be carefully considered.

6. Remote Work Arrangement Agreement

The RWA agreement shall specify the following terms:

  1. Duration or Renewal of Agreement

    All employees that desire to have a RWA for more than 10 working days in will be required to enter into a RWA agreement. The duration of the agreement may be between 11 working days and one year, with most being six months or one semester in duration. All RWA agreements shall be reevaluated before being renewed.

  2. Terms and Conditions

    Employees with a RWA agreement remain subject to all applicable NSHE and University policies and procedures, applicable bylaws and federal and state laws, including, but not limited to, policies related to computing resources, data and privacy information, and confidentiality.

    A RWA agreement does not change the terms and conditions of an individual’s employment with the University. All policies related to conflict of interest, outside compensated activities, secondary employment and approved leave are in effect with a RWA agreement. Failure to meet job requirements may result in termination of the RWA agreement, disciplinary action, and/or termination of employment.

    Remote employees must obtain prior written approval from the University if they wish to relocate their remote workspace to a different address, city, state and/or county. Upon approval, remote employees shall update their location with the University within five business days after changing the address, city and/or state from which they are working.

  3. Work Hours and Attendance

    The business operations work hours for administrative support positions is 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time (P.T.), Monday through Friday, unless otherwise assigned. An approved RWA does not change the expected workday schedule. Any request to change the work hours must be approved by the supervisor in advance. The employee’s work attendance shall conform to the work hours specified.

    An employee with a RWA agreement is responsible for meeting performance standards stated in the job description or role statement.

    Non-exempt employees who are approved to work remotely are required to strictly adhere to scheduled rest and meal breaks, and to accurately report their work hours. Non-exempt employees must obtain prior approval before working any overtime.

  4. University Equipment and Personal Equipment

    If the unit is unable to provide the equipment required for remote work, a RWA agreement may not be executed. If the unit is able to provide the equipment required for an ongoing (non-temporary) RWA, the RWA agreement may be approved if it meets the needs of the Unit. The employee shall submit an NSHE Equipment Loan Agreement for all equipment taken offsite. The University is not liable for damages or theft of employee property resulting from participation in working remotely. The employee will purchase and maintain adequate and necessary internet connections and workspace furniture in order to work effectively under their RWA agreement. The University will not be responsible for operating costs, utilities, or other incidentals associated with the use of the employee’s remote worksite. Inadequate internet service that affects job performance is cause for termination of a RWA.

  5. Safety, Worker’s Compensation and Liability.

    The employee entering into the RWA agreement is responsible for completing the work location assessment and the required training provided by the University’s Risk Management Department.

    The employee may be covered by Workers’ Compensation if injured in the course of performing official duties at the RWA location. Employee is responsible for reporting any job-related injury or illness to the employer in compliance with applicable policies.

    The employee is responsible for completing all safety and compliance training as well as adhering to all safety, worker’s compensation and risk management policies. Training and orientation may be held at the University and attendance is required.

    Any approved RWA is for the sole use of the employee with the authorized RWA. An employee with a RWA shall not host others in person at the remote location, including NSHE employees or non-NSHE employees, for business purposes (e.g., meetings, delivery or pick up of work materials).

    The employee agrees to indemnify the University for injury to others at the work location. In case of injury, theft, loss or other liability, the employee must allow agents of the University to investigate and/or inspect the work site with reasonable notice.

  6. Performance and Accountability.

    The RWA should stipulate the form and frequency with which work products will be regularly shared with the supervisor and the frequency with which the employee will meet with the supervisor or other employees. However, the form and frequency of products and communication may be adjusted by the supervisor in response to changing business needs. The employee will return to campus as required by the supervisor/RWA agreement for face-to-face meetings. Travel costs for required meetings are the employee’s responsibility.

    The evaluation of the employee’s job performance will be based on established responsibilities stated in the job description or role statement.

  7. University Records and Data

    Any employee working remotely must adhere to all University policies but should be particularly cognizant of policies related to computers, data and privacy, including, but not limited to:

    The employee will apply safeguards to protect electronic data and print documents from unauthorized disclosure or damage. All records, papers, and correspondence must be safeguarded for their return to the office. The employee is responsible for confidentiality and protection of sensitive data. A physical audit of the RWA location by the University may be required in certain circumstances.

    While working remotely, an employee may receive work-related data, documents, or other materials protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Personally Identifiable Information, or other state or federal privacy laws or regulations and personnel records. Those items will be considered “Confidential Information” for purposes of this policy.

    All NSHE and applicable University policies on information technology, internet access, and technology use apply to remote work, as they would at an on-campus work site. A remote work employee accepts responsibility for maintaining the security, condition, and confidentiality of all work-related data, documents, and other materials kept at their off-campus workplace or stored on electronic equipment. Violation of applicable policies or negligence related to protected and confidential information are grounds for disciplinary action. Work-related data, documents, or other materials shall not be stored on personal electronic equipment.

    The employee will hold all Confidential Information in strict confidence. The employee will not use or disclose Confidential Information except as required to perform their job duties. The employee will protect all Confidential Information in accordance with the above-referenced policies and commercially reasonable standards and use appropriate administrative, technical, and physical security measures to preserve the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all Confidential Information. In the event of an actual or suspected breach of security, the employee must promptly notify their supervisor and the appropriate Information Technology Services department.

  8. Modification or Termination of Agreement

    The University retains the right to modify or terminate the agreement for any reason at any time with at least 14 days’ notice, or as a result of an employee request supported by the supervisor.

    The employee may request to terminate a RWA agreement at any time prior to its agreement end date. The decision to terminate the agreement early rest with the approval authority.

    Upon termination of the RWA, University and NSHE equipment used to work remotely must be returned.

    The decision to modify or terminate an agreement shall not be subject to any grievance, reconsideration, or appeal.