Work From Home and Telecommuting Agreement

Colgate is a residential community, where serving our students and collaborating with others is usually best achieved by being present on our campus. From time-to-time there are opportunities when it is in the best interest of the University to allow an employee to consistently work from home, or from another location, including outside of New York State, for all or part of their regular work schedule. Telecommuting arrangements may be appropriate for some employees and jobs but may not be for others. Telecommuting is not a University-wide benefit, and it in no way changes the terms and conditions of employment with Colgate University. The University also allows for some flexibility in occasional requests to work from home for a day (see below.) 

What follows is the policy on the different categories of alternate work arrangements. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring these steps are followed.  Employees covered by a collective bargaining unit are not eligible under this policy.

Occasional Work from Home – within New York State 

Temporary working-from-home arrangements should be limited in nature and will not be permitted for positions that require an in-person campus presence. These arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the expectation that these will only be occasional (no more than 10 times a year). In all cases this arrangement will need to be consistent with job responsibilities and approved by the employee’s supervisor. Any arrangements that are related to personal medical or family care, should be determined in collaboration with Human Resources. Some key points of working from home arrangements are: 

  • In general, it is anticipated that if employees are working from home, they will engage in a full day of work; if this is not the case, the employee will need to supplement with benefit time. You may be required to provide an account to your supervisor of the work you plan to complete and a log upon completion of any work performed from home that day. 
  • Typically, if an employee is not well enough to report to work, they should not be working from home and should be focused on getting better. Normally, an out of office email reply should be turned on with a message referring senders to someone else. However, hourly employees may, when using sick time, accumulate up to a ½ hour of work a day by checking and forwarding email responses. 
  • In all cases, all University equipment and materials must be stored in a safe and secure location and all work performed remotely must be completed via a VPN connection for security purposes. 

Telecommuting – within New York State 

Because Colgate’s model of education values in-person interaction and the foundation of a vibrant academic community, most Colgate employees are required to work in-person on campus. For a limited number of positions, based on the needs of the department and the needs of the employee, along with certain business considerations, telecommuting arrangements may be made. For example, some divisions have regional positions for which employees are required to work outside of Hamilton. These arrangements are always subject to review based on the needs of the University. 

Before making any ongoing telecommuting arrangements, departments must submit a proposal related to the business need for these arrangements and submit to their Vice President for approval and then to the Human Resources Department. 

In all cases, the employee must have a satisfactory performance record. The arrangements will be made on a trial basis and may be discontinued at will, and at any time, at the request of either the employee or the University. When the University looks to discontinue the arrangement, every effort will be made to provide the employee at minimum 30 days’ notice, but in some instances 30 days’ notice may not be possible. 

Should alternate work arrangements be approved, it is inherent on both the supervisor and employee to maintain an easily accessible line of communication to ensure responsibilities are being met and that the employee remains connected to the Colgate community. 

Employees who have a home office are required to follow best practices for securing all University owned data and must adhere to the University’s Document Record Retention and Destruction Policy. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of VPN for all data connections, and the use of a safe and ergonomically arranged work space. Employees who are telecommuting should consult with Information Technology for guidance on best practices.  

Alternate work arrangements while with a Colgate Partner on a University Study Group 

Any alternate arrangements regarding work while accompanying a Colgate Partner while on a study group require supervisor approval, and should be coordinated with Human Resources and the Provost’s office. The arrangements should document, prior to departure, the work expectations, on campus coverage and any salary adjustments that may need to be made based on the work being performed. Any expectations of employee contributions to the Study Group should be documented and arrangements made to reduce the employee’s regular workload accordingly. 

Out of State Employment

There are many business considerations and requirements that must be followed in order to accommodate out of state employment, and often it may not be possible. These arrangements are labor-intensive, and therefore will only be considered when they clearly serve the needs of the requesting department specifically and the University overall. 

  1. Is the University an established employer in that state? If not, the University will be required to file an application to register. The cost will fall upon the department and the registration process may take 8 – 12+ weeks. 
  2. Should additional fees or expenses be required for this arrangement, the department may be responsible for these from their current operating budget. 
  3. Out-of-state arrangements must be at the convenience of the employer, in accordance with the NY Convenience of the Employer Test as outlined by the New York Department of Taxation and Finance. If the criteria is not met, there will be tax implications to the employee, including but not limited to taxation of all reimbursed travel from the out of state location to the campus, as well as withholding for New York State tax. This specifically rules out cases in which the employee’s wishes determine in whole or in part the state in which they will work.Employees working outside of NYS will be placed on an outsourced payroll, currently administered by ADP. If the employee is hourly, the supervisor will be required to approve the hours via the WorkForce Now portal. 
  4. The employee will be required to follow best practices for securing all University-owned data and adhere to the Document Record Retention and Destruction Policy. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of VPN for all data connections, and the use of a safe and ergonomically-arranged work space. Employees who are telecommuting should consult with Information Technology for guidance on best practices.  
  5. The Office of Risk Management & Legal Affairs will need to be consulted as to the availability and cost of any additional workers compensation policy deemed necessary to facilitate the arrangement. 
  6. The employee will be subject to all employment laws of the state they are working from and will not be eligible for benefits afforded to NYS employees. An example might be specific paid leaves and/or tracking, additional taxes or deductions. Employees will be responsible for ensuring that they are compliant with any laws (including tax laws) of their state of residence. 
  7. Human Resources will provide the employee with all of the appropriate employment law postings. The home department will be billed for this expense.