Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) Program
At Stetson, our mission is to provide educational opportunities for our students in a creative community, to foster close student, and employee alliances, and to use collaborative approaches to prepare students to impact the global community. As an institution, we value the ability to create community, and to collaborate with peers. However, we also recognize that students and employees each have unique needs, and that some of those needs may best be met outside of the traditional times and methods we have used to serve them.
The purpose of this policy is to outline how and when it may be appropriate to utilize flexible work schedules and locations to meet the needs of our community, in order to attract and retain our employees, the goal in evaluating these arrangements is always to do what is best for our Stetson community. Where it is possible to align the University’s goals with an employee’s desire for flexibility in their work environment, the University wishes to encourage these arrangements and offer this support to our staff.
Flexible Work Arrangements are a voluntary work alternative that is appropriate for some employees and some jobs, but not all employees and all positions. No university employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to have a Flexible Work Arrangement. Whether a particular employee may participate in these arrangements is a decision made on a case-by-case basis using the following considerations:
- Nature of the position and activity – Some positions are not appropriate to be performed remotely, or outside of the scope of core hours. This could be due to the nature of the position (i.e. Public Safety staff, Facilities staff, front-line and administrative support), due to the business needs of the department, or due to compliance issues on the part of the university or employee (i.e. compliance with local labor and tax laws, liability issues, difficulty of compliance with FLSA requirements).
- The employee’s ability to succeed in a Flexible Work Arrangement – Employees who find they are less able to be successful in environments where there is limited face-to-face interaction, whose positions are not project based, or who require frequent direct interaction with supervisors and peers, may not be right for a Flexible Work Arrangement. Also work hours preferred by employees that prevent them from participating in department activities such as meetings and training are not appropriate.
- Access to appropriate university resources and technology to perform job requirements – In certain cases, where technology does not exist, or is not readily available to allow employees to best perform their roles. In these cases, remote work or alternative schedules may not be appropriate.
Since each request is reviewed on an individual basis, it is anticipated that there may be occasions where one employee is approved for an arrangement and another in a similar position may not. In any case where an employee is denied access to a Flexible Work Arrangement, the supervisor is expected to review the reason for their denial with the employee. All supervisors are expected to review these decisions carefully and to ensure that standards are applied in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner.
Flexible Work Arrangements may also be considered on a case-by-case basis as a reasonable accommodation as provided by our ADA Policy for qualified employees with disabilities. These requests should be submitted in compliance with the process as outlined in that policy. For more information see Reasonable Accommodation/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy.
Employees with a Flexible Work Arrangement will essentially perform the same work that they would in the central workplace in accordance with their same performance expectations and other agreed-upon terms. A Flexible Work Arrangement may be established for a long-term or short-term period. The university may also establish a Flexible Work Arrangement as a condition of employment, based on the university’s business needs. In such cases, this requirement will be placed in the job description, job posting, and offer letter.
Employee’s classification, compensation, and benefits will not change as a result of establishing a Flexible Work Arrangement. Leave accruals, holidays, and other absences will remain in accordance with section 4.6 of the policy manual and will not be impacted by changes in work location or schedule.
Compliance with Policies - Employees must agree to comply with university policies, practices and the established performance expectations, and understand that violation of such may result in the termination of the Flexible Work Arrangement and/or disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Employees who have a Flexible Work Arrangement will be subject to the same policies as other employees, including policies relating to information security and data protection.
Core Hours – To ensure availability for students and campus community partners within offices, it is expected that all offices will be staffed during core business hours. Core business hours are defined in policy 4.4.10 Normal Work Hours and are as follows: 8:00am - 4:30pm EST for the DeLand campus, and 8:30am – 5:00pm EST for the College of Law campuses (Gulfport & Tampa Law Center).
Hours of Work - The total number of hours that employees are expected to work will not change, regardless of work location. The university also expects the same level of productivity from employees, as if working on-campus. Supervisors may require employees to report on-campus, as needed, for work-related meetings or other events.
Employees who are non-exempt from the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (bi-weekly employees who are due overtime and minimum wage) will be required to report all hours worked. Supervisor approval should be requested in advance for overtime hours. Employees in these work arrangements need to be evaluated carefully for compliance with applicable local and national wage and hour laws, and strict processes for oversight of hours worked are expected.
Liability and Safety - The university assumes no responsibility for injuries occurring in the employee's alternate work location outside the agreed upon work hours or for injuries that occur during working hours but do not arise out of and in the course of employment. The university also assumes no liability for damages to employee’s real or personal property resulting from participation in the Flexible Work Arrangement. Workers' compensation coverage is limited to designated work areas in employees' homes or alternate work locations. Employees agree to practice the same safety habits they would use in the university and to maintain safe conditions in their alternate work locations. Employees must follow normal procedures for reporting illness or injury.
Equipment and Materials - The university may provide equipment and materials needed by employees to perform their duties; however, the university will not duplicate resources between on- campus and an alternate work location. Employees who use university-owned equipment are expected to only use the equipment for official university business and are responsible for protecting university-owned equipment and data from theft, damage and/or unauthorized use. The university will maintain, service and repair university-owned equipment and resources used in the normal course of employment. All university-owned equipment must be returned to the university at the conclusion of the Flexible Work Arrangement. As indicated in the onboarding process, employees have acknowledged that they are responsible for the return of all university issued equipment upon separation from the university. Should the employee fail to return the equipment, the fair market replacement value will be deducted from the final check. In situations where employees use personal equipment to conduct university business (cell phones, personal laptops, tablets, etc.), the employee is expected to utilize appropriate university software, and to ensure the security of all software, data, and information maintained by the university. If employees use their own equipment, the university is not responsible for the cost, repair, service or liabilities resulting from an employee’s use of personal equipment and personal data services.
Costs of Flexible Work Arrangements - The university is not obligated to assume responsibility for operating costs, home maintenance, or other costs incurred by employees in the use of their homes as an alternate work location. The university may provide technology or software for assisting in communication.
Remote Work Arrangements During Emergency Conditions - During rare occasions involving an emergency, natural disaster, or proliferation of infectious disease in the community that results in a closure of the employee's base campus or the need for alternative work arrangements for health and safety reasons, a number of positions that would not ordinarily be considered for remote work based on the philosophy and guidelines within this policy may be more broadly considered for these arrangements on a temporary basis while steps are taking place to resume normal operations. These arrangements are initiated by university officials with the agreement of the employee.
Hybrid: A flexible approach that allows employees to split their time between working on-campus and at an approved remote location
Remote: Working solely off campus at an approved alternate location
Temporary Work Arrangement: A short term work arrangement with a specified end date
A Flexible Work Arrangement must be documented as approved through a “Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement.” This involves a two-step process. First the Flexible Work Arrangement Request Form must be completed. This form is initiated by the employee and evaluated by the supervisor according to the document instructions. Upon agreement of the proposed work schedule, a Flexible Work Arrangement Agreement must be completed and accompany the request form. This agreement establishes the specific conditions that apply to the employee's working situation. The agreement must be approved by the employee’s supervisor/Department Head, the VP, Dean or Athletic Director, as appropriate, and the Director and/or Associate Vice President for Human Resources. This agreement may be modified or terminated due to performance concerns, changing operational needs, or any other non-discriminatory reason. The employee may also terminate the agreement at any time unless it was a condition of employment.