Telework, also referred to as telecommuting, is defined as a work arrangement in which an employee performs officially assigned duties at home or other work locations geographically convenient to the residence of the employee, as agreed to by the employee and SAO management.
Telecommuting is not an employee right or entitlement. At the same time, participation in the SI Telework Program is voluntary and may not be required of an employee by any SAO manager or supervisor. There is no guarantee that an employee's request for telecommuting will be approved. Approval for initial and continuing participation in the telecommuting program is at the discretion of SAO management.
Requests for telecommuting submitted by individual SAO employees are considered on a case-by-case basis.
A request to telecommute is reviewed and may be approved by the employee's immediate supervisor with the concurrence of the Associate Director (for scientific divisions), or the Department Manager (for administrative departments). The request is ultimately submitted to the Human Resources Department Manager, who reviews the request in terms of SI and SAO regulations as well as practice across SAO. In addition, the employee must complete and submit the Telework Home Office Safety Checklist along with the completed Agreement.
The telecommuting arrangement is generally for a specified length of time (e.g., 3 months) and for a defined schedule (e.g., Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri - office; Thurs - remote; 8:30 - 5:00 daily). Telecommuting agreements may also be made on an Ad Hoc basis - i.e., in case of weather-related or other unpredictable events. Telecommuting agreements, generally, may be made for up to one year.
Most positions, Trust and Federal, are eligible for telecommuting. Exceptions may be those positions the duties of which require the employee maintain a physical on-site presence - for example, security guards, machinists, receptionists, electricians, equipment operator, etc. Most employees, Trust and Federal, are eligible to telecommute, provided they have demonstrated satisfactory job performance, are not facing adverse actions, and have not received disciplinary actions in the past year. The criterion used to determine the feasibility of telecommuting is whether it is in the interest of SAO that the individual work from a remote location. Supervisors and managers should determine the types of agreements and schedules that will best suit their respective organizational needs.
Requests to telecommute may be denied, and an existing telecommuting agreement may be terminated at any time by supervisors, unless the agreement has been requested or made as a reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability. An employee may appeal a denial or termination of a telecommuting request or agreement through his/her supervisory chain. The ultimate decision rests with the Director, SAO, or his delegate. Requests for approval, denial, or termination of a telecommuting agreement as a reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability should be coordinated with SAO HR, who will work with SI Office of Equal Employment and Minority Affairs (OEEMA) to review and/or process the request, denial, or termination.
The SAO Request to Telecommute may be found at: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hr/forms/telecom_12rev.pdf
The SI Telework Home Office Safety Checklist may be found at: https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/hr/pdf/TeleworkHomeSafetyChecklist.pdf
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