Hybrid Work Arrangement Policy

Purpose and Scope

Wagner College (the “College”) believes that students and community members are best served when College employees are physically at work.   The College also recognizes that alternative work arrangements such as hybrid arrangements may provide advantages for both the College and its employees, including, but not limited to:  increased productivity and performance, enhanced employee recruitment and retention, cost and space reduction, and greater work-life balance.  In accordance with the guidelines set forth in this Hybrid Work Arrangement Policy, the purpose of this policy is to describe the hybrid work arrangement that may be available to certain employees in appropriate circumstances.

This policy applies to hybrid work for certain exempt and nonexempt employees that are expected to remain in place for a set period of time and will be reviewed annually.  At all times, the primary consideration with respect to considering this hybrid work arrangement will be the business operational needs of the College and its commitment to providing an exceptional educational experience to our students consistent with the College’s mission.

Definitions

  • Alternate work locations: Alternate work locations are locations other than the employer’s central workplace where official college business is performed.  The most common alternate work location is the employee’s home, although other locations may be approved as an alternate work location in accordance with this Alternative Work Arrangement Policy.
  • Central workplace: The central workplace is the College’s place(s) of work where employees normally are located.  This is the 1 Campus Road, Staten Island, NY 10301.
  • Core Hours: Core hours means the period of hours of each work day in which a department must be staffed at an appropriate or specified level.  Core hours may include a requirement for an employee to be present on campus during a particular day(s) of the week.
  • Hybrid Work Arrangement: A hybrid work arrangement is an arrangement between the employee and the College that allows the employee to work at an alternate work location for a part of the employee’s workweek and at the College’s central work location for part of the workweek.

Hybrid Work Arrangement Policy Statement

This policy addresses hybrid work arrangements.  A hybrid work arrangement is appropriate for some employees and some jobs.  No College employee is entitled to or guaranteed the opportunity to hybrid work.  Certain categories of positions or departments are ineligible for hybrid work arrangements.

For positions eligible for a hybrid work arrangement, is a decision made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration a number of factors.  In the event a hybrid work arrangement is approved, the College expects and requires no reduction in service, quality of work, or productivity due to the implementation of a hybrid work arrangement.  A hybrid work arrangement does not alter the employee’s terms and conditions of employment with the College.  The College reserves the right to approve or deny a hybrid work arrangement request, and to modify or revoke such arrangement at its sole discretion.  Any employee who is represented by a labor union shall only be eligible for a hybrid work arrangement to the extent permitted by the collective bargaining agreement between the applicable union and the College.

Employees approved to work a hybrid work arrangement must enter into a written agreement (as described below) consistent with the guidelines set forth in this policy.

The current hybrid policy is to work at least 50% in the office within a ten-day (2 week) working day period, with the employee not being out of the office more than 3 days in one work week (which will include vacation and use of paid time off). For example, in a two week (10 working days) period and employee can work one week 3 days in the office and 2 days remote and the second week 2 days in the office and 3 days remote.

 Positions and Employees Eligible for Hybrid Work Arrangement

Senior Staff, in connection with Human Resources, will analyze the nature of a position to determine positions appropriate to designate or approve for hybrid work arrangements.  Several factors will be considered in determining the feasibility of a particular alternative work arrangement for a particular position, including, but not limited to:

  • whether the nature of the work lends itself to a hybrid work arrangement;
  • the operational needs of the department and the College;
  • the impact on students, faculty, and staff;
  • the College’s ability to adequately supervise the employee;
  • whether key duties require extensive face-to-face contact with supervisors, other employees, students, or the public on college property;
  • whether the hybrid work arrangement will impact service quality or College operations;
  • the impact on other staff members within the department (including increased workload) or those who may regularly work with the department;
  • whether key duties require ongoing access to equipment, materials, networks and files that can only be accessed on College property;
  • whether key duties require extensive time in meetings or performing work on College property generally or during certain core hours; and
  • whether there are potential costs or savings related to the hybrid work arrangement.

Please note student facing departments and positions are not eligible to apply for this hybrid work arrangement at this time.

If an employee in a position the College has determined is eligible for a hybrid work arrangement in accordance with the request and approval process set forth in this policy, Human Resources, the employee’s supervisor and Vice President will determine whether the employee is eligible for such arrangement.  In general, the College will consider several factors and criteria, including, but not limited to, those set forth below, in determining whether the employee is eligible and will be approved for a requested hybrid work arrangement:

  • whether the employee has been in their current position/department for a minimum of 12 months (unless a hybrid work arrangement was a condition of employment at the time of hire)
  • whether the employee’s documented performance is fully satisfactory and not active disciplinary actions;
  • whether the employee is currently subject to a Performance Improvement Plan;
  • whether the employee has demonstrated high productivity and has strong problem-solving capabilities;
  • whether the employee has demonstrated the ability to work independently and with minimal supervision;
  • whether the employee has a full understanding of departmental operations;
  • whether the employee has the ability to establish priorities and has demonstrated effective time management habits; and
  • whether the employee will be able to maintain a safe and ergonomically sound home work area, free from distractions; and
  • whether the employee will be available by phone (RingCentral), email and video conferencing during assigned work hours.

Also for consideration in determining eligibility for a hybrid work arrangement, supervisors need to possess general characteristics that can facilitate a successful hybrid arrangement:

  • Comfortable allowing staff to work autonomously
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Flexibility and willingness to explore new ideas
  • Effective listening skills
  • Strong problem-solving capabilities

In addition, other considerations are:

  • How often do you monitor the staff member’s work performance – daily, weekly, or at other intervals?
  • Do you have a trustworthy way of measuring the amount of time the employee spends working?

The collective weight of these criteria should be favorable to consider a hybrid work arrangement.

General Expectations and Conditions

Employee job duties and responsibilities will not change due to a hybrid work arrangement.  Professionalism in terms of job responsibilities, work output, and service delivery will continue to follow the standards set by the College.  The employee must be able to maintain performance, productivity, and quality standards.  Employees must be fully accessible during agreed upon work hours.  Supervisors may require employees working a hybrid work arrangement to report to the central workplace as needed for work-related meetings or other events, office coverage, or as needed to discuss work progress or other work-related issues.  Employees are expected to perform their work during core or agreed hybrid work hours and should be available through email and phone, just as if they were in the office. Reasonable amounts of time for breaks and meal breaks are permitted. If it is found an employee is not performing work during the core or agreed hybrid work hours, the hybrid work arrangement may be terminated, and the employee may be subject to discipline.

Employees working a hybrid work schedule must comply with all College policies, procedures, and guidelines and all applicable local, state, and federal laws.  Failure to comply with College policies and procedures may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

All non-exempt employees must record all hours worked in accordance with the College’s time reporting policies and procedures and the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Non-exempt employees must adhere to all required rest and meal breaks, report their work hours accurately and timely, and obtain prior approval before working overtime.

Employees must safeguard all College information used or accessed as part of an alternative work arrangement and must comply with the College’s Information Technology Security Policy. All College related work must be performed on a college issued device. Certain systems may require approval and use of VPN for access.  Hybrid work arrangement employees must agree to follow College-approved security procedures in order to ensure confidentiality and security of data.

Employees may not utilize a hybrid work arrangement as a substitute for sick leave, family and medical leave, or any other type of leave. An employee is not permitted to use the hybrid work arrangement to attend to personal business, such as performing outside employment or providing dependent child or adult care during core or agreed hybrid work hours.  Employees requiring such leave must follow the College leave policies and procedure and contact Human Resources with respect to such leave requests.  A hybrid work arrangement may not be used as a substitute for child or adult care obligations of the employee.  If a supervisor is concerned that persons in need of primary care who are present in the alternate work location will interfere with the ability to perform work during the core or agreed hybrid work hours, the employee may be asked to demonstrate that another individual will be present to provide the care. Supervisors may request whatever reasonable verification they find acceptable, such as a good faith representation by the employee, a credible representation from the care provider or other confirmation of the care

Request for Hybrid Work Arrangement

Any employee requesting a hybrid work arrangement must submit a written request to their supervisor using the Hybrid Work Arrangement Request Form (provided upon request from the Office of Human Resources).  The written request must identify the reasons for the request, the employee’s plan for meeting the responsibilities of their position, the proposed work schedule, and the proposed start/end date of the hybrid work arrangement.  The employee’s supervisor, in conjunction with the department head, Vice President and Human Resources, will approve or deny the request for a hybrid work arrangement.  There should be no commitment, perceived or otherwise, to an employee that the hybrid work arrangement is approved prior to obtaining all required levels of approvals.  All hybrid work arrangements must be documented through a written Hybrid Work Arrangement Agreement between the employee and the College setting forth the specific conditions that apply to the hybrid work arrangement.

All hybrid work arrangements will initially be approved on a three (3) month trial basis.  Prior to the end of the three-month period the supervisor and the employee will meet to discuss the status of the arrangement and the supervisor will confirm if the arrangement will continue or will be terminated.  Following the trial period, the alternative work agreement term typically will be for one year, with a renewable term, but an agreement may be made for a shorter term.  Renewal is not guaranteed; the hybrid work arrangement, employee performance and other circumstances will be considered by the supervisor in determining whether to renew the agreement.

It is a generally accepted practice for teaching and research faculty to carry out their work with varied schedules on campus and at alternate locations.  Normally a formal, written alternative work agreement will not be required for faculty unless the work assignment is consistently at an alternate work location other than the central workplace.  On occasion, a department may also determine that employees may need to work at alternate work locations for a short period of time to accommodate unusual circumstances.  In such cases, the department and employee should contact Human Resources to discuss on a case-by-case basis.

Equipment and Materials

For employees who are approved to work a hybrid schedule, the College will not duplicate resources between the central workplace and the alternate work location to support working remotely. All hybrid employees will be provided a laptop only (if an employee currently has a desktop or a laptop and desktop) the desktop will be removed and the employee will be provided with a docking station for their central workplace office. Headsets will be available upon request.

Hybrid work employees may use College-owned equipment only for legitimate College purposes and in accordance with the Information Technology Security Policy. Hybrid work employees are responsible for protecting College-owned equipment from theft, damage and unauthorized use. The College will maintain, service and repair College-owned equipment used in the normal course of employment. Upon termination of a remote work agreement all College-owned property and materials must be returned to the College.

Liability

The College 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 College also assumes no liability for damages to employee’s real or personal property resulting from participation in a hybrid 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 College and to maintain safe conditions in their alternate work locations. Employees must follow normal procedures for reporting illness or injury.

Any injury that occurs within the course and scope of employment must be reported according to state and federal reporting requirements.

Modification or Termination of Alternative Work Arrangement

A supervisor or department head, in consultation with their Vice President and Human Resources, may modify or terminate the Hybrid Work Agreement at any time for performance concerns, changing operational needs, if the Agreement is no longer in the best interests of the College and its educational mission, or for any other legitimate, non-discriminatory business reason.

Once approved and documented in a written Hybrid Work Agreement, the employee may not modify or terminate the terms of the agreement without the written consent of the supervisor and Human Resources.  The employee may request to terminate the Hybrid Work Agreement, unless it was a condition of employment.  The supervisor, in consultation with their Vice President and Human Resources, will determine whether the hybrid work arrangement may be terminated.

Travel/Expenses

All travel and expenses must adhere to the Business Expense Policy.  Travel time between the central workplace and alternate work location for hybrid workers is generally not paid unless it is part of the Employee's normally scheduled work day.  Travel expenses between the alternate work location and the central workplace are not reimbursed.

Assistance with this Policy

For any questions regarding this policy contact the Vice President for Workplace Culture and Inclusion.

Policy Authority

The Vice President for Workplace Culture and Inclusion has responsibility for this policy and will obtain necessary approvals and changes to this policy.

Related Policies or References