TCC offers flexible learning options for all students.

Covid-19: TCC’s Safe Start practices

Flexible Work Hours and Telework Program

Section: IV. ADSV-320
Approved By: Dr. Pamela J. Transue, 08/02/11
Last Review: 07/01/11
Last Revision: 07/11/11
Prior Revisions: 01/29/04
Initial Adoption: 06/2002

Policy

Telework and flexible work hours arrangements may be requested for any position but not all positions are appropriate for a teleworking or flexible works hours arrangement. Teleworking and flexible works hours arrangement approval is at the sole discretion of the College and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Telework

Teleworking may be established for positions, employees and supervisors that demonstrate the suitable criteria for a successful teleworking arrangement. Not all positions, employees, or supervisors are suitable for a telework arrangement. A telework arrangement may be initiated for the purpose of benefiting the College or the employee but must in any case not result in a reduction of service to customers, clients and co-workers, or a reduction in productivity by the employee. Teleworking approval is at the sole discretion of the College and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Although this policy is intended to address the guidelines for implementation of teleworking for a full-time employee, telework arrangements may be approved for any position working less than a full-time schedule, at the sole discretion of the College. These guidelines shall apply to all requests for a telework arrangement.

Flexible Work Hours

Flex Time

Flex time may be established to allow an employee to work a schedule other than that established as the standard work schedule for the day. Flex time schedules are not intended to change the total number of hours worked in a day or the total number of days worked in a week.  Flex time allows an employee to flex their starting and ending time outside the set of core hours identified for the College. Flex time approval is at the sole discretion of the College and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Standard work schedules are typically 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with an hour lunch, or 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a half-hour lunch, Monday through Friday for positions assigned to day shift. Standard schedules are also established for second and third shift and are as designated by the service area (e.g. Facilities). Departments or service areas may establish different standard schedules to provide services outside the standard 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. schedule in accordance with College policy and practice.  During the summer schedule when the College is officially closed on Fridays, a standard work schedule is typically 7:30am – 5:30pm on Monday through Thursdays; other work schedules may be authorized and approved by the College.

Core hours for the day shift for the College, outside of the summer Friday official College closure,  are 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Employees may flex their work schedule by establishing a start time between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and an end time between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Schedules must include the core hours and a minimum 30-minute lunch break. Employees must work their standard number of hours for each day regardless of their flex start or end time. Departments or service areas with different standard work schedules may establish different core hours for these shifts (e.g. Facilities).  During the summer schedule, the core hours for the day shift of the College are 7:30am to 5:30pm. Employees can request other work shifts if approved by the administrative manager and there is not a negative impact to providing service to the public.

Compressed Workweek

Compressed workweek may be established to allow an employee to work a schedule other than that established as the standard work schedule for the week. The standard schedule is typically Monday through Friday of each week and includes the same workdays for at least a two-week period. The standard schedule during summer hours is typically Monday through Thursday of each week and includes the same workdays for at least a two-week period. Compressed workweeks are not intended to change the total number of hours worked in a workweek or over a two-week period.  Compressed workweeks allow an employee to work the same number of hours over a shorter number of days. Compressed workweek approval is at the sole discretion of the College and is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Although other arrangements may qualify, the most common compressed schedules are either four 10-hour days occurring sometime between the first and last day of the workweek, or a 9/80 schedule where an employee would work eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day in the middle of a two week period for a total of 80 hours for the two weeks. 

Under a 9/80 schedule the definition of the workweek begin and end days would be changed to account for a total of 40 hours in each designated work week, but which practically speaking still allows for the employee to have a day off from work every other calendar week. For example, a schedule that works 9 hours Monday through Thursday and 8 hours on Friday the first week and 9 hours Monday through Thursday with Friday off the second week, would have an official workweek designation of 12:01 p.m. Friday through 12:00 noon the follow Friday. (Any change in workweek designation must be documented to Human Resources)

The College, at any time, may institute a compressed workweek for the entire campus such as a schedule of four 9-hours days and one 4-hour day each week during the summer. During the period of College designated compressed workweeks all other approved compressed workweek schedules are subject to review and may be suspended during this period of time.

Terms and Conditions of Participating in a Telework or Flexible Work Hours Arrangement

  • The employee has successfully completed the probationary period or a waiver of that requirement has been approved.
  • The employee must be able to return from the telework site to the primary designated work site whenever necessary or requested.
  • All requests for participation in a telework or flexible work hours arrangement are subject to the approval and discretion of the administrative manager. The decision to approve or deny a request is at the sole discretion of the College.
  • Supervisors may establish a trial period for assessment and review prior to approving a telework or flexible work hours arrangement.
  • Telework or flexible work hours arrangements may be cancelled at any time, and at the sole discretion of the College. In the event the College cancels or suspends for a period of time the telework arrangement, the College will give the employee at least 24 hours notice.  In the event the College cancels or suspends for a period of time flexible work hours arrangement, the College will give the employee notice in accordance with applicable rules on changes in work schedule.
  • In the event an employee wishes to terminate or change a telework or flexible work hours arrangement, the employee must submit a written request and obtain approval of the supervisor prior to effecting a change.
  • A telework or flexible work hours arrangement should not interfere with the College’s ability to provide service to customers and generally will include not more than two days in any two-week period of work except with approval of the administrative manager.
  • Job expectations including job responsibilities, number of work hours, and performance standards will not change as a result of a telework or flexible work hours arrangement. Further, telework or flexible work hour arrangements will not serve as a basis for changing an employee’s employment relationship, including but not limited to, salary and benefits.
  • An employee participating in a telework arrangement must provide and maintain a work area adequate for performance of official duties as demonstrated by an approved work site checklist. The employee must also, with a minimum of 24 hours notice, permit the college to inspect, during the employee’s normal working hours, the alternate work site to evaluate work site suitability.
  • All changes to an employees work schedule, or assigned work site, including implementation of a telework arrangement as well as any changes to or suspension of the arrangement, must be documented, and signed by the supervisor and employee with a copy provided for both the employee and the supervisor.
  • Employees participating in a telework arrangement may not conduct personal business, such as caring for dependents or performing household chores, during the assigned work hours at the alternate work site.

Guidelines for Telework or Flexible Work Hours

Position Criteria

  • Does not require daily face-to-face supervision or interactions with customers, clients, students, members of the public, or co-workers. For example, reception, front counter or laboratory supervision positions are generally not suitable for telework or flexible work hours arrangements.
  • The position and employee is still able to meet client and co-worker needs when teleworking. For example, positions that are primarily established for the purpose of entering data into a shared system for access by others may not be a suitable position for teleworking, unless such work can easily be accomplished from the telework location.
  • The position has results oriented work performance objectives with identifiable measures of productivity, such as specific tasks to be completed, a specific quantity of work to be completed, or deadlines to be met.

Employee Requirements

  • Following successful completion of probation (for classified staff) or at least six months in the employee’s current position. For non-probationary positions, a period of time reasonable to assess the employee’s aptitude for successful teleworking.  Supervisors may make exceptions to the probation completion or time worked guideline on a case-by-case basis.
  • Demonstrated ability to be self-directed, self-motivated, independent, focused, well organized, and dependable, and to have established solid, successful relationships with supervisors and co-workers.
  • Satisfactory or better performance reviews.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with job related software and computer hardware.
  • If telecommuting from home, assurance that the designated work area is a suitable work environment and free from apparent potential injury hazards.
  • Ability to return from telework location to the primary work site when requested or necessary.
  • Agreement to maintain appropriate safety habits during the time worked which is outside of the standard workweek or workday and for which no supervisor or security staff may be available.

Supervisor Requirements

  • Familiar with the details of the job responsibilities and expected outcomes for performance of the employee who is teleworking or has a flexible work hours arrangement.
  • Has established methods or mechanisms for monitoring teleworker performance and productivity.
  • Is a good communicator, and who values and creates opportunities for employee suggestions.
  • Satisfactory or better performance reviews.
  • Tends to be a hands-off supervisor who tracks and rewards results and not appearances.
  • Willingness to invest the necessary time to help the telework arrangement succeed.

Designated Alternative Work Site

  • The alternative work site should be a suitable work environment free of apparent potential injury hazards.
  • The employee’s traditional on-campus work site will remain the employee’s official designated work site.
  • If the alternate work site is located in the employee’s home or other non-employer owned property, and with at least 24 hours notice, the employee must permit the College (usually the supervisor or administrative manager) to inspect the work area designated for the alternate work site to determine suitability.
  • Tax implications of alternative work locations not owned by the College are the responsibility of the employee. The College accepts no liability or responsibility whatsoever for any tax implications of any alternative work site not owned by the College.
  • Where the alternate work site is at the teleworker’s home, necessary arrangements are made for teleworker’s dependents during agreed upon work hours to ensure successful completion of the teleworker’s assigned work duties.

Work Schedule and Overtime

The employee’s official work schedule will be mutually agreed upon by the supervisor and the employee and documented in the telework application and approval form. To the extent possible the telework arrangement should conform to the employee’s regular work schedule and should meet the core hours requirement established under a flexible work hours program. Employees in positions that are designated as eligible for overtime must have advance approval from the supervisor for overtime work.

Equipment, Including Computer Hardware and Software

Equipment required for each telework arrangement will be identified and determined on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, teleworking requires a computer and internet access. Employees on an approved telework arrangement  may be required to supply and maintain all necessary equipment.

The employee  may be required to supply all necessary equipment for teleworking, including a computer, internet access, and required software, and to maintain the required equipment in good working order during the time the equipment is in use for any telework arrangement. The employee is responsible to maintain all equipment supplied by the employee. The College accepts no responsibility for depreciation, repair or upgrading of employee-supplied equipment. All damage and repair of employee-supplied equipment is the responsibility of the employee.

On occasion the College may supply non-standard equipment or software required for teleworking. If the College supplies equipment, the College is responsible for equipment maintenance and will supply required software for computer equipment. The employee will be required to return the equipment for maintenance and repairs that are not the result of employee negligent handling or use. The employee assumes responsibility for the loss of College equipment and any damage resulting from negligent use or handling. Any equipment supplied by the College must be documented on the telework agreement and returned to the College upon termination of the telework arrangement or upon termination from employment. An employee may not load personal software onto College computer equipment unless prior authorization is obtained, and may not use any College provided equipment for personal use.  College provided equipment may be used for College approved purposes only.

Supplies

The College will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies for the alternate work site that is required to complete telework assignments. Phone cards for long distance calling may also be issued consistent with College policy. Other supplies needed for the completion of telework will be reviewed and approved at the discretion of the supervisor on a case-by-case basis.

Liability

The College accepts no responsibility whatsoever for the safety, security or suitability of any alternative work site. The College also accepts no responsibility for the personal property of any employee.

Reporting Telework or Flexible Work Hours Arrangements Under the Commute Trip Reduction Program

In most cases, telework or flexible work hours arrangements will qualify to be reported under the College’s Commute Trip Reduction program. All employees participating in qualifying CTR programs should comply with the College’s CTR policy for reporting CTR activities. For complete policy and procedure information employees and supervisors should contact the College CTR Coordinator.

Combined Telework and Flexible Work Hours Program

An employee may apply for a work schedule that combines aspects of telework and flexible work hours arrangements. The same criteria guidelines and procedures for applying for, reviewing and approving the request will apply.

Purpose

This policy is established in order to provide guidance to employees and supervisors regarding the request and implementation of a telework or flexible work hours arrangement. Telework and flexible work hours are intended to assist in complying with the State’s efforts to reduce traffic congestion during peak periods. Other benefits often include increased productivity or service coverage to clients and customers, as well as personal benefit to employees to balance work and home life needs, desires and obligations.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

This policy does not apply to faculty. This policy is intended to apply to all classes of employees, except faculty, regarding the options available for telework and flexible work hours.  Specific provisions related to lunch breaks, requests for overtime and leave are intended to apply to classified employees and other part-time and temporary hourly paid employees but may also serve as a guideline for other classes of employees.

References

Governor’s Executive Order 01-03 - Establishing a Strong Telework and Flexible Work

Hours Program to Help Reduce Traffic Congestion and Improve Quality of Life

WAC 357-28-220 How are hours of work established for employeesFair Labor Standards Act – 29 C.F.R. §516 – Records To Be Kept By Employers

RCW 41.04.390 - Flexible Time Work Schedules

Definitions

Telework or Telecommute – a work schedule that allows the employee to work from the employee’s home or from another alternate work site , rather than from the principal place of employment.

Flexible Work Hours - Includes both Flextime and Compressed Work Week definitions.

Flex Time - a work schedule whereby an employee is permitted flexibility in establishing a starting and ending work schedule outside of a set of core work hours.

Core Hours - The core hours for Tacoma Community College day shift are 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Full-time Employees may establish a start time between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and an end time between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Schedules must include the core hours and a minimum 30-minute lunch break.  Some exceptions may be given in order to provide services to clients and customers outside of the standard workday and in accordance with College policy and practice. Exceptions are at the discretion of the administrative manager.

Compressed Workweek - a fixed work schedule that regularly allows a full-time employee to eliminate at least one work day every two weeks by working longer hours during the remaining days, resulting in fewer commute trips by the employee. This definition is primarily intended to include weekly or bi-weekly arrangements such as a schedule of four 10-hour days per week, or a 9/80 schedule where by the employee works 80 hours in 9 days with the 10th day off. The 9/80 schedules are usually four 9-hour days, an 8-hour day, four 9-hour days and the 10th day off.

Standard Work Week - the standard workweek is defined as 12:01 a.m. Monday through 12:00 midnight Sunday. Some positions, such as in facilities, may have a different definition of workweek based on the needs of the service area and shift assignment. In the event a different definition applies, it must be documented and submitted to the office of Human Resources for record keeping.

Procedure

Procedure for Establishing a Telework or Flexible Work Hours Arrangement

  1. Employee completes and signs a Telework Program Application or a Flexible Work Hours Program Application and forwards the application to his/her supervisor for approval.
  2. Supervisor reviews the application and determines the required equipment, work arrangement, expected productivity outcomes, and method for monitoring the success of the proposed arrangement. Depending on the request, the supervisor may meet with the employee to discuss the application and determine the requirements.
  3. The supervisor approves or denies the application. In the event the application is denied or may be approved with revisions, the supervisor will meet with the employee to discuss the reason for the denial and if there are any options to the proposed arrangement.
  4. Upon approval, the supervisor signs the approved application and provides a copy to the employee and Human Resources for filing in the employee’s record. 

The approved telework or flexible work hours program arrangement is implemented.