In response to the COVID-19 (corona) virus outbreak, in an effort to promote the health and safety of our employees and their communities, Middlebury will permit certain employees to telework on a temporary basis.
Teleworking may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions. Your supervisor will notify you if you are eligible for temporary telework, and confirm with you any position-specific terms and conditions of such an arrangement.
Who is affected by this policy?
All regular employees; does not apply to temporary employees or employees who are working remotely outside the U.S.
Non-Exempt employees (except as an approved reasonable accommodation of disabilities, or as otherwise deemed appropriate under this temporary policy at Middlebury’s discretion).
Telework - To work from home, or some other remote location, while using technology to connect with the office to which the employee is assigned.
Teleworking is a business arrangement that allows employees to work from a remote location by electronically linking to Middlebury whether from home, the road, or elsewhere within the U.S. This policy governs potential temporary teleworking arrangements that are required practically by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Due to the uncertainty of the length and severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, all temporary telework arrangements will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and are subject to being modified or discontinued immediately upon written notice. Employees who are approved for temporary telework should have no expectation of ongoing telework. For employees who have been previously approved for an ongoing telework arrangement, policies and agreements applicable to that arrangement will remain in effect, unless circumstances relating to the COVID-19 outbreak warrant exception.
To the extent possible, an employee’s job duties and responsibilities will not change due to temporary teleworking. Professionalism in performance of job duties, work output and productivity, and service to the employee’s department, clients, students, and/or other constituencies as applicable, and related communications, must be maintained at the standards set by Middlebury and the employee’s supervisor. Temporary teleworking employees should be available during business hours via email and phone for communication with relevant constituencies as necessary. To the extent possible, the amount of time an employee is expected to work and/or productivity expectations will not change due to teleworking, though temporary telework schedules may include flexible work hours outside of regular business hours, or reduced work hours, to accommodate the challenges employees may face in their homes and in their communities as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined at Middlebury’s discretion.
Open and ongoing communication between the teleworking employee and his/her supervisor is key to a successful temporary telework arrangement. It is expected that the employee and supervisor will work together to keep each other apprised of events or information obtained during the working day. Employees should communicate with their supervisor to identify in advance, and on an ongoing basis, any job duties or responsibilities that cannot be effectively performed during temporary telework. Likewise, employees must promptly notify their supervisor in the event that personal circumstances, such as illness or dependent care responsibilities, interfere with the employee’s ability to fully perform their agreed upon job duties. Modifications will be considered as needed, and implemented when possible to the extent deemed appropriate by Middlebury.
Requesting Permission to Telework
Employees who would like to explore the option of temporary teleworking as required by the COVID-19 outbreak should talk to their supervisor and to Human Resources. Middlebury will consider teleworking requests on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors including appropriateness of the job for teleworking, the length of the employee’s employment at Middlebury, seniority, employee performance, prior disciplinary action, flexibility, the reason(s) for teleworking and the ability to work independently. Employees who are permitted to telework must sign a Temporary Alternate Work Location Agreement and, if approved to telework, will be expected to communicate with Middlebury at a level consistent with employees working at the office or in a manner and frequency that seems appropriate for the job and the individuals involved.
Teleworking Equipment and Supplies
On a case-by-case basis, and subject to change at any time, Middlebury will determine what equipment, if any, to provide to the employee to facilitate the teleworking arrangement. Middlebury accepts no responsibility for theft, loss, damage or repairs to employee-owned equipment. Any equipment that Middlebury provides to an employee as part of a teleworking arrangement shall remain the property of Middlebury, and Middlebury will maintain that equipment. This equipment must be used for business purposes only. Depending on the circumstances, the employee may be responsible for any theft, damage, or loss of property belonging to Middlebury. Middlebury will supply the employee with appropriate office supplies (pens, paper, etc.) for successful completion of job responsibilities. Middlebury will also reimburse the employee for certain business-related expenses such as phone calls, shipping costs, etc. that are reasonably incurred in accordance with job responsibilities. Unless otherwise agreed to in advance in writing, Middlebury will not be responsible for any other costs the employee may incur while teleworking.
Teleworking Work Sites
The teleworker should designate a workspace, at the off-site work area, for installation of any equipment to be used while telecommuting. This workspace should be maintained in a safe condition, free from hazards to people and equipment. The employee will immediately report any injury sustained while teleworking immediately to the employee’s supervisor and Human Resources.
Employees approved for temporary telework are responsible for the security of information, documents, and records in their possession or used during teleworking. Restricted-access material should not be accessed or removed from the worksite without written consent from the employee’s supervisor. Employees approved for temporary telework must apply appropriate safeguards to protect Middlebury’s confidential information from unauthorized disclosure or damage, and must comply with all privacy and security protocols and requirements implemented by Middlebury.
All Other Policies Apply
Middlebury’s teleworking employees must continue to abide by all other policies and procedures including those in regard to computer use, social media and confidentiality. As a condition of teleworking, all employees who receive permission to telework under this Policy must first sign a Temporary Alternate Work Location Agreement.
Presence at Work
In the event an employee approved for temporary telework has previously planned to be physically present at a worksite, function, meeting or other event, or believes their physical presence is necessary at an event planned after the temporary telework arrangement has begun, the employee must first contact their supervisor. The supervisor, together with Human Resources as necessary and appropriate, will evaluate whether the employee should still attend the event in light of all relevant facts and circumstances known at that time. Employee health and safety, as well as the health and safety of other Middlebury employees and the local community, will be carefully considered in such decision making.
Requests for Leave
Unless a flexible schedule is agreed to, employees should not permit non-work-related events and activities to disrupt or interfere with scheduled work time. Requests to use sick leave, vacation or other leave must be approved in the same manner as the employee who does not telework. If a nonexempt employee becomes ill while working at an alternate work location, the employee must report the hours actually worked and use sick leave for those hours not worked.
Nonexempt teleworking employees are covered by the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act or IWC Wage Orders (California employees), and therefore must comply with all recordkeeping requirements. Nonexempt teleworking employees must accurately record and timely report all working time as a condition of continued participation in the teleworking program. A supervisor must approve, in advance, any hours worked in excess of those specified per day and per week, in accordance with local, state and federal requirements. Middlebury may revoke the temporary teleworking privileges of any employee failing to comply with this requirement.
Employees who telework from another state or work in several states are responsible for determining their taxes correctly. Employees are encouraged to consult a tax professional to determine the correct method for withholding income taxes.
Duration of the Temporary Teleworking Arrangement
All temporary telecommuting arrangements required practically by the COVID-19 outbreak and granted under this policy are granted on a revocable basis. Consequently, in its sole discretion, Middlebury may discontinue any teleworking arrangement at any time, although reasonable advance notice will be provided where practicable. Unless other arrangements have been made, upon termination of the teleworking arrangement or employment, whichever is first, the employee must return all Middlebury-owned property to Middlebury in good working order, less any normal wear and tear.
This Policy is not intended to alter the employment at-will relationship in any way. Accordingly, unless an employee has a valid written and signed contract of employment stating otherwise, employment is at-will and can be terminated by the employee or by Middlebury at any time.
Middlebury employment is at-will and can be terminated by you or by Middlebury at any time without cause and without notice.