Off-Campus Work Expectations Policy

There may be situations where staff members are approved to work off campus, either on a regular or an occasional basis. This policy describes the University of Pennsylvania’s expectations for staff members when they are working off campus. 

Off-Campus Work is defined as work that occurs at an off-site/non-Penn location within the United States, in most cases from a staff member’s place of residence. 

Requests for off-campus work as a reasonable accommodation for a staff member’s own medical condition should be made in accordance with the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Program’s process for requesting reasonable accommodations.

This policy is intended to address expectations when a University of Pennsylvania (“University”) staff member is approved to work off campus, either on a regular or occasional basis.

Expectations

The following expectations apply when staff members work off campus.

  1. Off Campus Work Location: University staff members who have been approved to work off campus are expected to do so from the location for which their off campus work has been approved, which will be their place of residence, unless an alternative location has been approved. Any changes to the off campus work location must be agreed to in advance by both the staff member and the University. Staff members are prohibited from working off campus from any location with restrictions that would preclude the staff member from using that work location to complete the staff member’s job duties, including but not limited to any zoning, lease, or community ordinances. It is the staff member’s responsibility to understand and comply with any such restrictions.
  2. Designated Workspace: Staff members working off campus must utilize a workspace which is suitable for placement and use of equipment for University business purposes. A staff member must be able to provide a secure and safe working environment in order to perform off campus work. This workspace must be maintained in a safe condition, free from hazards and other dangers to the staff member and equipment. For example, the staff member is expected to verify that the workspace's utilities meet all applicable manufacturers' requirements to operate the equipment safely, all electrical breakers or fuses meet applicable building codes, have adequate power and are properly grounded, and there is appropriate surge protection. The University may make in person or virtual onsite visits to the workspace for the purposes of determining that the site is safe and free from hazards. Any in-person University inspection visit to an off campus worksite shall occur during typical business hours and with prior notice. For information on safely setting up a workspace, refer to the ergonomics information on the Penn Environmental Health and Radiation Safety website, including the Humantech Office Ergonomics Penn EHRS information. Should a staff member experience a loss of internet service or utilities and not be able to work from their approved off campus work location, they must contact their manager to determine a mutually agreed upon off campus work location or return to campus if appropriate. Alternatively, the staff member should work with their manager to make up the time during different hours or arrange to utilize accrued Paid Time Off. Regularly working from a library, cafe, commercial location, or similar location is not allowed.  
  3. Work Schedule: While working off campus, a staff member’s work schedule will be as agreed to between the staff member and their manager. Any changes to the established work schedule must be agreed upon in writing by the staff member’s manager in advance. During work time, the staff manager will perform only University duties and not attend to personal matters, including caring for dependents.
  4. Meetings & Training: There may be times when a staff member who is working off campus may be required to attend meetings or trainings at a University worksite or at another location. The staff member is expected to attend those meetings or trainings despite otherwise working off campus that day.  
  5. Time Reporting for Hourly, Non-exempt Staff Members: Hourly, non-exempt staff are expected to accurately record all hours worked through the time reporting process in Workday. All time worked must be accurately and promptly reported so that it can be paid, including any work that is done outside of an hourly, non-exempt staff member’s regular work schedule and regardless of whether it was pre-approved. There is to be no "off the clock" work performed. All policies and procedures governing work time and time reporting apply to hourly, non-exempt staff members working off campus, including policies and procedures governing meal and rest breaks. Regardless of where they are working, hourly, non-exempt staff members may not exceed the approved weekly hours without prior management approval.
  6. Work Expectations: While working off campus, a staff member will consult with their manager, using agreed upon methods of communication, to receive assignments and to receive feedback on completed work. All assigned work will be completed according to work procedures as assigned, and the staff member will provide records of work accomplishments and other relevant documentation, as requested by the supervisor to allow feedback and assessment of performance. If performance expectations – including expectations related to communication – are not being met, the staff member may be held accountable through the performance improvement/discipline process. Poor performance may be grounds for discontinuing off campus work and it may impact continued employment. 
  7. Expenditures and Equipment: Staff members who are working off campus are expected to comply with the policy on Expenditures for Remote Work. Each staff member’s manager will work with the staff member to determine the appropriate equipment needs for that staff member.
    • Equipment Supplied by the University of Pennsylvania: Equipment supplied by the University of Pennsylvania is for the use of the staff member only for the exclusive purpose of conducting University business.  Non-staff members may not have access to the equipment, including those who reside in the household. Equipment supplied by the University of Pennsylvania will be maintained by the University of Pennsylvania. In the event of University-owned equipment failure or malfunction, the staff member is expected to immediately notify their manager to ensure prompt repair or replacement of such equipment and to follow the instructions they are provided to enable that repair. Staff members are not permitted to attempt to repair or replace any damaged, malfunctioning, or lost University equipment. In the event of delay in repair or replacement or any other circumstance under which it would be impossible for the staff member to work from the designated work location, the staff member may be assigned to do other work, may be assigned to work from campus or from another location, or may be asked to use Paid Time Off if it is not possible for the staff member to work under the circumstances. The University may, in certain circumstances, make on-site visits to a staff member’s off campus work location to maintain, repair, inspect or retrieve University-owned property. Upon separation from employment, the staff member is expected to promptly return all University property to the University. The staff member is expected to maintain and, if requested, provide evidence to the University, of homeowners’ or renters’ insurance to cover loss of or damage to University owned or leased work-related equipment – for example only, in the event of a burglary, fire or flood at the staff member’s designated work location.
    • Equipment Supplied by the Staff Member: Equipment supplied by the staff member will be maintained by the staff member. Any equipment supplied by the staff member must meet the requirements and use standards as established by the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania accepts no responsibility for loss, damage, or wear to staff member-owned equipment.
  8. Policies: University of Pennsylvania policies, procedures, and practices apply to staff members working off campus.
  9. Injuries: Any injuries suffered by a staff member during the staff member’s working hours – including any injuries suffered by the staff member at the staff member’s designated off campus work location – will be considered to have occurred during the course and in the scope of the staff member’s employment with the University and in furtherance of University business in accordance with Financial Policy 2608: Occupational Injury or Illness and the University’s Workers’ Compensation procedures. In the case of injury to a staff member while working at an off campus work location (outside of PA) which is their primary work location, the staff member must promptly notify their manager and also call The Hartford’s LossConnect at 1-800-327-3636 to report the claim. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

    The University assumes no liability for injury at the staff member’s designated work location to any person who would not be in the designated work location if the duties were being performed onsite at the University. In addition, the University is not liable for damages to the staff member’s property that result from the staff member’s off campus work. The University will investigate damages that occur to University owned or leased property, and reserves the right to subrogate against the staff member’s homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

  10. Confidentiality and Data Security: While working off campus, staff members are responsible for ensuring the protection of confidential information. This includes business information as well as information protected under applicable privacy laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, which may be stored electronically, in printed materials, or verbally discussed. Staff members are prohibited from using or disclosing any confidential information, whether during employment or following separation from employment, except as may be necessary in the fulfillment of the staff member’s job duties. Staff members must not provide others in the staff member’s household access to work related information. Printing of confidential information should be limited, and any hard copies containing confidential information must be shredded prior to disposal.

    Staff members must report any breach of confidentiality involving University information to their manager or designee immediately upon discovery. Upon request, either during employment or upon separation from employment, staff members must return any and all confidential information in their possession, custody or control, retaining no copies, and if requested will certify in writing that they have done so.

  11. Taxes: The University will withhold taxes based on a staff member’s  primary work location as recorded in Workday. The Workday record should list the staff member’s campus address as their primary work location unless the staff member has been approved to perform all or almost all of their work from an off-campus location. It is the staff member’s responsibility to understand any tax implications of off campus work and to ensure the necessary tax filings. The University of Pennsylvania is not permitted to give personal tax advice.  It is recommended that staff members contact their personal tax advisor for additional guidance.
  12. Benefits: In general, the University seeks to provide the same array of benefits to staff members regardless of their work location.  There may, however, be locations where this is not possible. For example, access to certain health plans may be restricted or access to network physicians or specialists may be limited. Additionally, benefits programs may vary based upon individual state or local regulations. For specific information regarding benefits, please contact the Benefits Solution Center at 866-799-2329. 

Any questions regarding this policy may be referred to the Penn Employee Solution Center, solutioncenter@upenn.edu or (215) 898-7372. 

 


Policy Number:  TBD
Effective Date: 06/01/2021
Last Reviewed Date: 08/05/2021
Revised Date: N/A
Supersedes Policy Number(s): N/A
Applicability: All Staff Members
Cross-reference: Work Schedules - Policy 601, Time Reporting - Policy 310, Meal and Rest Breaks - Policy 309, Performance Improvement/Discipline - Policy 621, Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources, Return of University Property - Policy 624, Adherence to University Policy - Policy 001, Confidentiality of Records - Policy 201, Medical Plans - Policy 402, Paid Time Off - Policy 603

 

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