07-06.40 – Policy on Teleworking

  1. Purpose:

    Towson University (the “University”) has established this policy for authorized work from an approved location, typically the employee’s primary residence. Arrangements governed by this policy are intended to be regularly occurring and developed mutually between the employee and the department.

  2. Definitions: 

    1. Eligible Employee: An employee in a job/position identified by the University as being suitable for telework.

    2. Alternate Workplace: A University approved worksite other than the University’s campus or the employee's usual and customary worksite.

    3. Good Standing: An employee will be considered in good standing for purposes of telework if they have received a rating of “Meets Expectations” on the most recent annual performance evaluation (as applicable), do not have formal disciplinary action on record, and are not working under a current performance improvement plan. New employees will be presumed in good standing, subject to minimum service time requirement and approval of the department.
    4. Overtime: Refers to actual hours worked over 40 in a standard workweek and subject to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). May also refer to hours worked over eight (8) in a workday, provided that those hours result in a total of more than 40 hours for the workweek.  

    5. Teleworker: An employee who is regularly scheduled to telework in accordance with an approved telework arrangement. 

    6. Telework: Working at an Alternate Workplace.

    7. Telework Request Form: A document used to initiate a telework request for review and approval by the employee’s department/supervisor, and review and support of  the Office of Human Resources (“OHR”).

    8. Telework Agreement: A document to be signed by the employee outlining the teleworking relationship between the employee and the University to include, but not be limited to, pertinent policies, expectations, terms, and conditions required of the employee for the employee to be permitted to telework.

    9. Teleworker Work Plan: A document setting forth the details of work assignments, expectations, and duties to be completed by an employee while teleworking.
  3. Responsible Executive and Office:

    Responsible Executive: Chief Human Resources Officer

    Responsible Office: Office of Human Resources  

  4. Policy: 

    1. The University recognizes telework as an alternate workplace arrangement for University employees in appropriate circumstances and in accordance with the practices listed in this document.

      1. Teleworking enables employees in telework eligible positions to perform their essential and regular job duties at an alternate work site.

      2. Teleworking refers to the location of and conditions relating to an alternate work place arrangement and not to a separate category of employment at the University.

    2. All policies governing the employee’s employment category (Non-exempt, Exempt, Contingent, etc.) shall continue to apply throughout the teleworking arrangement. 

    3. The teleworker must comply with all University and USM policies that apply at the Alternate Workplace as if the teleworker were on campus or at the usual and customary work site.

    4. Although it is anticipated that a Teleworking arrangement will benefit the teleworking employee, the arrangement and the continuation of an arrangement is at the discretion of the University.

    5. Telework agreements may vary in duration up to one (1) year at the discretion of the department. Agreements will be reviewed by the department for renewal or adjustment at the end of the stated term, at a minimum of once annually. Requested modifications may be made during the term of the agreement only with the support of the department provided in writing and following review of OHR.
    6. Modifications to a telework arrangement may be made by the department during the term of an agreement if necessary to support operations with reasonable notice to the employee.
    7. Teleworking is voluntary and may be terminated by the employee or the University at any time.

  5. Employee Participation:

    1. Eligibility

      1. Telework opportunities in accordance with this policy shall be afforded to regular full-time staff and contingent category II staff only. Faculty, regular part-time employees and contingent category I staff shall not be eligible to apply for regular telework arrangements pursuant to this policy. 

      2. Minimum Service Time — Employees applying for a regular telework arrangement must be employed by the University in the role for which they are applying to telework for a minimum of 90 calendar days to be eligible. 
      3. Good Standing — Employees must be in good standing as defined by this policy in order to apply for a regular telework arrangement and must maintain good standing throughout the term of the telework agreement. Failure to maintain good standing shall result in discontinuation of the telework arrangement.
    2. Telework Requests

      1. The University will determine which positions are suitable for teleworking and will review position eligibility on an annual basis. The OHR shall be responsible for maintaining an up-to-date list of positions that are eligible to request a teleworking arrangement as not all positions are suitable for telework.
      2. At the discretion of the University, employees in positions suitable for telework may be permitted to telework up to a maximum of two (2) established and agreed upon workdays per week, provided the requested arrangement is conducive to operations of the requestor’s department and the request is supported by OHR.
      3. Before an employee may be permitted to telework, the employee must submit a telework request form to their supervisor for review and preliminary approval and consult with the supervisor on the teleworker work plan. The supervisor shall then submit the telework request form and teleworker work plan to OHR for review. Upon completion of its review, which is typically conducted within ten (10) business days from receipt of the request, OHR will either support or not support the request and provide written confirmation of its decision. If a request is not supported by OHR, OHR reserves final discretion to adjust requests and/or prospective arrangements in conjunction with the department in the event that modifications will result in OHR support of the request.
      4. If a telework request and telework work plan are supported by OHR, the department and the employee shall complete a Telework Agreement and assemble all elements necessary to support the telework arrangement for final submission to OHR.
      5. The following documents must be completed and returned to OHR in order to render a teleworking request and arrangement effective:

        1. Telework Request Form
        2. Teleworking Agreement
        3. Alternate Workplace Self-Certification Checklist
        4. Teleworker Work Plan

          OHR will record and retain the telework documentation, at which time the department and employee are authorized to commence approved telework arrangements.
      6. Exceptions
        1. Due to the specific nature of a position, in very limited circumstances there may be requests that exceed the maximum of two (2) regularly scheduled telework days prescribed by this policy. These requests must be supported by the department and submitted to the appropriate divisional Vice President (or their designee) and OHR for review.
        2. Exceptions may only be granted by the divisional Vice President (or designee) and with concurrence of the Chief Human Resources Officer. Review of exceptions requests shall consider the following factors:
          1. specific nature of the position;
          2. duration of the requests;
          3. necessity to operations of the department
          4. equity and consistency within the division; and
          5. any other factor deemed relevant by the divisional Vice President (or designee).
        3. The decision regarding a telework exception made by the divisional Vice President (or designee) with concurrence of the Human Resources Officer shall be final. Approved exceptions will be reviewed by the University on an annual basis.
    3. Employment

      1. The teleworker’s duties, obligations, responsibilities, and conditions of employment with the University will be unaffected by teleworking.
      2. The teleworker’s pay, retirement benefits, and State of Maryland sponsored insurance coverage will remain unchanged by the teleworking arrangement.
      3. All work hours, overtime compensation, and leave usage must conform to all USM and University policies, the provisions of the Teleworker’s Agreement and Work Plan, and to terms otherwise agreed upon by the employee and the supervisor.
      4. Overtime hours are not permitted while teleworking unless specified in the teleworker work plan or pre-approved by the appropriate supervisor. Approval of overtime must be in writing with a copy shared to OHR for timekeeping and payroll purposes.
      5. Holding work-related meetings virtually while at an approved alternate workplace may be permitted in accordance with an individual Teleworker Work Plan.
      6. Any telework arrangement made pursuant to this policy that includes telework at a location outside of the State of Maryland shall be limited to an employee’s primary residence from which they regularly commute to the University’s campus or usual and customary worksite. Telework arrangements that include telework from other locations outside the State of Maryland are generally prohibited by the University.
    4. Work Space
      1. The teleworker must have an area designated as a workspace at the Alternate Workplace.
      2. The workspace should be maintained in a safe condition, free of hazards that might endanger the employee or university equipment.
      3. The supervisor shall require that the teleworker complete and return the Alternate Workplace Self Certification Checklist.
      4. The teleworker and the supervisor, in consultation with the University’s Office of Technology Services, shall take appropriate safeguards to secure confidential data and information.
    5. Equipment and Supplies
      1. Teleworkers must have a phone and a designated workspace with appropriate equipment and supplies to perform the assigned work at an alternate workplace.
      2. Teleworkers must provide for Internet and/or phone service at their own cost if such service is necessary to complete the job duties outlined in the Teleworker Work Plan.
      3. The University may provide the teleworker with other equipment and services as needed for work at the Alternate Workplace.
        1. Equipment provided to the teleworker by the University shall remain the property of the University and shall be returned upon termination of employment, termination of the employee’s participation in the telework arrangement, or at such time deemed appropriate by the supervisor.
        2. The use of equipment, software, data, supplies, and furniture, if provided by the University, is limited to use by authorized persons and for purposes related to University business only.
        3. The teleworker will be responsible for the security of all items furnished by the University.
    6. Regular Work Hours
      1. The teleworker and their direct supervisor will determine the teleworker’s regular work hours and accessibility to other University employees.
        1. Teleworking is not a substitute for availability during regular University hours or interaction among University colleagues and is not a substitute for use of accrued annual, personal, or sick leave. Appropriate leave must be taken when needed even if it falls on a scheduled telework day.
        2. Work hour and accessibility requirements will be addressed in the Teleworking Agreement and Teleworker Work Plan.
        3. Individual departments and departmental units reserve the right to establish core working days and/or hours during which telework will not be supported.
        4. In the event operations require a teleworker to report to campus on a scheduled telework day, the telework day shall not be automatically rescheduled.
        5. Job duties reasonably requiring an employee’s presence on campus including, but not limited to meetings or events, shall not be scheduled around a teleworker’s scheduled telework day(s).
      2. Telework days/hours may be adjusted/flexed with advanced approval of the appropriate supervisor.
      3. The teleworker must complete their timesheet within the established guidelines set for all employees by the University.
    7. Expenses
      1. A teleworking arrangement does not, in itself, assure reimbursements by the University for any cost incurred by the teleworker.
      2. The teleworker is responsible for the cost of maintenance, repair, and operation of personal equipment not provided by the University.
    8. Liability
      1. The teleworker is covered under the State’s Workers’ Compensation Law for injuries occurring in the course of the actual performance of official duties at the alternate workplace.
        1. The teleworker or someone acting on the teleworker’s behalf shall immediately notify the teleworker’s supervisor of any accident or injury that occurs at the alternate workplace.
        2. The University and the supervisor should follow the University’s policies regarding the reporting of injuries for employees injured while at work.
        3. The University is not liable for damages to the teleworker’s personal or real property while the teleworker is working at the alternate workplace, except to the extent adjudicated to be liable under Maryland law.
      2. The teleworker is liable for property damages and injuries to third persons at the alternate workplace.
      3. By accepting a teleworking arrangement, the teleworker agrees to indemnify and hold the University and all or any of its representatives harmless from and against any and all claims, demands, judgments, liabilities, expenses, losses or costs (including as examples, cost of suit and attorneys’ fees) resulting or arising from or in connection with any injury and damage (including death) to any person or property, caused directly or indirectly by the teleworker’s willful misconduct, negligent actions or performance of the teleworker’s duties and obligations, except where liability arises solely from negligence and misconduct of the University.
    9. Child/Dependent Care
      1. Teleworking is not a substitute for child or dependent care.
      2. The teleworker must continue to make arrangements for child or dependent care to the same extent as if the teleworker were working on campus or at the employee’s usual and customary worksite.

Related Policies:
TU Policy 10-01.02 – Acceptable Use Policy
TU Policy 10-5.00 – Data Governance Policy
TU Policy 10-01.01 – Information Technology Security Policy
TU Policy 10-01.05 Mobile Computing Devices Policy
TU Policy 07-01.00, et seq. – Human Resources Policies
Guidelines for Responsible Computing
Data Governance Roles and Responsibilities Guidelines
Procedures, Guidelines & Standards on Telework (TBD)

Effective Date: 10/15/2004
Amended Date: 7/27/2021, 1/26/2022
Approved by: President’s Cabinet

How to Request the Policy PDF

This online version of the policy may include updated links and names of departments. To request a PDF of the original, signed version of this policy, email the Office of the General Counsel, .