Tufts University Flexible Work Options Policy
Amended date: 2/17/22
Introduction & Application
A centralized policy for Flexible Work at Tufts allows schools and divisions to review opportunities for working in a flexible work environment, while continuing to meet the business needs of our units, the expectations of our clients and colleagues, and the requirements of our jobs.
This policy applies to any benefits-eligible staff member who has standard hours of 17.5 hours per week or more and is not otherwise covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Postdoctoral scholars’ employment conditions are outlined in the postdoc handbook. Faculty should refer to the by-laws and/or faculty handbook of their primary school affiliation for guidance.
Employee Eligibility for Flexible Work Arrangements
Flexible work arrangements are based on the business needs of the department and established job categories. Departments must ensure that sufficient staff are available on-site, when required, to provide service to the campus community during scheduled business hours. That business need is the primary driver for considerations of flexible work arrangements.
Managers should consult with their HR Business Partner when determining the flexible work arrangements that are appropriate and equitable for their units. Ongoing dialogue between staff and managers also determines when and if opportunities for flexible work arrangements are available.
All alternative work schedules require the approval of the employee’s manager. Tufts managers who agree to flexible work arrangements may choose to track the efficacy of the arrangement and may require adjustments. The appropriateness of the flexible work arrangement should be assessed regularly. The flexible work arrangement can be amended or terminated by either the manager or the employee with reasonable notice.
Managers should also consider the following factors when determining opportunities for flexible work arrangements:
- The employee can successfully meet or exceed expectations working independently.
- If there are business needs that require the employee to be on-site, the employee has the flexibility to periodically work on campus when needed and with reasonable notice.
- Certain positions do not lend themselves to flexible work options. Certain conditions make working remotely unsuitable (e.g., equipment, materials, and files necessary to the position can only be physically accessed on Tufts property; or regular face-to-face contact with managers, other employees, clients, or the public on Tufts property is a regular and integral part of the position responsibilities).
Documenting Flexible Work Arrangements
The Flexible Work Arrangement Form available on the Flexible Work website is intended to capture the specifics of the flexible work arrangement. The flexible work arrangement should be acknowledged by both the manager and the employee; should be approved by the employee’s manager; and should follow the approval requirements of the employee’s individual division or school. Managers should keep the completed Flexible Work Arrangement Form for their files in accordance with their department or unit guidelines.
Ad hoc or infrequent remote work or alternative hours of short durations do not require a Flexible Work Arrangement Form but do require prior manager approval.
Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
The term “flexible work arrangements” encompasses a variety of alternative work modalities, schedules, and locations, outlined in the table below. All flexible work arrangements are considered first within the scope of work and the business needs of the department, division or school, as defined by their leadership team.
Based on the nature of the work or because business need or service delivery requires it, work must be performed on Tufts properties. Included in this category are Essential Staff. For more information about employees working in essential service areas, see https://access.tufts.edu/emergency-information.
It may be possible for employees to work a portion of their schedule at a remote location, and another portion on campus. The remote and campus portions could be split by day (e.g., mornings on campus and afternoons off campus), by week (e.g., two days on campus and three days off campus), or on campus periodically as needed.
Remote employees are not expected to work on campus. Some remote work arrangements may have location considerations, such as the rare need to attend in-person meetings.
|Flexible Scheduling||An employee may request alternative starting and ending times for work, with the understanding that the majority of work hours align with any department norms and common business hours. An example could be working 8:00am-4:00pm instead of the standard 9:00am-5:00pm.|
|Compressed Work Week||Where work is measured primarily in deliverable outcomes rather than hours worked, a department may choose to offer compressed work weeks (such as three-day work weeks with four days off or four-day work weeks with three days off), where practical. Because these arrangements can impact payroll processing, consult with Human Resources for guidance.|
|Job Sharing||A job sharing arrangement permits two individuals to share one full-time position. Hours may be divided in various ways. Both members of a job sharing team are eligible to receive benefits as long as each is scheduled to work at least 17.5 hours per week. Benefits for these employees may be pro-rated. These arrangements should be designed with the help of the department’s HR Business Partner.|
|Temporary Reduction of Hours||In exceptional cases, usually on a temporary basis and with a department leader’s agreement, an employee may arrange a temporarily reduced schedule of hours. This arrangement is based on flexibility of business needs.|
Logistical Considerations for Remote Work
Safety. Flexible work arrangements should provide a remote work environment that is safe and free from hazards. A safety checklist will be available on the Flexible Work website. If an injury occurs while the employee is working remotely, the employee must notify their manager immediately.
Emergency Situations. In emergency situations, Tufts may direct essential service employees who are not physically needed on campus to work remotely. In those instances, employees will be informed of the start and end time of the remote work assignment by their manager.
Remote Work Technology and Information Security Guidelines. In a flexible working environment, the employee will be responsible for complying with all university policies and guidelines, including responsible use policies outlined on AccessTufts and the Tufts Technology Services website. Data handling policies can also be found online.
Department Norms. Departments are to establish shared work norms and common hours when all employees are expected to be available. Nonexempt staff members are expected to adhere to Tufts timekeeping and overtime policies.
Travel. Employees who are in remote positions will rarely, if ever, be expected to return to campus. In the infrequent event that the staff member is requested to travel to campus, travel to/from campus plus travel/per diem expenses are allowed and expected to follow Tufts travel and expense policies. In the rare occasion where travel is required of a remote employee, campus stays are expected to be brief.
Employee Information. If an employee has received approval to work remotely from outside of Massachusetts from their department or school senior leadership, the employee must update their work location/address in eServe and send a separate notice to TSS@tufts.edu.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the following additional resources:
This Flexible Work Options Policy is part of the HR Employee Policies and Procedures.
Disclaimer: Changes to this policy and the handbook in which it is maintained may be made at any time, at the sole discretion of the University and is not a contract. Employment by the University is at will and either the employee or the University may end the employment relationship at any time.
Staff: any benefits-eligible employee who has standard hours of 17.5 hours/week or more and is not otherwise covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Postdoctoral scholars’ hiring practices are outlined in the postdoc handbook. Faculty should refer to the by-laws of their primary school affiliation for guidance.
Related Links and Resources: Postdoctoral Scholars’ Handbook: https://viceprovost.tufts.edu/policies-forms-guides/postdoctoral-scholars-handbook