Introduction

Providing flexibility in how and where Emerson employees work can be mutually beneficial. Employees benefit from flexible work to accommodate personal preferences and needs. Emerson benefits from the retention of valuable, productive and satisfied employees no matter where they are located. Emerson prides itself on creating a robust on-campus experience for its students – much of which involves the potential for face-to-face interactions with faculty and staff. Approval for out-of-state hiring or for current employees to work away from campus on an ongoing basis should generally be supported by a compelling reason or circumstance. Therefore, this policy is issued with the explicit understanding that the default expectation is that employment with Emerson will require at least some weekly on-campus time and that fully remote arrangements are typically reserved for individuals who work exclusively and full-time on remote programs and/or whose specific responsibilities and circumstances dictate an acceptable fully-remote arrangement.

This policy sets the expectations related to fully remote and hybrid work arrangements. Embedded in the establishment of this guidance are the principles of trust, communication, and community. The key features are: completing one’s job duties and responsibilities, being responsive via designated communications channels during work hours, being committed to and focused on work during core business hours, as defined by your department, and maintaining flexibility when the need arises to be on site.

Please note that employee compensation, benefits, duties and other terms and conditions of employment will not generally change due to or while one is working remotely1. This arrangement also does not change the at-will nature of employment as applicable.

Eligibility

This policy applies to all full and part-time regular employees, however for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement. Further, if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, then the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern. Employees who are classified as temporary or intermittent employees are eligible for remote work per this policy in limited circumstances and only in an approved applicable home State2.

Definitions

“Fully Remote Work” is a planned and approved arrangement whereby an employee regularly works from a location outside of campus on a full-time basis.

“Hybrid Work” is a planned and approved arrangement whereby an employee regularly works a portion of their weekly schedule from a location outside of campus and performs the balance of their work schedule on campus.

Requesting Fully Remote or Hybrid Work

Vice Presidents set the strategic direction for their Divisions with respect to Fully Remote and Hybrid Work and retain discretion to approve such work. The strategic direction should encompass the operational needs of the Divisions while ensuring the overall sense of collaboration, community, and team building. Vice Presidents will share their strategic direction with managers. Emerson and employees recognize that strategic direction and priorities may evolve over time as conditions change.

Please note that Emerson retains the right to alter its approach to remote and hybrid work and/or modify the procedure stated in this policy due to business or other needs, such as in the case of a reorganization or changing strategic priorities.

Approval Process

Employees may initiate requests for Fully Remote or Hybrid Work once per calendar year by sending an email to HR hr [at] emerson.edu (())title="Contact Human Resources". Temporary and non-recurring modifications to work arrangements lasting less than two work weeks may generally be approved by managers, in consultation with HR, although such modifications must comply with this and other Emerson policies.

For employees whose job conditions or deliverables differ materially in the summer, when they initiate their request, they may include a request for different arrangements for some or all of the summer. Due to the transient nature of summer requests, they will not be approved if they create unreasonable administrative or regulatory burdens.

When an employee requests Fully Remote or Hybrid Work, the employee’s direct supervisor, in consultation with Human Resources, will review and evaluate whether: (1) the duties and responsibilities of the position can be met in a Fully Remote or Hybrid Work arrangement substantively and within the operating budget of the department, (2) the employee can perform their job outside of campus without placing an increased work burden on other employees and (3) the employee consistently demonstrates to the satisfaction of their direct supervisor the ability to deliver high-quality work on time and independently, meets deliverables and maintains open and clear lines of communication with colleagues.

If the direct supervisor agrees that the duties and responsibilities can be met, they will submit a written recommendation for approval to their supervisor. The direct supervisor typically will respond to an employee’s request within ten (10) business days but may need more time depending on the request and operational demands. The recommendation is subject to the approval of the Vice President or designee and the applicable supervisor handling a request is responsible for ensuring that this approval has been obtained prior to communicating a final decision. Such final decisions typically will be rendered in thirty (30) days, but more time may be required due to the request and/or operational needs. Due to operational efficiency and compliance considerations, Emerson will generally only approve new work arrangements, in States currently listed in Appendix A - Approved States for Remote Work. A request for a Fully Remote or Hybrid Work in a State not listed on Appendix A will also require the approval of Emerson’s Vice President, Administration and Finance. Employees with an approved or pending Fully Remote or Hybrid Work arrangement must seek prior approval for any modifications to their work arrangement that would change the jurisdiction where they are domiciled or where work is being performed.

Emerson may modify the terms of any employee’s Fully Remote or Hybrid Work arrangement, including revoking approval for it, with ten (10) days written notice to the affected employee; such notice will state the rationale for the revocation.

At any time during this process or after a revocation, an employee may request a meeting with Human Resources and their direct supervisor to discuss any concerns, however, initiating this process will not relieve an employee from the obligation to report to their work location as instructed.

Communication and Coordination of Schedules

The direct supervisor must establish with the employee the working hours for Fully Remote or Hybrid Work. This may include being available and responsive outside of working hours in the employee’s location due to time zone differences or in the case of an emergency or mission-critical project. Direct supervisors will provide advance notice of such requirements whenever possible.

At the start of the Fully Remote or Hybrid Work arrangement or at hire (whichever comes first), the direct supervisor is responsible for setting expectations as to required in-person meetings, trainings or other in-person events. It is also the responsibility of supervisors to verify that employees reporting to them have an accurate work location in Workday. In addition, Emerson retains the discretion to require employees with approved Fully Remote or Hybrid Work to appear on campus as business needs dictate; reasonable notice will be provided.

Work Practices and Professional Standards

Employees must comply with all Emerson policies, practices and instructions and understand that violation of such may result in corrective actions, up to and including termination. Employees in positions approved for remote or hybrid work are subject to the same policies as other employees, including policies relating to information security and data protection, as further described below.

Fully Remote and Hybrid Work are not to be used so that an employee can provide family or pet care during work hours or tend to other time-consuming personal matters during working hours.

Employees with approved Fully Remote or Hybrid Work are required to be responsive to communication via email, phone, and Emerson-approved and provided video conferencing software during the working hours established between the employee and their direct supervisor.

Hourly, non-exempt employees must accurately record all hours worked in the same manner they would if they were working on campus. They also are required to adhere to meal breaks and obtain prior approval from their direct supervisor before working overtime.

Employees may not conduct in-person meetings relating to Emerson business at an in-home Remote or Hybrid Work location or other similar setting. Meetings at remote locations unconnected with bonafide professional travel must be approved by one’s supervisor in writing. Employees should not give out their home address and generally all communications should be routed through Emerson contact information2.

Home Workspace and Remote Technology Requirements

It is the responsibility of every employee to protect Emerson’s property and data privacy.

Employees with Fully Remote or Hybrid Work will conduct their work in a space and manner that is safe and functional.

Employees must understand that information that is classified as “High Risk,” as well as information that may otherwise be sensitive, confidential or proprietary (collectively referred to here as “Confidential Information”), must receive appropriate protection per the Data Governance Policy and other Emerson policies regardless of the employee’s location. Employees will report suspected cyber security incidents per the Incident Reporting Policy. Employees will discuss Confidential Information in a manner that ensures it is not disclosed improperly. Employees will ensure that unauthorized individuals are not provided access to Confidential Information, either in digital or print form. Employees will conduct work in a setting sufficient to protect Confidential Information from unauthorized access per policies including the Written Information Security Policy and Electronic Resources Acceptable Use Policy.

Additional considerations:

  • Employees must follow Emerson policies with respect to any College-issued laptops or other equipment. College-owned equipment should not be used by other individuals.
  • Home workspace must have a reliable high-speed internet connection and privacy for phone calls.
  • Employees must keep laptops locked with a password when not actively in use; logins and passwords must be kept private.
  • If an employee produces printed documents, they must be maintained in a private area not viewable by others, must be put away in a location not accessible by others when not actively in use and ultimately must be securely shredded or returned to an Emerson office shred bin.
  • Employees will store Confidential Information in an appropriate manner and may share it only through approved channels (e.g. not via personal email).
  • Any reimbursement requests, such as travel reimbursements, associated with remote work must be in accordance with college policies and any applicable IRS guidelines.
  • Employees are responsible for ensuring that accurate information concerning their work location(s) is entered into Workday in a timely manner and that their tax withholding information, such as state W-4 equivalents and other local withholding information, is up to date.

Liability

Employees on approved Fully Remote or Hybrid Work are covered by Emerson’s worker’s compensation insurance only during work hours and while performing work functions in the designated work area of the remote location. Employees are responsible for immediately notifying their supervisor of any injury in the remote workspace.

Emerson is not liable for loss, destruction, or injury that may occur in or to the employee’s home.

Income Tax

The employee owns the responsibility to determine any income tax implications of maintaining a home office. Emerson does not provide tax guidance nor will Emerson assume any additional tax liabilities. Employees are encouraged to consult with a qualified tax professional to discuss income tax implications.

Accommodations

Employees with Fully Remote or Hybrid Work locations seeking accommodations should engage in the accommodations process with Human Resources as would any on-campus employee.

Compliance with Policy

Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action including but not limited to the cessation of the Fully Remote or Hybrid Work arrangement.

Appendix A - Approved States for Remote Work4

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

Footnotes

(1)Health insurance choices may be different based on location.

(2)Appendix A - Approved States for Remote Work.

(3)In keeping with department-level practice and supervisory guidance employees may give out their mobile number to certain populations, such as vendors who need to contact them outside of business hours.

(4)This list is not intended to modify ongoing and properly approved work arrangements in other non-listed states. Additionally, the Speech@Emerson program is exempt from the requirements of this appendix due to the unique structure and geographic dispersal associated with its operations. The Speech@Emerson program may, subject to the approval of the Provost, develop work location policies independent of this policy.