4.26 Remote Work


The university provides remote work arrangements to employees when it is mutually beneficial to both the university and the employee. This policy defines remote work, indicates the requirements for a Remote Work Agreement and outlines the responsibilities of both remote workers and the university. The Remote Work Policy is administered by the Human Resource Services Director or designee (hereafter referred to as HRS Director). This policy does not apply to student employees.

For rules related to work during a weather emergency, see university policy 4.07.

Policy Statement

Remote work is defined as a work arrangement that allows employees to work outside of their university-owned/leased worksite at a specified alternate location, on a recurring basis or prescribed schedule (e.g. every other Tuesday).

Approval of remote work arrangements will be made on a case-by-case basis for up to one year at a time. Consideration may be given for more than one year at a time when remote work is a requirement of the job and the work location is within the state of Iowa. The nature of the work performed, the employee’s past work performance, as well as the specific remote work location must be taken into consideration by the supervisor to determine remote work feasibility before entering into a Remote Work Agreement. Remote work is not an entitlement nor is it a university-wide benefit.  A remote work arrangement does not change the terms and conditions of employment with the university.

Occasional, irregular out-of-office work arrangements may be allowed on a case-by-case basis if approved by an employee's director or department head. A formal Remote Work Agreement is not required for these infrequent remote work arrangements and a director or department head's approval on one occasion does not imply that future requests of a similar nature will be approved. A Remote Work Agreement is also not required for university sponsored business travel.

Typically, remote work arrangements may not be considered for staff positions until the incumbent has completed at least six months of service in the position intended to be covered by the Remote Work Agreement, unless otherwise approved by a division head. In some cases, the university may establish new or open positions in which remote work is an expected condition of employment.  For those designated remote work positions, the job announcement will describe the remote work requirement and include a statement that the ability to work effectively and efficiently from an alternate worksite is a qualification of the position.

Remote work is not a substitute for child or other dependent care. Remote workers shall make or maintain childcare, adult care, or similar personal arrangements to permit concentration on work assignments during agreed upon work hours.

Remote Work Outside the State of Iowa

Additional review of the Remote Work Agreement by Human Resource Services (HRS), Payroll, Environmental Health & Safety and the University Counsel’s office is required for work locations outside the state of Iowa and may not be able to be accommodated. Findings are presented to the Senior Vice President, Finance & Operations and the respective division head for a final determination. Work locations outside of the United States may not be able to be accommodated or may require an arrangement other than a Remote Work Agreement.

Exception to the Policy for Faculty

University faculty members generally carry out their teaching, scholarship and service obligations on campus and in campus facilities.  However, given the nature of faculty work, it is an accepted practice for faculty members to conduct their work activities on varied schedules in alternate locations as appropriate to their assigned portfolio of work (e.g. hybrid or online teaching).

If it is determined, or a request is approved, that a faculty member's assignment warrants recurring work at an alternate off-campus location, including a geographic location outside of the state of Iowa, a formal Remote Work Agreement shall be entered into at the time of offer or assignment to the off-campus location. Additional review is needed for work locations outside of the state of Iowa. Work locations outside of the United States may not be able to be accommodated or may require an arrangement other than a Remote Work Agreement.

Exception to the Policy for Adverse Working Conditions

The university may implement a temporary allowance for more flexible and widespread remote work arrangements during times of adverse working conditions, such as fire, power failure or public state of emergency. As such, it may be necessary to temporarily lift certain requirements of this policy, such as a formal Remote Work Agreement, during all or a portion of the condition, as deemed appropriate by the HRS Director. Supervisors are still required to consider remote work arrangements on a case-by-case basis to determine if remote work is a feasible option; these remote work arrangements continue to depend upon the nature of the work performed, the employee’s past work performance and the remote work location.

Remote Work Requests for Medical Reasons

Employees requesting a remote work arrangement due to a medical condition should be directed to HRS to discuss potential workplace accommodations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

General Conditions of Remote Work Agreements

A. Conditions of Employment. The remote employee's conditions of employment shall remain the same as for non-remote employees; wages, benefits and leave accrual will remain unchanged unless there is a change in employment status or scheduled hours that impacts benefit eligibility. In addition, all university policies, rules and procedures shall apply at the remote work site, including those governing communicating internally and with the public, employee rights and responsibilities, facilities and equipment management, financial management, information resource management, purchasing of property and services, and safety. Failure to follow policy, rules and procedures may result in termination of the remote work arrangement and/or disciplinary action.

B. Hours of Work. The Remote Work Agreement shall specify the regularly scheduled work hours agreed upon by the remote employee and their supervisor. The amount of time the remote employee is expected to work shall remain the same as for on-campus work, unless specified otherwise in the Remote Work Agreement. A remote employee must be available during scheduled work hours by phone, e-mail or other specified methods of communication with their supervisor, co-workers, other university employees or students as well as others outside the university with whom job-related communication is necessary.

As required by the Remote Work Agreement or upon at least 24 hours' notice by the employee's supervisor, the remote employee will attend job-related meetings, training sessions and conferences. In addition, the remote employee may be requested to attend meetings called with notice of less than 24 hours. The supervisor will use electronic means of communication whenever possible as an alternative to requesting attendance at such "short-notice" meetings, but there may be times when the employee's physical presence is deemed essential. In such cases the supervisor must provide sufficient notice to allow the employee a reasonable time to travel to campus to participate in the meeting. Generally, remote employees should work from the same location for their entire workday.

C.  Fair Labor Standards Act. Remote employees who are not exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will be required to record all hours worked in a manner designated by the university.  Remote employees will be held to the same standard of compliance as campus-based employees.  The agreed upon work schedule shall comply with FLSA regulations. For non-exempt (hourly paid) employees, hours in excess of the regular work schedule must be pre-approved by the supervisor.  Failure to comply with this requirement can result in the immediate termination of the Remote Work Agreement and/or disciplinary action. Non-exempt staff who travel between two or more approved worksites in the same business day must count this travel time as time worked.

D. Emergency Disruptions and Inclement Weather. If the primary worksite is closed due to an emergency or inclement weather, the supervisor will contact the remote employee and provide instructions about the continuation of work at the remote work site. If there is an emergency at the remote work site, such as a power outage, the remote employee will notify the supervisor as soon as possible. The remote employee may be reassigned to the primary worksite or an alternate worksite in such cases or be required to take leave.

E. Alternate Work Site. The remote employee must establish and maintain a dedicated workspace that is quiet, clean, and safe, with adequate lighting and ventilation and free of recognized hazards. The remote employee will not hold business visits or meetings with professional colleagues, customers, or the public at the alternate worksite, unless the worksite is a required location for the position to work such as a community college partnership site. Meetings with other university staff will not be permitted at the alternate work location unless approved in advance by the employee's supervisor.  The university reserves the right to visit the alternate work site as long as 24 hour notice is provided. The remote employee agrees to adhere to any zoning regulations applicable to the designated alternate work site. The university is not responsible for any zoning violations resulting from establishment of the alternate work site.

Agreements are only valid for the address identified on the approved form. Plans to move or otherwise change the remote work address requires a new Remote Work Agreement to be routed and approved prior to the employee working from the new location.

F. Inspections. In case of injury, theft, loss, or tort liability related to remote work at the alternate work site, the remote employee must allow agents and invitees of the university to investigate and/or inspect the remote site.

G. Equipment. Office furniture shall generally be provided by the remote worker. Computer equipment and software provided by the university at the remote work site shall be used exclusively by the remote employee and only for the purposes of conducting university business. Software shall not be duplicated. Typically, the university will provide a computer workstation on campus that the remote employee may access by remote desktop software or establish a virtual private network (VPN) for the network to be accessed by a university-owned device.

The remote employee is responsible for safe transportation and set-up of university purchased computer equipment. In addition, before removing any equipment from the university campus or receiving any equipment through direct delivery, the remote employee must complete the Fixed Assets Off-Campus Use Form

H. Equipment Liability. The university will repair and maintain any equipment owned by the university. The remote employee is responsible for safely transporting such equipment to campus for repair or maintenance unless movement of the equipment is likely to result in damage.  Surge protectors or other protective devices must be used with any university computer made available to the remote employee, and all current virus protections and security measures recommended by Information Technology must be installed and operating.

The university may pursue recovery from the remote employee for university property that is deliberately, or through negligence, damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen while in the remote employee's care, custody or control. The university does not assume liability for loss, damage, or wear of employee-owned equipment.

I. Data Security & Confidentiality. Security and confidentiality shall be maintained by the remote employee at the same level as expected at all worksites. Confidential and sensitive data should never be saved on the local computer. If local copies of such data are necessary to perform your work, those should be saved to an appropriate UNI-managed fileshare, e.g., a folder on a UNI file server. Restricted access or confidential material shall not be taken out of the primary worksite or accessed through a computer unless approved in advance by the supervisor. Remote work that involves confidential or sensitive data should not be performed on a personally-owned device. The remote employee is responsible to ensure that non-employees, and employees who would not have authorization, do not access university data, including in print or electronic form.

J. Intellectual Property. Products, documents, patents, copyrights, inventions, and records developed while working remotely are property of the university and are subject to the university's intellectual property policy (Policy 10.03).  The remote employee must have a method to safeguard the security of all institutional data, including, but not limited to, intellectual property, proprietary information, confidential personnel information, Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) protected student records, Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) protected health information, and attorney-client communications.

K. Record Retention. Products, documents and records that are used, developed, or revised while working remotely shall be copied or restored to the university's computerized record system.  Maintenance of university records must be consistent with the university record retention rules and policy.

L. Remote Work Expenses

  • Office Supplies. The university shall provide any necessary office supplies. Out-of-pocket expenses for supplies normally available in the office will not be reimbursed unless pre-approved by the supervisor. All supplies should be secured in the remote work site and must not be used by the remote employee or others for personal purposes.
  • Phone Service and Network Access. Provision of phone service through cellular communication devices and reimbursement for remote internet access plans is governed by university policy.
  • Travel and Incidental Costs. The remote employee will generally not be reimbursed for mileage involved in travel between the remote work site and the university-owned/leased worksite. Unless otherwise stated in the Remote Work Agreement, all incidental costs, such as residential utility costs, homeowner's insurance or cleaning services, are the responsibilities of the remote employee.
  • Taxes. Remote employees should consult with a tax expert to determine the tax implications of a home office. The university will not provide guidance or bear any responsibility for any Federal or State tax liability.

M. Approvals. All Remote Work Agreements must be approved by the director/department head, dean (if applicable), and division head following applicable consultation with Information Technology to ensure data security and other information technology items are addressed. The Remote Work Agreement must then be sent to the HRS Director for final verification and placement in the employee's personnel file. Approval of the Remote Work Agreement must be complete before the employee begins working remotely. In addition, any change to the remote work address requires a new Remote Work Agreement to be routed and approved prior to the employee working from the new location

N. Discontinuation. Voluntary Remote Work Agreements may be discontinued, without cause, at any time, at the request of either the remote employee or the university.

  • When practicable, either the university or the remote employee should provide a two week notice of termination of the Remote Work Agreement.
  • When remote work is an expected condition of employment, the Remote Work Agreement may only be discontinued at the option of the university.
  • Performance issues, such as decreases in productivity or behaviors that detract value from the university may result in the loss of remote work status and/or may result in disciplinary action.
  • Termination of university employment results in immediate cancellation of any Remote Work Agreement with the employee.

Employees and supervisors with an interest in exploring a remote work arrangement should consult the remote work resources site.

Related Policies:

14.03 Data Security Policy

14.04 Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources

14.09 University Data Classification

9.46 Technology Allowance Policy

13.15 Campus Accessibility & Accommodations of Disabilities

Human Resource Services, approved March 9, 2023
University Council, approved September 18, 2023
President and President's Cabinet, approved September 25, 2023
[Last reviewed and/or updated 9/2023, 11/2021, 11/2020, 8/2015, 12/2010]