Human Resources

University Policy on Home-based Work

Policy No.
UP07/203
Function
Human Resources
Authoring Organisational Unit
Human Resources - Central Unit
Date Approved
Revised 25/09/2014
Next Review Date
25/09/2016
Approving Body
Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor And Registrar

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Home Based Work

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy defines home based work arrangements to perform University work, setting out entitlements, eligibility criteria and other conditions that apply. This policy does not include one off, ad-hoc or irregular University work at home.

Definitions:

"Approved Delegate" means a position granted authority to act on behalf of the Vice Chancellor with varied levels of authority in line with the University's Delegations.

"Employee" means a person employed by the University who has an ongoing or fixed term or casual contract under the terms of the following Agreements (as amended from time to time): Academic Staff Agreement and Professional and General Staff Agreement.

"Home Based Work" means regular performance of University work for agreed hours from the home based site.

"Home Based Work Site" means an agreed area in the employee's private dwelling.

"Office Based Site" means the location where the employee would ordinarily work at the University if there were no home based work arrangement.

"Supervisor" means the person who is responsible for day-to-day supervision of the employee.

Policy statement:

1. Overview

Home based work can provide benefits to both employers and employees. The flexibility and productivity outcomes available from home based work can be attractive to both the University and employees.

A home based work arrangement can provide flexibility for employees with responsibility for the care of others (ie family members). The University recognises that care may need to be provided to family members on an occasional basis. It may also allow employees to have proximity to family members who are ill and to be available to assist the primary carer. It is acknowledged that from time to time arrangements may be negotiated with managers to work around any dependant requirements. It is important that these requirements do not impact on the performance of the agreed duties and that any variation to hours is clearly documented.

Home Based Work Considerations and Procedure

2. Eligibility

An application for a home based work arrangement is considered on a case by case basis by the approved delegate. A home based working agreement is a formal arrangement with the working arrangements clearly documented. It is not to be used for "one off" or irregular arrangements, which also require discussion and prior approval of the approved delegate.

The approved delegate is responsible for ensuring that the requirements under this policy have been satisfied prior to approving an application for a home based work arrangement. All of the working conditions at the home based site need to be negotiated, and thoroughly documented. Careful planning and consultation is needed to maximise the benefits to the University and employee.

3. Suitability

Employees with the following characteristics would be suitable for home based work:

  • a motivated and good performer (who has undergone a recent Performance and Development Appraisal (PDA));
  • a competent employee who can work autonomously (without supervision);
  • a good time manager (astute when undertaking routine tasks);
  • a capable communicator (good at initiating contact when experiencing difficulties).

Positions with at least one of the following requirements will not be considered for home based work:

  • a high level of supervision or objective performance monitoring of outcomes;
  • direct client face to face contact on a frequent basis without the option of easily rescheduling;
  • being a member of a team who needs to have face to face contact with other team members;
  • servicing and serving other University facilities and/or assets (eg. security, library officers);
  • other characteristics which the approved delegate considers unsuitable for home based work.

4. Communication

Good communication is an essential part of any successful home based work arrangement. The supervisor will ensure that the employee knows and understands the expectations and required standard of work. These expectations should be clearly documented and regularly assessed throughout the life of the agreement. It is important for an employee and the supervisor to meet at regular intervals (at least fortnightly). This allows both the supervisor and the employee to provide regular feedback and to discuss and evaluate the arrangement. Scheduling meetings at a mutually convenient time and location is a way of ensuring the employee keeps in contact with changes and developments in the workplace and to address any isolation issues.

An employee who has a home based work arrangement must have the same career development opportunities as all other employees and they must attend nominated training. The supervisor must ensure that conditions of work, including the safety and health provisions, are equivalent to those in the office.

5. Safety and Health Requirements

The home based site requires a designated area that is deemed to be an acceptable workspace. An Occupational Safety and Health Checklist must be completed by the employee and sent to UWA Safety and Health. Should any concerns be raised, an assessment may be required (which may include a health and safety and risk assessment of the home based site). Failure to comply with safety and health requirements may result in the agreement being terminated.

The employee must have a clear delineation of when they are working or not working and maintain appropriate records (ie timesheets).

Employees must be properly inducted and aware of the relevant University safety policies and procedures, including reporting of injuries.

6. Arrangements

The ownership and usage arrangements of the equipment and assets at the home based site needs to be clearly documented in the agreement. Appropriate security must be obtained for all University information stored on a computer (including back up information) and secure storage provided for any confidential documentation (for example a lockable filing cabinet).

The University is responsible for providing and maintaining University equipment and necessary supplies (ie stationery).

It is the employee's responsibility to assess the personal implications of commencing home based work with respect to taxation, insurance or leasing arrangements.

An employee's working conditions are set out in the University's Collective Agreements (ie Professional and General Staff and Academic Staff Agreements).

The University's terms and conditions of employment apply while working from home, and will not be altered by the home based work arrangement.

7. Access

When access to the home based site is required by the University, the consent of the employee is required before the visit at a mutually agreed time. The purpose of the visit would need to be stipulated when seeking the employee's consent and may include access for the following reasons:

  • occupational safety and health purposes;
  • maintenance of faulty equipment;
  • audit and routine maintenance of equipment and supplies;
  • assessing and monitoring security arrangements of equipment and documents;
  • any other reason deemed appropriate by the approved delegate.

8. Term of Agreement

A review of the home based working arrangement is to be undertaken by the supervisor and the employee. The review date is to be determined at the outset and indicated in the agreement.

8.1 The home based working agreement may be altered or discontinued at the request of the University or an employee.

8.2 The home based working arrangement may be terminated by the University due to:

  • operational requirements with reasonable notice,
  • grounds of inefficiency of the arrangements,
  • failure to comply with Occupational Safety and Health or security arrangements, or
  • any other grounds deemed appropriate by the approved delegate.

Where an arrangement is terminated the employee will be provided with written reasons at the time the notice is given.

PROCEDURES

- Employee to complete Home Based Work application and attach essential documentation.

- Negotiate agreement with Approved Delegate.

- Approved Delegate to consider Home Based Work proposal and approve/decline.

- If declined, employee should be provided feedback as to why proposal was declined.

- If approved, the Approved Delegate to send copy of the Home Based Agreement to HR Services, M350, for processing and placement on employees staff file.

- Approved Delegate to provide a copy of the approved agreement to the employee.

- HR Services to copy application and provide to the Senior Occupation Therapist in Safety and Health.

- If safety and health issues arise with the Home Based Working application, Safety and Health and the Approved Delegate will discuss and follow up with the employee.

- A review of the home based working arrangement is to be undertaken by the supervisor and the employee. The review date is to be determined at the outset and indicated in the Agreement.

Related forms:

Home Based Work Application (the Agreement)

Home Based Work - Work Requirements

Home Based Work - Asset/Equipment List

Home Based Work - Occupational Health and Safety Checklist

TRIM File No:

F7641-02

Contact position:

Employee Relations & Management Services

Related Policies or legislation:

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