Existing telework agreements set to expire; new agreements required for 2021

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President reminds all Mississippi State University employees that Telework Agreements implemented in 2020 will expire at the end of this year. If any employee in your department plans to continue to telework, a new 2021 Telework Agreement must be completed by the employee and approved by you.

Before approving the 2021 Telework Agreement, you should evaluate both the job duties and the ability of the employee to ensure that the essential functions of the job can be effectively performed by the employee from a remote location.

Most employees are no longer working remotely and have returned to their physical work locations. If an employee is not performing the same quality of work from a remote location as the employee could perform in the office, a 2021 Telework Agreement should not be approved.

Important considerations include:

-- The 2021 Telework Agreement has been streamlined to make it easier for employees and Department Heads to complete.

-- The 2021 Telework Agreement requires signatures by both the employee and the Department Head/Director. These do not have to be approved by HRM. HRM is simply maintaining these in employee files.

-- The purpose of the Telework Agreement is to ensure that the employee and Department Head/Director both agree that the essential functions of the employee’s job can and will be performed from a remote location.

-- Department Heads are responsible for making the decisions regarding who can/cannot telework effectively and for monitoring employees who are teleworking to ensure that they are working effectively.

-- Department Heads must review the performance of each employee who is teleworking at least monthly to ensure that employees are completing their assigned tasks.

-- Telework Agreements are not to be used as a substitute for childcare or other personal life situations.

-- Telework Agreements are not a substitute for medical accommodation requests. If an employee is approved for a medical accommodation, telework may be an option.

-- Some employees and jobs are better suited for remote work than others. For example, data processing jobs may successfully be performed from a remote location while jobs such as office associates are not. It is your responsibility to make this determination.

-- Failure to work as scheduled is considered misuse of state funds. Employees and supervisors are subject to audit regarding time worked, and any employee who is not working as expected and any supervisors not holding employees accountable for performing their job functions will be subject to disciplinary action.

The 2021 Telework Agreement is available online at www.hrm.msstate.edu/forms/downloadfile.php?id=2064.

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