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Remote Working Arrangements Policy

Section 1 - Scope

(1) This policy applies to employee requests to work remotely.  Requests for flexible working arrangements, as provided for under the National Employment Standards, are not covered by this Policy.

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Section 2 - Principles

(2) The University considers it an operational imperative to provide dynamic and people-centred education campuses for its students and employees. 

(3) The University contributes to its communities as employer, business and education provider, and in doing so, impacts multiple community stakeholders. 

(4) On campus interactions and interpersonal relationships strengthen the University's attainment of strategic objectives and are the foundation of a strong and prosperous University community.

(5) The University’s objective is to attract and retain a productive workforce and support employee wellbeing, whilst balancing the need to maintain a strong team-based culture on campus.

(6) Relevant obligations under legislation, the Enterprise Agreement, and employment contracts take primacy over this policy and remote working arrangements.

(7) All employees remain bound by University policies regardless of their working location, including the Code of Conduct, Outside Work Policy, Asset Management Procedures and the workplace health and safety framework.

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Section 3 - Remote Working

(8) All employees will normally be available to attend their campus for work.

(9) The University offers an opportunity for employees to enter into temporary remote working arrangements in recognition that many employees can work effectively from remote locations, but doing so is not a right or expectation.

(10) Employees may request an arrangement to work remotely.

(11) Requests can only be made in full working day blocks.

(12)  Full-time employees may request to work remotely up to two days per week.

(13) Part-time employees may make requests on a pro-rata basis so long as the requests are for full normal working day block/s.

(14) All remote working arrangements are temporary and may be ended by the University at any time with reasonable notice. 

(15) Requests will be approved for a maximum term of six (6) months in the first instance at which point employees must make a formal request to extend or renew the arrangement, to ensure appropriate WHS assessments are undertaken.

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Section 4 - Relevant Considerations

(16) The operational needs of the University will remain the priority to ensure optimal services can be delivered at all times.

(17) A student and/or service focus must be adopted at all times. Consideration must be provided to learning and teaching activities on campus, predictable work patterns (including face-to-face consultation hours), attendance at University-led events on campus as well as strategic initiatives at the University.

(18) Some roles are generally not suitable for working remotely and must be performed on campus. These roles normally:

  1. require labour that cannot be performed remotely;
  2. require labour that can be performed remotely but stakeholder experience is significantly superior when performed face-to-face;
  3. require face-to-face interaction with colleagues, clients and students;
  4. require close supervision of other employees; and/or
  5. cannot be performed effectively without accessing information, facilities and/or systems only accessible onsite.

(19) Employees in a leadership or supervisory role will need to consider and balance their personal flexibility with leading and supporting their team and attending key meetings/events.

(20) Both the University and employees continue to have workplace health and safety obligations in remote locations.

(21) Working remotely can impact employee wellbeing and employees are encouraged to access existing wellbeing services provided by the University.

(22) Supervisors must consider whether any changes to working arrangements will impact on the handling of personal or confidential information, assess any potential confidentiality or privacy risks, and put in place appropriate mitigation strategies.

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Section 5 -  Making a Request

(23) To request a remote working arrangement, employees must provide a completed Remote Working Request and the Remote Working Health and Safety Assessment to their supervisor.

(24) Supervisors may require employees to provide further information or clarify details relating to their request.

(25) For workplace health and safety reasons, requests can only be made for one approved remote location which will be subject to employee-led health and safety risk management.

(26) Employees formally notified of performance management concerns or subject to a performance improvement plan who make a request under this policy will not normally have requests to work remotely approved.

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Section 6 - Supervisors Considering a Remote Working Request

(27) Supervisors must assess all remote working requests against the Principles and Relevant Considerations in this policy.

(28) All applications are assessed on a case by case basis, considering the operational requirements. Permission for one person in a team to work remotely does not set a precedent for approval for other staff, although supervisors must consider requests reasonably.

(29) Supervisors should provide a written response to a request which gives reasons for the decision taken.

(30) Supervisors may do any of the following at their discretion on reasonable grounds:

  1. grant the request;
  2. grant a request partially;
  3. propose an alternative arrangement to the employee;
  4. place conditions on a request; and
  5. deny a request.

(31) Where a request is denied or conditions have been proposed that are not satisfactory to the employee, employees may follow up the matter with their Head of Work Unit.

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Section 7 -  General Limitations on Remote Working Arrangements

(32) There will be occasions where an employee’s attendance is required onsite on a day they would normally work remotely. It is expected they will work onsite upon reasonable notice of such circumstances.

(33) Employees are responsible for ensuring that appropriate child care or dependant care arrangements are in place whilst working remotely. Remote working arrangements are not a substitute for child care or other dependant care.

(34) Where an employee has an agreement for a remote working arrangement and they are formally notified of concerns regarding their performance, the remote working arrangement will cease upon reasonable notice.

(35) Remote working arrangements will not normally be approved during return to work programs following injury or illness.

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Section 8 - While a Remote Working Arrangement is in Place

(36) When working remotely, employees are required to perform and participate at the same standard as onsite employees.

(37) Employees are responsible for achieving the required work outputs and effectively managing their time. Working remotely is a privilege and subject to continually meeting the University’s performance expectations.

(38) Employees are expected to work and be available at all times during their agreed ordinary hours.  Employees must not unilaterally alter these arrangements without approval from their supervisor. 

(39) Hours of work must be agreed and adhered to for performance, workplace health and safety and insurance purposes.

(40) Employees will ensure they maintain regular contact with their supervisor and team members while working remotely.

(41) Supervisors are responsible for managing the team while working remotely. This may include:

  1. ensuring employees working remotely are included in onsite activities by other means (e.g. zoom links);
  2. maintaining regular contact with each team member; and
  3. setting and documenting performance expectations with each team member;
  4. ensuring employees are meeting the terms of the agreed arrangement such as place of work and working hours.

(42) Employees will be required to meet all relevant expectations relating to privacy and security of information.

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Section 9 - Equipment and Utilities

(43) Employees must ensure they have appropriate equipment and utilities to accommodate their request to safely work remotely.

(44) The University will not be responsible for any incurred expenses.

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Section 10 - Workplace Safety

(45) The University and employees each have responsibilities under relevant workplace health and safety legislation that apply to remote working arrangements.

(46) Approval to work remotely will require employees to regularly complete the (online) Remote Working Safely training program.

(47) Generally, employees are responsible for covering any costs to ensure the home or remote work location is safe.

(48) Where a remote working location changes, employees must advise the University as soon as possible by notifying their supervisor and making a new request for a remote working arrangement.

(49) Employees will be responsible for undertaking risk assessments and consulting with their supervisor and/or the WHS team to manage and control any hazards. 

(50) The employee must notify their supervisor immediately of any work-related hazard, incident, injury, illness or disease which occurs as a result of working from home by completing an incident/hazard report on Riskware.

(51) Any failure to abide by these requirements and other safety protocols will be considered a serious breach of workplace policy.

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Section 11 - Records and Confidentiality

(52) Employees working from a remote location must comply with the privacy and confidentiality obligations set out in relevant legislation and University policy.

(53) Employees must take all reasonable steps to protect any personal or confidential University related information they access or collect.  This includes protecting such information from loss or unauthorised access.