Temporary Telecommuting Provision in Response to COVID-19

Policy Name: Temporary Telecommuting Provision in Response to COVID-19
Vice President:
Barbara Fabé Adopted: March 13, 2020
Responsible Office or Department: Human Resources Reviewed: N/A
Contact: humanresources@manhattan.edu Revised: N/A

Policy Statement

In response to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, Manhattan College, would like to support employees in caring for their health and reducing risk of exposure to others. This Policy establishes guidelines for temporary Telecommuting Provisions (“Telecommuting Provision(s)” or “Telecommuting” or “Provisions”) for covered employees of Manhattan College (the “College”), effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through Sunday, March 29, 2020. As detailed below, the ability to telecommute is a privilege and not a right or entitlement, and is discretionary and subject to the College’s operational needs. Accordingly, Manhattan College may alter this schedule or end the Telecommuting Provision at any time at its discretion.  There is no appeals process when a Telecommuting Provision has been denied or rescinded.

This Provision does not require any school, department, or unit to offer Telecommuting Provisions. However, if a school, department, or unit decides to offer Telecommuting Provisions, it must adhere to this Policy and notify covered employees that they can apply for Telecommuting Provisions pursuant to this Policy. If an employee already has an existing telecommuting provision in place, this temporary Telecommuting Provision should be used instead of modifying an existing provision because this Provision provides the flexibility needed to adjust to any changing circumstances related to COVID-19. Telecommuting approved on an irregular basis is not a Telecommuting Provision as defined under this Policy (see below), and therefore does not trigger the aforementioned requirements. The Temporary Telecommuting Provision Request Form must be approved and signed by the employee’s supervisor, together with the designated Dean or Vice President. Each Dean or Vice President must consult with, and receive approval from, Human Resources (HR) for a Telecommuting plan for their division.

The telecommuting employee's compensation, benefits, work status, work responsibilities, and all other conditions of employment with the College remain unchanged.

Who Should Read the Policy

Except as provided below, this Policy applies to full-time Administrators and Staff in good standing, who have completed their probationary term at the College, and whose job duties and responsibilities are suitable for Telecommuting Provisions (hereinafter, “covered employees”). *Requests for exceptions to the probationary status requirement must be made to, and approved by, the VP, Human Resources. Requests will only be granted under exceptional circumstances.
  • This Policy does not apply to employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”). Such employees should refer to the applicable CBA.
  • Faculty are not covered under this Policy, and should consult with the appropriate chairperson or dean and/or refer to the Faculty Handbook for any applicable policies. 

This Policy does not apply to requests for, or management of, workplace accommodation(s) under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or under any other applicable federal, state, or local law or regulation. Employees seeking such workplace accommodation(s) should contact Human Resources at 718-862-7392. 

Links and Resources

Terms and Definitions

Telecommuting refers to arrangement where an employee works from home or another location away from the usual workplace, one or more full days per week on a regular basis. This definition does not include telecommuting approved on a one-off or otherwise irregular basis, or any other provisions excluded under this Policy. While Telecommuting, covered employees duties, obligations, responsibilities, and conditions of employment with the College remain unchanged and therefore are expected to work the same general hours as they were originally hired to work, and to perform their responsibilities as they otherwise would at a College work site. 

The definition of telecommuting  does not include any work done while on official travel or work that is approved on a case-by-case basis, where the hours worked remotely were not part of a previously approved, ongoing and regular telework schedule (i.e. for inclement weather, doctor appointment, or special work assignments).

Note that having successfully engaged in temporary telecommuting pursuant to this policy, or a prior policy does not require management to agree to any future remote work.

The Telecommuting Provisions Request Form details the terms and conditions of the covered employee’s Telecommuting Provisions.

The Policy

The covered employee’s supervisor, together with the Dean or Vice President, have the authority to approve a Telecommuting Provisions. As set forth below, circumstances may exist where the expectations or responsibilities of the role are not suitable for Telecommuting.

Circumstances may change causing the Telecommuting Provisions to change or be discontinued. It shall be the responsibility of the covered employee’s supervisor to consider, assess, and evaluate the implications of the request for and management of Telecommuting. Nothing in this Policy is intended to alter a covered employee’s responsibilities, which are determined by the covered employee’s supervisor. While Telecommuting, covered employees must continue to comply with all applicable College policies and conduct rules, and are expected to perform their responsibilities as they otherwise would under a standard working arrangement.

How to Request Telecommuting Provisions

To make a request for a Telecommuting Provisions, the covered employee and their supervisor shall complete the Telecommuting Provisions Request Form and submit it to their Dean, Department Head, or VP.  The supervisor, together with the Dean, Department Head, or VP, will make a determination, in accordance with the guidelines set forth herein, and respond to the covered employee accordingly. Approved request forms are to be filed with HR, and the details of the Telecommuting Provisions should be communicated to appropriate colleagues. 

Guidelines for Approval of Telecommuting Provisions

The success of Telecommuting can depend on several factors, such as current job performance and attendance, the ability to work independently, the nature of the work to be performed, consideration of the impact such provisions will have on others, and strong communication skills. Telecommuting is not a right of employment. This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed continuously during the period in which Manhattan College is working to minimize the spread of COVID-19. It is established at the discretion of the employee’s supervisor and the designated Dean or VP, and may be subject to change at such discretion.

When requesting a temporary Telecommuting Provision, a covered employee should consider their own needs together with those of the department or unit. Any employee who requests a temporary Telecommuting Provision should ensure that their work can be performed in a manner consistent with standards that would be true if they were reporting to an assigned work location. When considering a covered employee’s request for a Telecommuting Provisions, supervisors should assess the impact of such a provision on the department or unit and, in making such a determination, consider the following as applicable (which is not an exhaustive list of factors to be considered):

Does the covered employee meet the minimum requirements?
  • The covered employee is a full-time Administrator or Staff
  • The covered employee is in good standing in their current position

Will the covered employee be able to meet the minimum requirements of their position?

  • Productivity and progress metrics are still measurable under the proposed provisions
  • Quality of service to internal and external constituencies can be sustained

Will the covered employee be able to do the following: 

  • remain accessible during the remote work schedule;
  • check in with the supervisor to discuss status and open issues;
  • be available for video/teleconferences, scheduled on an as-needed basis;
  • be available to physically attend scheduled work meetings as requested or required by the Department;
  • take rest and meal breaks while working remotely in full compliance with all applicable policies or collective bargaining agreements; and
  • request supervisor approval to use vacation, sick, or other leave in the same manner as when working at Employee’s regular work location.

Questions about the covered employee and their ability to perform the job under a Telecommuting Provisions

  • Will the covered employee have the technology, equipment and secure system access to perform all responsibilities and to maintain the effectiveness of communications?
  • Will the covered employee’s job satisfaction and morale be sustained or improved?

Questions about scheduling, as applicable

  • Will there be adequate team coverage in the workplace, especially during peak service or demand times?
  • Has the supervisor taken into account intermittent job demands that may make it necessary for specific workers to be in the workplace at certain times, for certain tasks, meetings, events, or projects?


Vicki Cowan

Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer 

Memorial 305