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4-13 Telework Policy Manual - Section II: Policy

Human Resources Department

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Approved: Board of Supervisors
Authority: Human Resources
Date: May 3, 2022

Read next: III. Policy Guidelines and Procedures »

II. Policy

Telework is a pre-approved and voluntary work arrangement made between an employee and their department head/designee. Telework schedules are authorized to coincide with in-office hours or an approved work schedule. Teleworking does not modify an employee’s salary, job responsibilities, or benefits. Employees who are authorized to telework remain assigned to their primary worksite. The expectation for the quality, quantity and timeliness of work deliverables and work performance is not modified by telework arrangements.

Employees in positions that meet the defined eligibility criteria may request or resubmit a request for a telework arrangement to their supervisor or immediate manager at any time. The department head/designee retains the sole discretion to authorize telework arrangements and execute Telework Agreements; department heads shall base their discretion on operational and service delivery with the objective that operations and services are not negatively impacted by any telework arrangement. Employee arrangements to telework must be documented in an executed Telework Agreement. A Telework Agreement may be revoked by the department head/designee with a minimum of 7 days’ written notice and at the department head/designee’s sole discretion. Employees who wish to revoke the Telework Agreement will be accommodated as soon as operationally feasible for the department. Regardless of an approved telework arrangement, employees may be required to report to work on short notice during a scheduled telework day to maintain services or operational coverage as needed and as determined by their supervisor/manager. Other non-emergent needs in which an employee may need to temporarily report to work should include as much prior notice as feasible to allow the employee to prepare for the change.

The County assumes no liability for injuries that occur outside of the performance of the employee’s duties and/or outside of the employee’s scheduled telework hours. The County assumes no liability for injuries or loss to third parties (e.g. family members, other non-County employees, etc.) that enter the designated telework workspace.

Nothing in a telework schedule or executed Telework Agreement alleviates employees from their mandated requirement to meet the criteria of California Government Code 3100 and report to a disaster service role in Sonoma County as soon as possible and within a short and reasonable amount of time.
Note: Disability accommodations and the interactive process as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act is outside the scope of this policy.

  1. Position Eligibility Criteria
    The department head/ designee retains the sole discretion to determine the classifications, positions and employees that are authorized to telework based on the operational needs of the department. Criteria to be considered when assessing the appropriateness of a telework arrangement include, but are not limited to the following:
    1. The responsibilities and essential duties of the job classification and particular assignment;
    2. The operational and functional needs of the department, the potential for diminished service levels or disruption to services, including mandated services;
    3. Job duties which may be performed from a location separate from the department worksite without diminishing the quantity or quality of the work performed, considerations may also include diminished work team collaboration;
    4. The employee’s need for job training and development, which may include probationary and onboarding considerations;
    5. Factors of how, when, where, the work is completed pursuant to local, state, or federal guidance, regulations, orders, or statutory requirements;
    6. The ability to use alternatives to face-to-face communication (telephone, voicemail, e-mail, video conferencing, etc.) which mitigate the need for physical presence to perform the duties effectively for the position, and work team if applicable;
    7. Position works under general supervision in the execution and handling of work product, such as writing, reading, telephoning, planning, advising, etc.;
    8. Position is not regularly responsible for customer/client interaction, which entails an in-person storefront, lobby, clinic, service center, etc. environment, or that interaction may be completed without physical presence;
    9. Supervisory responsibilities may be reasonably performed remotely and do not require face-to-face interaction, hands on review or oversight of work, or continuous presence at the department worksite; and
    10. The technology needs of the position must be reasonably feasible to set up in a remote work location and not create increased workload to IT resources to support the remote work.
    11. Other considerations deemed necessary and appropriate by the department.
  2. Employee Eligibility Criteria
    1. Employee must be trained sufficiently and have demonstrated work performance to execute the duties of the job in an independent manner without close supervision, and the employee must be meeting expectations for their position, generally.
    2. Employee’s primary telework location must be in California, and the employee must be able to report to work if needed for necessary operational coverage within a reasonable amount of time, e.g. within two hours.
    3. Employee must be available to be assigned to an onsite location at the employer’s discretion for operational needs, or as needed during an emergency for a disaster service assignment.
    4. The employee must be able to create a functional and ergonomically safe Alternate Worksite with reliable and secure internet access; the employee must complete County provided training on ergonomic safety.
  3. Telework Schedules
    Departments may authorize and implement a Telework Agreement with employees that includes a regular telework schedule or a flexible telework schedule. The Telework Agreement lists the days and/or hours an employee is authorized to telework. Departments are expected to notify employees of approval, request a modification to the telework request, or deny the request within 10 County business days of the receipt.

    If the employee is not satisfied with the supervisor/immediate manager’s decision, the employee may submit a written request to the department head/designee (whomever is indicated by the supervisor/immediate manager) to reconsider that decision.

    Within a reasonable amount of time (for example, ten (10) County business days) after receiving the request for reconsideration, the department head/designee shall either approve the telework request or will articulate the reason, preferably in writing, for the decision if the request is denied. If the denial is for business or operational needs, the employee may request further explanation. The decision of the department head/designee is final.

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