Hybrid and Remote Work Policy
RISD is a place-based institution that provides students a transformative residential educational experience. With this as our guiding philosophy, we anticipate that most employees will perform in-person, on-campus work. This will ensure the highest level of service to and engagement with students, faculty and each other. However, RISD also supports flexibility depending on the nature and requirements of an employee’s work.
This policy may be amended or terminated by RISD consistent with the terms outlined in this policy. This policy does not alter the at-will nature of employment or the other terms and conditions of employment with RISD, or, if applicable, relinquish or modify Management Rights pursuant to a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Cabinet leaders determine and communicate the onsite expectations for each business unit. A staff member interested in requesting a hybrid or remote work arrangement should speak with their manager. Approvals depend on a variety of factors, some of which are specific to the type of arrangement a staff member is interested in pursuing.
RISD’s policy on hybrid and remote work arrangements is intended to provide a consistent framework for these work arrangements as well as to support both employees and managers in the process to request and successfully navigate hybrid and remote work arrangements.
The policy is intended to comply with federal, state and local laws. To the extent there is a legal requirement that goes beyond the terms specified in this policy, RISD will comply with such legal requirements.
On-Campus Work -- a position with duties and responsibilities that primarily require staff to physically work at an office or a location on RISD’s campus and/or RISD owned/leased/managed buildings and properties.
Hybrid Work -- Hybrid work is an arrangement where work is performed on campus with flexibility to work remotely a set number of days per week at an agreed upon location in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, or Vermont. Staff members performing hybrid work must live within a commuting distance of RISD’s campus as there may be days when staff may be required to come onto campus to support coverage needs. Should a scheduling change need arise, RISD will provide as much notice as possible about the change. Staff members with approved hybrid work arrangements must work from an onsite location at least two days per week.
Remote Work -- Remote work is an arrangement where work is performed off-site at an agreed upon location on a temporary, regular, or semi-regular basis. At the present time, staff members may be approved for remote work in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. With limited exceptions, remote work may be approved outside these states. While RISD supports remote work arrangements, in general, remote work arrangements are an exception offered under this policy.
On occasion, some work may require an on-campus presence to handle work-related matters, including but not limited to, business continuity, emergency, or required in-person collaboration with other team members.
RISD Approved Home Work Area -- RISD and individual staff members must agree on the location of hybrid or remote work. Staff members must obtain approval to change the remote work location and provide written notice of such changes to Human Resources and the staff member’s direct supervisor prior to a change in work location.
This policy applies to all regular and term appointed staff and any faculty and staff who approve hybrid or remote work arrangements in a management capacity. Temporary or short-term employees who have hybrid or remote work needs may be subject to different terms of employment.
Considerations for Hybrid or Remote Work
When assessing whether to grant a request, the college will take the following into account:
- RISD’s guiding philosophy and division plans related to hybrid / remote work
- the operational needs and services provided by the department including the impact hybrid or remote arrangements will have on quality and consistency of service to students, campus partners and other constituencies
- the core responsibilities of each employee, the nature of each position and its suitability for hybrid/remote work
Remote Work Approval Requirement(s)
Remote work arrangements in the identified states will be permitted, in accordance with approval requirements, if such an arrangement is consistent with operational, departmental, and service needs, and supports the expectations for the role. Should approval for remote work in a state other than those identified below be requested, in addition to the factors identified, understanding of and ability to adhere to compliance issues and an inability to fill the role from a designated state must be shown. Any remote work arrangement involving work that will be fully performed at an off-site location must be approved as indicated below.:
Remote work requests are based on:
- the strategic needs of the college, or department;
- staff recruitment or retention needs;
- tax, legal, and compliance considerations
Remote work requests taking place in the designated states (RI, MA, CT, NH, VT, ME, NY) will be reviewed by:
- Cabinet member representing the requesting department
- Human Resources
Remote work requests in non-designated states are an exception and require the following approvals:
- Position Review Committee
- Human Resources
All remote work arrangements and/or exceptions to this policy must be requested and granted or denied in writing.
Expectations for Hybrid or Remote Work
Hybrid or remote work arrangements must be consistent with operational, departmental, and service needs, and must support the expectations for the role. Staff member work status (for example, full-time, part-time, exempt, non-exempt), job duties and job description will remain consistent with RISD’s on-site staff members in the same classification.
Staff members remain obligated to comply with all RISD’s rules, policies, practices, performance expectations and procedures. Work hours, compensation, benefits, use of sick leave, and approval for use of paid time off will conform to RISD’s policies and procedures.
The staff member must be available during assigned work hours for communication by phone, email, video conference and any other communication in use by the department. Staff members need to be available for and participate in such calls as requested. Staff members are expected to be responsive and answer telephone calls and emails during core hours within the time period agreed upon between the staff member and supervisor at the start of the arrangement.
Continuation of a hybrid or remote arrangement is also contingent on the staff member successfully performing their responsibilities under the agreed upon arrangement. RISD reserves the right to end or modify the hybrid or remote work arrangement at any time and for any reason, but will give the staff member written notice of at least 10 business days, unless unforeseen circumstances make that impossible.
Hybrid or remote work arrangements are not a substitute for dependent care arrangements, and a participating staff member will not be the primary care provider for any dependent during work hours. Although an individual staff member’s schedule may be modified to accommodate dependent care needs, the focus of the arrangement must remain on job performance and meeting work expectations. During the hours of work, dependent care obligations should not interfere with work obligations and any safety obligations that are contained in this policy.
Equipment Requirements and Expense Reimbursement
Staff members are responsible for establishing and furnishing a RISD-approved remote work area, and RISD does not assume the financial or legal responsibility for these costs incurred as a result of a hybrid or remote work arrangement, unless otherwise required by applicable state or local law.
RISD will provide each staff member with equipment needed to support a hybrid or remote work arrangement as follows:
- Participating staff will have RISD owned laptops managed through the RISD computer replacement program. RISD will not provide duplicate equipment to furnish both a home and RISD office.
- Staff are expected, at their own cost, to have access to an internet connection that is reliable and of adequate bandwidth to connect to the RISD network and participate in virtual meetings using RISD-owned laptops.
- RISD will provide phone access via Zoom to be used on a personal handheld device or through their RISD laptop.
- RISD will not normally fund home print devices, paper or ink/toner. Staff will be able to print documents on campus.
- In certain cases, peripheral equipment may be required such as microphones/headsets, monitors, keyboards, etc. ITS should be contacted before peripheral equipment is acquired. If a purchase is deemed necessary, departments can fund on a case-by-case basis upon approval of their divisional Vice President.
Managers must pre-approve all additional equipment and costs. Staff members are responsible for all costs associated with establishing and maintaining the work area including the purchase of any additional equipment beyond what RISD may at its option provide, all of which must be compliant with established office safety guidelines.
RISD records and materials will be returned within seven days of termination of the hybrid or remote work arrangement. All RISD equipment will be returned for inspection, repair, replacement or repossession within seven days of termination of the hybrid or remote work arrangement. All equipment, records and materials provided by RISD remain the property of the college and must be used for legitimate RISD purposes.
Staff with hybrid or remote work arrangements traveling on business may or may not be compensated for travel time based on the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other applicable laws. Staff with a hybrid work arrangement will not be reimbursed for commute or travel-related costs to or from their designated RISD onsite location and are not entitled to reimbursement for travel-related expenses to attend work meetings, unless otherwise required by law. Staff with remote work arrangements may be entitled, in limited circumstances, to reimbursement for travel-related expenses to attend work meetings.
Technology and Security Requirements
Staff members must implement all generally accepted computing security measures, including ensuring that RISD‐provided anti‐virus and anti‐spyware subscriptions are kept current, and promptly notifying ITS or supervisor of any warning messages stating that they are not current. Any wireless connection must be encrypted using a wireless encryption protocol (WEP or WPA) or the RISD VPN. Staff members will notify ITS or the supervisor immediately if symptoms of a virus or spyware infection occur. Personal computers may not be used for RISD related work or business.
Staff members also agree to maintain the confidentiality of materials they access as part of their employment and to abide by RISD’s policies for staff members, including those covering information, security, software, software licensing and data privacy as well as the requirements of applicable state and federal government statutes.
Remote access to the RISD network is only permitted through the use of RISD’s VPN and a RISD-provided computer.
Staff members also must download the minimum amount of authorized RISD data or information onto only RISD-provided computers in order to perform assigned tasks. Participating staff agree that RISD data will not be stored on the local disk drive of their computer without an exact, up-to-date copy of the data on the RISD network or RISD-approved cloud service account. RISD work and data should be stored on a RISD network server and accessed through the RISD VPN, or stored on RISD-approved cloud services including Google Drive, Dropbox or Workday Drive and ensuring sensitive data is encrypted in transit and at rest. Staff will promptly notify ITS and their supervisor if a computer containing sensitive RISD information is stolen or lost. Staff members agree to adhere to all ITS policies.
Staff members must maintain safe conditions in the remote or hybrid workspace and practice no less than the same safety habits and rules as those applying on campus. The staff member is responsible for regularly checking their workspace to ensure it complies with all safety requirements and is liable for any injuries sustained by visitors at their workspace. RISD assumes no responsibility for injuries occurring in the staff member’s remote workspace outside normal working hours or for injuries that occur because of a reasonably recognizable unsafe remote workspace. Workers’ compensation benefits are the sole remedy for job-related injuries to staff members that occur in the staff member’s remote workspace during working hours. All job-related accidents must be reported immediately (and no later than 24 hours) to the staff member’s supervisor for investigation. Staff members who work remotely should do so from a workspace that reasonably does not endanger the staff member or others.
Important Information for Non-Exempt Staff Members
Non-exempt staff members are responsible for keeping accurate records of their scheduled workday and actual hours worked. Staff members will be required to log into their computer at the beginning of each workday and log out at the end of each workday. All overtime worked must be authorized in advance by the staff member’s supervisor. Staff members must accurately record their actual time worked including meal and any applicable break periods. Falsifying or tampering with the recording of time may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. Staff members may also not work any hours outside of their normal work schedule without prior authorization from their supervisor.
Staff members working in a hybrid or remote capacity may experience personal tax consequences. Staff members working in these positions are responsible for all tax obligations that may result from hybrid or remote work arrangements outside of the State of Rhode Island. It is the staff member’s responsibility to determine any income tax implications of maintaining a home office area. RISD will not provide tax guidance nor will RISD assume any additional tax liabilities. Staff members are encouraged to consult with a qualified tax professional to discuss income tax implications.
Important Information for Staff Members Working on Non-Immigrant Visas
Working remotely or on a hybrid basis is a material change in the terms and conditions of employment that may affect a staff member’s visa and immigration status including green card sponsorship applications. Any person working on a non-immigrant visa must consult with Human Resources to determine whether hybrid or remote work is an option and if so, what actions must be taken prior to making such a change to continue non-immigrant status. In addition, RISD will determine how such a change might affect a staff member’s green card sponsorship.
Hybrid or Remote Arrangement Agreement
All staff members working under this Policy must complete a Hybrid or Remote Work Agreement. Hybrid and remote work arrangements are subject to periodic review and annual approval by the staff member’s manager and in accordance with division guidelines.
All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy, as well as the responsibilities outlined on the RISD HR website. Individuals will have to attest to complying with all of RISD’s rules, policies and practices and instructions at the time of submitting their Hybrid or Remote Work Request in Workday. RISD managers and supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to comply with it.
Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment, in accordance with applicable disciplinary procedures.
Violations of this policy may include the revocation of the hybrid or remote work arrangement or disciplinary action to a staff member or manager performing or allowing work to be performed outside of an approved work location, without an approved hybrid or remote work agreement or otherwise in conflict with this policy.
Final Review of Denied Request for Hybrid or Remote Work Arrangement
If a staff member disagrees with a denial of a request for a hybrid or remote work arrangement, or any other action related to this policy, they are encouraged to first discuss the concern with their manager. If the discussion with the manager does not resolve the issue, the staff member may request an informal review of a denied decision by the Human Resources Director of Employment. If the staff member believes that RISD’s decision is not in compliance with this policy and its related processes, and/or is in violation of the law, the staff member may request a final review by the Vice President of Human Resources.
This policy was approved as of: 9/14/22
Next scheduled review: 9/14/23
Vice President for Human Resources
Individuals/offices required for review and changes
Director of Employment
Office of the General Counsel