University Policies

Approval Date: June 28, 2022
Approved By: President

Remote Work Policy

Western Illinois University Remote Work Guidelines for Administrative Professional and Civil Service Appointments


Remote work is designed to support a strategy that maximizes productivity and performance (regardless of the work location), sustains the recruitment and retention of a highly qualified workforce by enhancing work/life balance and promotes administrative efficiencies. Western Illinois University supports the use of remote work arrangements within the bounds of good public practice and business operations. It should be incorporated into the continuity of operations and is designed for employees who fill job classifications/positions that have been determined to be eligible for such an arrangement. Remote work is not an option for all university positions.

Any remote work request is guided by this policy and is meant to work in accordance with other relevant policies and laws and is executed on a case-by-case basis between the employee and the supervisor with consultation from Human Resources and subsequent appropriate approvals.

Note: In certain instances, temporary schedule adjustments may occur because of family/medical leave concerns, emergency situations, etc. Those temporary adjustments and/or changes to schedules and agreements are not covered by this policy and should be documented in accordance with appropriate University policies and procedures.

Requests for remote work based upon a Request for Reasonable Accommodation must be first made to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA). That process must first be completed before any remote work request can be drafted.


There are three categories of remote work arrangements:

Regular, recurring remote work arrangements may be either 100% remote or partially remote (hybrid, such as one or two days per week and/or part of each workday). Such arrangements require the employee and their supervisor to complete the Remote Work Agreement.

Periodic, intermittent remote work arrangements are permitted under this policy. Such arrangements require documentation but do not require the completion of the Remote Work Agreement. Documentation of these arrangements may be prospective or retrospective in the form of an email or other notation which indicates supervisor approval. Generally speaking periodic, intermittent remote work arrangements are for less than one month in duration.

Temporary or emergency remote work arrangements may be used during short-term illness, transportation emergency due to weather, natural disaster, or pandemic health crises. Supervisor approval—or directive from University administration is required. Such arrangements require documentation but do not require the completion of the Remote Work Agreement.


These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy:

  • Primary Workplace: The employee's usual and customary workplace, typically associated with a University address.
  • Alternate Workplace: A work site other than the employee's primary workplace. This is ordinarily the employee's primary residence.
  • Workspace: A location within the alternate workplace that is dedicated to the purpose of remote work, and not a place at which meetings would be conducted in-person.
  • Remote Work: An authorized work arrangement, authorized in accordance with this policy, that involves an employee regularly, periodically, or temporarily working from an alternate work location other than a campus or facility work location by use of an electronic connection between the alternate work location and the employee’s main office at a campus or facility work location.
  • Supervisor: The supervisor position for which remote work is assigned. Typically, this will be a supervisor who has the responsibility to direct the employee on a regular basis (including daily if necessary) and monitor overall performance and success of this employee.
  • Remote Work Request: The signed document, not greater than 12-months in duration, that outlines the understanding between the school/department and the employee regarding the remote work arrangement including the days and times for remote work. The document outlines the mandatory policies in effect and must be signed by all parties prior to the start of any remote work. A supervisor may elect, or the employee may request, to revise or rescind the terms of the request whenever a need arises. In addition, the terms of the remote work request should be reviewed and revised, if necessary, when there is a change in supervisor, job responsibilities, or change in work circumstances or performance. The employee must acknowledge by signature that they have read and agree to the terms of the policies and items listed in the request. Any employee who works remotely must have an approved Remote Work Request on file with Human Resources.

Eligibility includes exempt/non-exempt administrative professional or civil service staff, in an eligible position, who have been identified by the employee's supervisor as satisfactorily meeting performance standards, terms, and conditions of employment of their position. It is important to note that just because an employee is eligible for remote work, it does not mean that the employee will automatically be granted approval. Approval is granted only after the employee’s supervisor, the department head, the Vice President/Provost, and the Chief Human Resource Officer have signed the paperwork granting approval. At a minimum, eligible employees must have:

  • No active formal disciplinary actions on file for the current or immediately preceding review period.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop regular routines and meet deadlines.
  • Demonstrated ability to adapt to changing routines and environments and understand the need to adjust and attend work in-person when necessary.

Eligible positions are those that can be performed independently of others, where responsibilities can be arranged so that there is no difference in the level of service or access provided. The eligibility of a position for remote work may change depending on circumstances. Things that are generally true about these positions include:

  • Minimal requirements for direct supervision of other employees.
  • Minimal direct contact with students, faculty, staff, or visitors.
  • Minimal requirements for special equipment or access to on-campus resources.
  • Ability to define tasks with measurable work activities and objectives.

*Eligible employees do not include student employees, extra help employees, interns or, except under extraordinary circumstances, probationary employees.


Remote work on a scheduled and on-going basis may not be suitable for all employees and/or positions but may be implemented as a work option for eligible employees based on specific criteria and procedures consistently applied throughout the department. A supervisor cannot require an employee to work remotely unless doing so is a necessary component of the position or is mandated in an emergency by the University.

Supervisors shall be responsible for the following:

  • Establishing expectations for and monitoring of employee performance.
  • Identifying eligible positions suitable for remote work.
  • Identifying eligible employees.
  • Determining if equipment will be provided to the employee to use at home.
  • Establishing how the employee will maintain regular contact with office coworkers and supervisors.
  • Determining how the department will handle restricted access materials, security issues, and taking electronic or paper records from the primary workplace.
  • Ensuring that practices are consistent and compliant with institutional policy and state and federal law regarding the use and security of technology.
  • Delivering training to employees.
  • Ensuring that individual work schedules and reporting for non-exempt employees comply with FLSA regulations.
  • Ensuring that each employee's request to work remotely is considered in relation to the department's operating and customer needs. 
  • Ensuring that benefit time (vacation/sick/compensatory) will be requested and reported consistent with already established departmental practice.
  • Ensuring a Supervisory Feasibility form and Remote Work Request are completed and approved prior to the start of any remote work.

The conditions of employment remain the same as if the employee was working from their primary workplace. Employee salary, benefits, and employer-sponsored insurance coverage will not change as a result of remote working. The employee shall adhere to all policies, rules, and regulations of the University and the State of Illinois while working from a remote location. The employee agrees not to conduct personal business during the hours agreed upon in the Remote Work Request.

A remote work arrangement does not alter an employee’s work relationship with the University, nor does it relieve an employee from the obligation to observe all applicable University rules, policies, and procedures. All existing terms and conditions of employment (including but not limited to the position description, salary, benefits, vacation, sick leave and overtime) remain the same as if the employee worked only at their campus or facility work location. The alternate workspace for any employee or position being considered for remote work must be located within the United States in order to comply with all Federal, State, and local payroll withholding taxes and wage requirements. Out-of-state remote work is complex due to employment laws, taxation rules, data privacy and cybersecurity risks, and other compliance requirements in other states. Approval of an alternate work location outside of the state of Illinois will need to be approved by Human Resources and Payroll prior to the start of any employment agreement or remote work arrangement.

The employee's duties, obligations, responsibilities, and performance expectations remain the same under a Remote Work Agreement as if the employee were working at a campus or facility work location. The employee shall communicate with their supervisor to receive assignments, review work progress, and complete work as often as the supervisor determines to be necessary.

Meetings with students, co-workers, or others conducting business with the University shall not be held in person in a remote employee’s home.

Employees may be required to report to the employee’s primary workplace to conduct business (i.e., meetings, visits, professional development, etc.) with short notice.

While working remotely, the employee must be reachable and responsive via telephone, network access, or e-mail during agreed-upon work hours. The employee and supervisor will agree on how to handle work-related telephone messages, including the feasibility of having access to a cell phone.

Approval is granted only after the employee’s supervisor, the department head, the Vice President/Provost, and the Chief Human Resource Officer have signed the paperwork granting approval. If approval of a remote work agreement is granted, the supervisor will inform the employee and initiate steps to establish an agreement. If approval is declined, the supervisor will inform the employee of the business reasons for not proceeding with the establishment of a remote work arrangement.

Remote work is a privilege and not a right. The University may, in its discretion, discontinue a Remote Work Agreement at any time with advance notice of at least 10 working days, or as otherwise agreed upon in the Remote Work Agreement. Employees who refuse to return to their campus or facility work location may be subject to discipline and/or dismissal under applicable University policies.


As a condition of an approved Remote Work Request, the employee must verify the remote workspace is safe and suitable for purposes of the employee's work. The department may deny an employee the opportunity to work remotely if the alternate workspace if not conducive to productive work.

An employee approved to work remotely shall be responsible for setting up an appropriate work environment within the alternate workplace. The institution will not be responsible for any cost associated with the setup of the workspace. An employee will be required to confirm that they have met the reasonable standards to include health and safety requirements (including an ergonomically sound workstation) and promise to maintain it in working condition for the duration of the remote work agreement.

An employee's alternate workspace must be specified in the Remote Work Agreement.

Non work-related events and activities shall not disrupt or interfere with work at the alternate workspace.

A remote work agreement is not a substitute for childcare, dependent or elder care. The employee shall continue to arrange for child, dependent or elder care to the same extent as if the employee was working at the primary workplace.


Each employee who works remotely is required to maintain the same hours of work as would be performed were the employee working on campus. If the employee needs a modification to the established schedule, including time off, normal procedures to make the request should be followed. Requests for vacation or sick leave must be made consistent with established department policies and procedures. An employee’s activities outside the time of work or outside the place designated for work will be deemed to be in the employee’s own personal time and place, unconnected with work activities.

A non-exempt employee (as outlined by Fair Labor Standards Act) shall not work overtime without prior supervisory approval. If the employee works overtime that has been approved in advance, compensation or compensatory time off will be provided in accordance with eligibility guidelines and applicable laws and policies. The employee understands that failure to obtain prior approval for overtime work may result in discontinuance of working remotely and other appropriate disciplinary action.

A consistent schedule of remote work hours and days is desirable to ensure regular and predictable contact with University staff and others. For some positions, more flexibility in work hours and days is feasible. A specific work schedule will be stated in the Remote Work Agreement. Exceptions will be made when an employee's presence is required for a function or activity that cannot reasonably be re-scheduled.


Equipment and supplies can be made available by the University on a case-by-case basis depending on the work to be done and the availability within the department, college, or division. Equipment removed from University premises must be recorded and approved in accordance with the procedures defined by the University.

Copies of University records may be taken to the alternative workplace, if necessary, for the completion of duties, with the official record remaining on campus. University supplies or copies of records removed from the University should also be recorded for control purposes. Copies of all records, papers, and correspondence must be safeguarded by the employee to protect them from unauthorized disclosure, loss, or damage, and for their return to the appropriate University location.

Care of the University owned equipment, supplies, and records is the responsibility of the employee.

Release or destruction of any records is only done at the University location according to statute and regulation.

The employee agrees to return such items to their appropriate campus location when no longer needed for the remote work assignment, or when otherwise requested by the appropriate official.

Equipment owned or provided by the employee is used at no cost or risk to the University and is maintained by the employee. Exceptions to this should be prearranged, documented, and approved by the supervisor and the appropriate vice president.

All equipment used under a remote work agreement, independent of location or ownership, that stores, processes or accesses University records or data hosted at any location, must comply with the all relevant policies. The employee is responsible for operating costs, home maintenance, or any other incidental cost (e.g., utilities) associated with the use of an alternative workplace including if the alternative workplace is their residence.

The employee is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and security at the alternate workplace, as the employee would at the primary workplace. The employee must protect the security and integrity of data, information, paper files, and access to agency computer systems. All institutional policies on Information Technology and Internet and technology use apply to remote working, as they would in the primary workplace.

The University will not be responsible for operating costs associated with the employee’s alternate workspace, including but not limited to home maintenance, digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, cell phone bills, Internet, utilities, any associated incidental costs (such as property or liability insurance), or other incidental expenses (utilities, cleaning services, etc.).

The University will not be responsible for the installation of basic telephone service, internet access, or cable in employee’s alternate workspace unless otherwise covered in the Remote Work Agreement.


If University equipment is lost, stolen, or damaged, the employee agrees to participate in any investigation. The employee also agrees that they may be financially responsible for the loss (including signing appropriate paperwork for collecting on the loss), and also agrees that, if applicable, to include the loss of University equipment in their homeowner’s/renter’s insurance claim. Any applicable payment from the employee’s insurance company shall be remitted to their supervisor.

The employee must report all lost or stolen equipment promptly to their supervisor, University Technology, and University Risk Management. The University will need to ensure and/or determine the security of University records or data that may be present on the equipment, and University Risk Management will be required to provide prompt notice of the loss to University cyber security and liability insurers.

The University is not liable for damages to the employee's property that may result from participating in remote work.


Workers’ Compensation laws may apply if the employee is injured while performing official duties at the alternative workplace. An employee who suffers an injury should follow the University’s process for reporting that injury. The University is not liable for other property damage or bodily injury that results from participation in a remote work arrangement.