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Oxford Brookes is committed to promoting and practising equal opportunities in employment. This includes giving employees, wherever practicable, the opportunity to work more flexibly. Homeworking is also advocated in the University Sustainable Travel Plan 2006 -2010 as a way of reducing our overall carbon emissions. Requests for home-working will be considered in relation to any job role that may be carried out equally on site or from a remote location, usually the employee’s home. It is evident that some roles do not lend themselves to any form of homeworking as they can only be carried out on site. In some roles (e.g. academic staff) working at home is already common practice, and should be managed on an informal and ad hoc basis.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a framework within which employees and management can agree arrangements for working at or from home. The guidelines must be read in conjunction with the flexible working policy. These guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive; however there are certain fundamental principles which must apply and which should be understood by employees and their managers.
The University is willing to consider the following models of homeworking, depending on the circumstances of the role and operational requirements.
Occasional homeworking. Applies to employees who, with the approval of their line manager, work at home on an occasional and ad hoc basis (i.e. where there is no agreed pattern of homeworking), even though their contract of employment requires them to be based at Oxford Brookes University.
Regular homeworking. Applies to employees who have a regularly pattern of working at home agreed with their line manager (e.g. once a week or once a month) even though their contract of employment requires them to be based at Oxford Brookes University.
Designated homeworking. Applies to employees who work from home (their office is based in their home) even though they may work other than at home for part of their working hours. Becoming a designated homeworker involves a change in the contract of employment to reflect the new work location.
The guidance below applies to all categories of homeworkers. Further guidance applying to support staff and academic staff can be found in sections 4, 5 and 6.
Line managers should take into account the following when assessing any requests to work at or from home.
Working at or from home will only be possible where appropriate work is available. Considerations as to suitable work might include:
An employee working at or from home may be expected to provide evidence of the work which has been carried out. If it is felt necessary by their line manager, staff may be required to revert to their previous working arrangements.
Suitability for homeworking should be considered with regard to:
Individuals and managers should jointly review and monitor the impact of time spent working at or from home. Any problems arising from working at or from home must be discussed by the individual and their line manager. If no suitable solution can be found the employee will be required to revert to their former working arrangement.
Occasional and regular homeworking applies to employees who, with the approval of their line manager, work at home on an occasional, ad hoc, or regular basis even though their contract of employment requires them to be based at Oxford Brookes University.
Occasional and regular homeworking applies to employees who work at home on an occasional, ad hoc, or regular basis even though their contract of employment requires them to be based at Oxford Brookes University.
Employees are referred to as ‘designated homeworkers’ where they have a change in their contract of employment to have their office based in their home, even though they may be other than at home for part of their working time.
Employees working at or from home are responsible for any tax or mortgage implications arising out of their homeworker status. It is strongly recommended that employees investigate any likely tax and mortgage implications before they commence any homeworking arrangement. Staff may also wish to take advice from their recognised trade union.
The University has Employers’ Liability Insurance which covers its legal liability for personal injury to employees while acting in the course of their employment. This cover extends to situations where the employee is working at or from home.
The University has Public Liability Insurance which covers the legal liability of the University and its staff for injury and/or property damage to third parties caused whilst on University business. This cover extends to situations where the employee is working at or from home.
Homeworker’s Own Insurance:
Incidents resulting in a claim against the home worker’s own insurance cover must be advised to their insurer.
Incidents which may result in claims against the University’s insurance cover must be reported to the member of staffs line manager. Major incidents must be reported immediately by telephone to the member of staff’s line manager or as soon as is reasonably possible if the incident occurs outside office hours.
NB. The letter should be signed by the policyholder, who may not be the home worker.
Risk assessments should take into account the following issues:-
The home workplace should have adequate ventilation, a reasonable temperature, suitable and sufficient lighting, sufficient space, and the floor should be kept free from obstructions or from articles or substances which could cause a homeworker to slip, trip or fall. If the University approves the home as suitable, it will be the homeworkers’ responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy working environment.
Any staff wishing to work at or from home will not be permitted to carry out a significant amount of work at a home based workstation until such risk assessment has been carried out and any recommendations implemented.
The University is only responsible for electrical equipment which it supplies. However, before allowing an employee to become a homeworker the University will ensure that the homeworker’s own electrical wiring is adequate for the purposes intended (form 2). Maintenance of the wiring is the homeworker’s responsibility.
Any staff wishing to work at or from home should be warned of the hazards of handling loads. If staff are manual handling equipment or materials while working at or from home they must complete form 3.
If staff are using substances or materials that may be hazardous to health and safety while working at or from home they must complete form 4.
Staff who undertake to meet with colleagues or members of the public in the course of their employment should make appropriate arrangements to meet at the local work office or in a public building.