Flexible Work Arrangements Policy

Policy number: CS-1308-2013
Policy title: Flexible Work Arrangements 
Policy owner: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective date: May 15, 2013

Last Revised: April 28, 2022


On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Responsibilities
  7. Flexible Work Arrangements
  8. College Equipment and IT Security
  9. Emergencies and Other Contingencies
  10. Supports and Resources
  11. Policy Revision Date
  12. Specific Links

1. Purpose

The purpose of Mohawk College’s Flexible Work Arrangements Policy (the “Policy”) is to support the attraction and retention of quality talent, support the operational effectiveness of the College and foster a community of wellness for its employees, to be consistent with Mohawk’s aspirations to strengthen supports, and to identify flexible work options that respect the diverse needs of all employees.  

The Policy explains the requirements and process to creating a positive flexible work arrangement between employees and their managers. This Policy provides a broad overview of the various types of flexible work arrangements and remote work arrangements available to College employees, where operational requirements are permitting, and the framework within which they are to be administered. 

This Policy outlines the key considerations for employees and managers to review in considering whether a flexible work arrangement is appropriate for the particular employee’s position and duties.  This Policy is considered a formal guideline to help support managers and employees in establishing these arrangements. It is important to acknowledge that no single approach will apply for all situations.

The ability to work remotely is a benefit and not a right; however, the College recognizes that appropriate flexible work arrangements have proven benefits for both the College and employees.  Finding ways to support greater work-life balance in a way that also ensures employees are able to maintain the same level of job performance has benefits for employee wellbeing, as well as with the attraction and retention of skilled employees.  The College, however, also recognizes that flexible work options are not suitable for all College positions. All requests for a flexible work arrangement will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to operational needs.

Flexible work arrangements must first be approved by the employee’s direct manager in advance of implementation. Any such arrangements that are approved and implemented will consider required operational coverages, real time communication, and face-to-face communication, as applicable. 

2. Application and Scope

This Policy applies to all employees but is not intended to negatively impact the inherit flexibility of teaching faculty work arrangements. Bargaining unit employees should also consult their respective collective agreements. The College reserves the right to refuse any request of a flexible work arrangement and may terminate any flexible work arrangement at any time with an appropriate and reasonable notice period.

The Policy is not intended to be used in place of sick leave, or other types of leave, nor is it intended to be a replacement for childcare or dependent care. Employees requesting Human Rights-based accommodations with respect to their work arrangements should follow either the College’s Return to Work Policy  and procedures or Accessibility (AODA) Policy, as appropriate.  Other Human Rights accommodation requests should be submitted to the department’s Human Resources Consultant.

3. Definitions

“Anchor Days” are a potential element that may be added to formal hybrid work arrangements, an anchor day is a designated day(s) of the week where all members, or identified specific members, of the department are required to be on campus.  

“Compressed Work Week” is an arrangement whereby employees work longer hours in exchange for a reduction in the number of working days in their work cycle (i.e., weekly or bi-weekly basis).

Designated Offsite Location” is the location within the employee’s residence, or other location as approved by the College, in which the employee will establish a suitable, dedicated workstation. The employee is responsible for ensuring that the Designated Offsite Location is safe, and can maintain the privacy and security of the employee’s and the College’s confidential information.

“Flex-time” refers to an arrangement whereby employees’ scheduled work hours are varied - usually altering the start and end times of their working day - without modifying the length of the standard work day or work week.

“Flexible Work Arrangements” are formal arrangements related to altered hours of work and/or alternative work locations, mutually agreed to by the College and employee, designed to help employees balance work, personal and family responsibilities.

“Fully Remote” is regularly scheduled Remote Work full-time (typically five days per week). Presence on campus may be required on specific days for team meetings, project meetings, campus events, etc. Where possible, appropriate notice for onsite meetings/events will be provided.

“Home Campus” refers to a location designated as the main campus whereby in part or all work functions are completed at a designated College campus. Each employee will have a home campus identified.

“Hybrid 50% or less” refers to regularly scheduled Remote Work up to two days/week or five of 10 days biweekly. This requires a formal hybrid work arrangement agreement.

”Hybrid greater than 50%” is regularly scheduled Remote Work of at least three days/week or six of 10 days biweekly. This requires a formal hybrid work arrangement agreement.

“Hybrid Occasional” refers to occasional or short-term work that is approved by the manager on a case-by-case basis, where the hours worked remotely are not part of a previously approved, ongoing, and regular hybrid work schedule. Occasional hybrid work may be approved by the manager without formal documentation and there is no expectation of regularly scheduled continuance. If the instances and regularity of occasional work increases and still meets the operating needs of the department, the manager should initiate a formal hybrid work arrangement with appropriate documentation.

“Hybrid Work Arrangement” is a formal work arrangement that allows employees to engage in Remote Work during an approved part of the employee’s regular work hours at a Designated Offsite Location.

“Primary Location” is a location whereby majority of work is performed by an employee, either on campus or at a Designated Offsite Location.

“Reduced Workload” refers to an arrangement whereby employees work less than a standard work week and receive pro-rated salary and benefits based on the reduction.

“Reduced Work Day” refers to an arrangement whereby employees work less than the standard work hours in a work day and receive pro-rated salary and benefits based on the reduction.

“Remote Work” is an arrangement whereby in part or all work functions are completed remotely on a non-College location, namely, a Designated Offsite Location.  Employees will be required to work their normal number or hours and fulfill all work-related obligations when working remotely.

“Standard Work Week” is the standard work week is identified in the employee’s appointment letter and will normally be either 35 hours, 37.5 hours, or 40 hours.  For teaching faculty normal hours of work can be up to 44 hours per week.

4. Principles

This Policy is based on the need to maintain consistent and transparent processes in the consideration and administration of Flexible Work Arrangement options. 

In order to ensure appropriate, equitable and fair Flexible Work Arrangements, the following issues/criteria must be taken into consideration when managers and employees are assessing, discussing or reviewing potential or current Flexible Work Arrangements:

  1. Service Model/Operational Considerations – An assessment of the work situation of the employee’s team, including service delivery approaches, as well as service standards, to ensure that a Flexible Work Arrangement will not have negative operational impacts on work quality, timeliness and client interactions.
  2. Performance Expectations – An assessment of the employee’s ability to meet required performance goals, expectations and objectives within the employee’s job description, to ensure that performance can be maintained or improved through a Flexible Work Arrangement.
  3. Work Collaboration - An assessment of the nature of work collaboration needed to accomplish the work of the individual requesting the Flexible Work Arrangement. Key considerations include the degree and type of collaboration work needed (e.g., information sharing versus generative work or co-creation).
  4. Technological Capabilities – an assessment of the extent that technology can support Flexible Work Arrangements including Remote Work, and that both required hardware and software are available.
  5. Cyber Security & Sensitive Information – an assessment of the technology provided to ensure that corporate policies are adhered to, and that access to systems and sensitive information has not placed those systems or information at increased risk to breach, loss, or accidental disclosure.
  6. Financial Impact – an assessment of the financial implications of Flexible Work Arrangements including technology costs, workspace implications and other related financial implications.
  7. Health & Safety – an assessment of the health & safety aspects of a Flexible Work Arrangement, including ergonomics, risks of identified work locations and other such factors.
  8. Employee Preference – a reflection, as much as practicable given the other criteria, of a work situation that considers the preferences and life situation of the employee, allowing for a better balance of life and work obligations.

5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by Senior Leadership Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Chief Human Resources Officer is authorized to ensure that the information within this Policy is applied and that all actions comply with relevant legislation, policies, collective agreements, and terms and conditions of employment.

The department manager and employees are responsible for ensuring that operational requirements are met, and that productivity, costs and services are not adversely affected by the application of Flexible Work Arrangements.

The department Manager and Employees must ensure that operational needs are met, and that productivity, costs, risks and services are not negatively affected by the application of flexible work arrangements.

6. Responsibilities

6.1 Manager

It is the responsibility of the Manager to:

•    Model the use of Flexible Work Arrangements, and encourage employees to ask about and discuss options for Remote Work;

  • Manage hours of work to ensure the department runs in an efficient and effective manner;
  • Perform an initial assess the opportunity and service/operational impacts of various options for Flexible Work Arrangements for the roles that report to the manager;
  • Consult with other units within the college and with external partners, as required, to assess the potential impacts of various flexible work arrangements on their services/operations;
  • Communicate the outcome of the initial assessments to employees within the roles that report to the manager, and invite them to then propose a reasonable flexible work arrangement;
  • Consider requests for new or amended Flexible Work Arrangements and approve or deny requests based on the operational needs of the department, the above noted principles, and the feasibility of the employee’s proposal;
  • In consultation with an employee, develop a written agreement defining the specific conditions of an employee’s Flexible Work Arrangement in alignment with the appropriate template agreement provided with this Policy;
  • Consult Human Resources (HR) when considering or entering into any Flexible Work Arrangements.  Use HR’s advice to work with employees when selecting the most appropriate flexible work options.
  • Provide guidance for employees to best follow all policies of the College when working on a Flexible Work Arrangement, including those governed/implemented by legislation.
  • Monitor each approved Flexible Work Arrangement for:
    • the employee’s compliance with the conditions of the written agreement;
    • the effect of the Flexible Work Arrangement on departmental operations;
    • consider relevant Collective Agreement provisions;
    • consider relevant legislative provisions, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
    • if necessary, modify a Flexible Work Arrangement in consultation with the employee or discontinue the arrangement.
  • Identify areas where employees may need further training, ex. Cyber security, data security, health and safety protection, harassment avoidance, EDI, communication skills;
  • Determine, in partnership with the Information Technology department, if additional technology will be required for employees to perform their roles effectively within a Flexible Work Arrangement;
  • Foster effective communication of Flexible Work Arrangements within the team to ensure all employees are clear on the current work model and its implications; and
  • Model transparency and connectedness through regular updates concerning changes, life balance/well-being resources, etc. 

6.2 Employee

It is the responsibility of employees to:

  • Provide their manager with proposals related to new Flexible Work Arrangement options, or amendments to currently approved Flexible Work Arrangements;
  • Abid by the terms of any approved Flexible Work Arrangement;
  • Report problems and recommend improvements to their manager with respect to the efficacy of Flexible Work Arrangements;
  • Ensure that work habits support the operational requirements of the department, including hours of expected service/work;
  • Understand operational continuity is a shared responsibility and therefore develop creative, fair and effective ways to work and communicate with all work colleagues, regardless of individual work arrangements;
  • Refer to and align work with applicable HR policies and/or collective agreement provisions to determine any impact on employee health & dental benefits;
  • Ensure that cyber security and data security remain top of mind and a consistent focus in daily work activities, and always consult their manager with any questions or concerns related to cyber and data security;
  • Ensure that work is completed in an efficient and effective manner;
  • Ensure that any Designated Offsite Locations are a safe work environment, and that employees regularly discharge their responsibilities under the Occupational Health & Safety Act;
  • Communicate effectively with their manager and coworkers to keep all informed of their work schedule and locations to ensure effective collaboration and service; and
  • Fulfill agreements made with their manager concerning work hours.

6.3 Human Resources

It is the responsibility of Human Resources to:

  • Support mangers review and assess Flexible Work Arrangement requests, e.g., advice, resources, documentation, training, etc.;
  • Develop and maintain suitable and effective tools and resources for the assessment and management of Hybrid and Fully Remote work arrangements;
  • Maintain records of approved Flexible Work Arrangements in employees’ files;
  • Monitor and consult with managers and employees as it related to the diversity, equity and inclusion implications of the administration of this Policy and approved Flexible Work Arrangements; and to
  • Consult with managers and employees as it relates to the health, safety and wellness of employees working at Designated Offsite Locations.

7. Flexible Work Arrangements

Employees interested in Flexible Work Arrangements are encouraged to explore options and submit requests to their Manager for consideration. Faculty Workloads (SWFs) are the mechanism for teaching faculty to deal with the issues covered by this policy and no additional request for teaching faculty are required.  Requests will be assessed on the merits of the individual submission, the employee’s performance and demonstrated ability to work independently with minimal supervision, the nature of the employee’s role, and the needs of the operation, among other factors, as outlined below. All Flexible Work Arrangements are at the discretion of the College, are subject to review, and may be ceased and/or altered, with prior notice at any time. Employees currently on a Flexible Work Arrangement have the ability to request a change to their Flexible Work Arrangement.

Flexible Work Arrangement options may include:

  • Compressed Work Week
  • Reduced Workload
  • Flex-time
  • Working from Home

The Manager has the discretion to proactively consider and initiate Flexible Work Arrangements that satisfy the definitions of the Standard Work Day and the Standard Work Week (i.e., cannot propose a Reduced Workweek).

When considering Flexible Work Arrangements, the Manager will take into account:

  • The principles as outlined in section 4 of this Policy;
  • the needs of the individual employee who made the request;
  • the operational needs of the department or division;
  • restrictions regarding scheduling capacity;
  • supervision of work;
  • any accommodation issues that may arise as a result of a Flexible Work Arrangement;
  • the requested location of the Designated Offsite Location;
  • the technological impact of a Flexible Work Arrangement;
  • departmental hours of operation;
  • service level impacts on departmental clients;
  • the effect on co-workers and their ability to do their work;
  • the requested duration of the Flexible Work Arrangement; and
  • any occupational health and safety issues which may be a factor in the health and safety of the employee, co-workers and clients.

Where Flexible Work Arrangements are approved by the Manager, the Employee, the Manager and the Union representative, where required, will sign an agreement outlining their responsibilities and the terms and conditions of the Flexible Work Arrangement. The Human Resources Consultant will place the signed agreement in the employee’s Personnel file. 

If the Flexible Work Arrangement is negatively affecting the employee and/or departmental productivity, costs or operational needs, either party may discontinue the Flexible Work Arrangement at any time with an appropriate and reasonable notice period.

Employees who work a Flexible Work Arrangement, or a shift schedule where the number of hours worked is greater than the Standard Work Day, are entitled to receive one 15-minute paid rest period for every three and a half hours worked.

8. College Equipment and IT Security

To guide the development of appropriate Flexible Work Arrangements, please review and refer to the Acceptable Employee Use of IT Resources Policy for guidance on acceptable and unacceptable use of the College’s Information Technology (IT) resources and Security. Please review and refer to the Information Governance and Security Policy for guidance on data handling, data security, and responsibilities. All employees working under Flexible Work Arrangements are required to maintain data security and confidentiality in compliance with all applicable College policies.

9. Emergencies & Other Unexpected Contingencies

During periods of extraordinary circumstances, such as a pandemic or other emergency situations, the College may request or require that employees work remotely for a temporary period of time, even if some eligibility requirements have not been met. Such arrangements will be in accordance with the emergency response plan with a reasonable attempt by management to follow the terms and conditions of this Policy, where possible.

In the event of campus closures due to instances of inclement weather or facilities systems related closures, work arrangements will be in accordance with the Campus/College Emergency Procedure policy.

10. Resources and Supports

10.1 Technology, Sensitive Information & IT Security

The College supplies an employee with a single standard IT configuration, regardless of approved flexible work arrangements, which typically includes a computer (laptop or desktop) and accessories appropriate for their job requirements and work schedule. Employees are responsible to maintain a reliable internet at their own cost if working remotely.

Please review and refer to the Acceptable Employee Use of IT Resources Policy for guidance on acceptable and unacceptable use of the College’s Information Technology (IT) resources and Security during Flexible Work Arrangements.  Please review and refer to the Information Governance and Security Policy related to the access, management, and use of confidential and/or sensitive files and information.

10.2 Campus Space

Any campus workspace allocated to employees will be aligned to the Space Allocation and Management Policy.

10.3 Furniture and Home Office

As part of a Flexible Work Arrangement, employees will establish an appropriate remote work environment as their Designated Offsite Location. The employee will be required, at their own cost, to set-up and maintain their own remote work office, including but not limited to furniture (i.e. desk and chair), reliable internet access, remodeling, printers, and all repairs or modifications to the remote office space. Where there is an approved relevant accommodation, the College will provide the necessary furniture for the employee’s Primary Work Location.

10.4 Expenses

Employees are responsible for all expenses related to the home office, including but not limited to home insurance, communication lines including internet connection and usage fees, utilities, and lighting.  Employees are expected to make use of available technology such as computer-based video or phone calls, as employees will not be reimbursed for long-distance phone charges. 

The College’s preferred vendor should be used for purchasing office supplies to receive discounted pricing.  Employees may access necessary office supplies, purchased from the preferred vendor, as required to perform their duties (i.e., pens, stationary etc.), from their Home Campus location in person.  Items will not be delivered to employees’ homes.  Because supplies are available at an employee’s Home Campus, any items purchased outside of the College’s Purchasing Policy will not be reimbursed, unless otherwise pre-approved by their manager.

Printers and printer ink cartridges will not be supplied to employees who work remotely unless through an approved accommodation.  

Work related travel costs will be applied in accordance with the Travel Expenses & Hospitality Policy. 

If applicable, the issuance of any identified tax forms related to work from home arrangements may be provided to eligible employees in accordance with the requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency.

11. Policy Revision Date

11.1 Policy Review Date

April 2027

11.2 Responsibility

The Chief Human Resources Officer will review this policy every five years or earlier when required.

12. Specific Links

  • Local 241 Full-Time Support Staff Collective Agreement

    Local 241 Part-time Support Staff Collective Agreement

    Local 240 Academic Staff Collective Agreement

    Administrative Terms and Conditions of Employment

    Ontario Employment Standards Act

    Campus/College Emergency Closure Procedure

    CS-1105-2020 Space Allocation and Management Policy

    GC-4300-2013 Accessibility (AODA) Policy

    CS-1502-2002 Acceptable Employee Use of IT Resources Policy

    CS-1508-2020 Information Governance and Security Policy

    CS-1301-2013 Contents of and Access to Personnel Files Policy

    CS-1000-2013 Travel Expenses and Hospitality Policy

    CS-1003-1988 Personal Acquisition of Computer Equipment

    CS-1002-2009 Purchasing Card Policy

    CS-1202-2011 Purchasing Policy

    CS-1508-2020 Information Governance and Security Policy