understanding the remote work agreement

All Remote Work Agreements are subject to change and can be ended by either party. On-site work presence may be required to provide critical operational activities and support. Any required changes should be identified and communicated as soon as known. 

The details below help provide clarity and guidance around each section of the Remote Work Agreement. The full Remote Work Agreement is available here

Remote Worksite: Designated site, including address(es), must be listed for remote work.

  • It is essential to update the Remote Work Agreement (RWA) should there be a permanent change in location to adhere to legal and compliance accountability.
  • Temporary, short-term changes should be communicated to the supervisor/supervisory chain but do not require a modification in the RWA.
  • Employees who permanently move must also contact the Payroll Office to update their remote work address.
    • Note, updating your remote work agreement does not impact your W-4 tax withholding. Please review your W-4 tax withholding information and notify the Payroll Office if your remote work site is outside of Michigan.

Outside of Michigan or International Remote Worksite: Supervisors must have authorization by the Dean, VP, or the MAU Leader (Authorized Signatory) before an agreement for work performed substantially outside of Michigan or internationally.

  • Do not authorize this work arrangement without prior approval from the Dean/VP/MAU authorized signatory.
  • All employees must complete an RWA for out-of-state or international hire, including FAS/EM employees.
  • Temporary relocations for vacation, visiting professorships, sabbaticals, etc., are not considered Remote Work and do not require agreements.
  • The typical agreement will be reviewed annually at a minimum, with some shorter or longer in duration.
  • Should the agreement need to change, it is expected that communication between the supervisor and the employee will be open, documented, and a minimum of 30 days allowed for transition, if possible.
  • Employees who move to another department will need to complete a new RWA with the new supervisor and department.

See Getting Started  and explore a variety of work considerations.

  • These resources are designed to promote open and honest conversation about expectations for performance, including values, responsibilities, impacts on teams, individual contributions, hours/days worked, and understanding bias.
  • It is important to update or create a job description that accurately reflects work responsibilities, including days, times, locations, duties, and tasks. A position description is not the same as a job classification.
  • It is also essential to provide the transparency needed so that team dynamics are maintained positively. Equity in teams is vital to the positive division of work. As a contemporary employer, MSU recognizes the value of being flexible and progressive.

Minimum Standards for Remote Work sites: employees must provide an appropriate level of privacy and maintain the confidentiality of conversations, materials, and documents.

  • A record of the remote worksite must be updated in EBS (link coming soon) and communicated to the supervisor.
    • Note, the Remote Work Agreement in EBS will automatically update the remote worksite address and route to the supervisor for approval.
  • The employee must contact the Payroll Office directly for any changes in the permanent location of the remote worksite. Updating your remote work agreement does not impact your W-4 tax withholding. You should review your W-4 tax withholding information and notify the Payroll Office if your remote work site is outside of Michigan.
  • Institutional Data and other policies are in effect for both remote and on-site employees.
  • Home work sites are not to be used to conduct in-person business meetings with employees, students, co-workers, or others.

The employee should know that all regulations, policies, personal standards of conduct are in effect regardless of the worksite location. Include the appropriate information in your new employee orientation or onboarding. Rules Governing Personal Conduct-Support Staff

As part of the Remote Work Plan, list the specific items provided for the employee and what they should do in the event of repair or return. The following information may be shared with employees to build the remote work plan.

The employee is responsible for adequate internet and phone service when working remotely.

  • Units and colleges will determine the equipment to remote work arrangements based on performed work and purchasing guidance outlined by the MSU Manual of Business Procedures.
  • The University’s IT Services Help is open 24/7 and available via email, phone, and chat to support all employees.

University Equipment Use

The University has outlined acceptable use of MSU systems, applications, and networks. MSU Data Security

Equipment, supplies, and other property provided by the University are provided exclusively for use in providing services to the University.

  • University equipment may not be used by any person not employed by the University (including household members).
  • Do not regularly move monitors, printers, and other equipment due to excessive wear and tear, increasing the risk of broken equipment.
  • Do not attempt to repair broken technology equipment on your own—report and request service as directed.
  • Having MSU purchase, own, manage, and maintain IT ensures proper security, updates, patches, and replacement. 
  • Internet
    • Effective Internet connectivity is a prerequisite for working remotely or in a hybrid situation. Home internet currently falls under  http://ctlr.msu.edu/COMBP/mbp80EBS.aspx
    • Employees are responsible for providing their internet services for their remote worksite.
  • Mobile phone, mobile phone/data service contract
  • Ergonomics
    • Proper ergonomics while working remotely are critical for well-being. All employees should make certain their workstations are set up to ensure comfort and safety. MSU Ergonomics

The employee is responsible for adequate internet and phone service when working remotely.

  • Units and colleges will determine the equipment provided for flexible work arrangements based on the work being performed and purchasing guidance outlined by the MSU Manual of Business Procedures. Ensure the employee knows how to request supplies and repairs in your unit.
  • For those working remotely, it is the responsibility of the employee to request and maintain standard supplies as agreed.
  • Units may set up shared workspaces to more efficiently use space when employees have remote work agreements.

Accurate job descriptions and explicit expectations are critical to successful remote work experiences.

  • Ongoing conversations with employees about performance expectations should be consistently applied to remote and on-site employees, including 1:1 and drop-in time.
  • Support is available to supervisors and employees. Performance Excellence
  • Establish regular 1:1 time and make “drop-in” time clear for employees.
  • Adjust goals as necessary. Priorities sometimes change, and clarity is important.

In addition, Supervisors will need to build appropriate guidelines and equity within teams for a variety of everyday challenges such as office coverage, special assignments, etc. Being clear about expectations is critical such as using cameras, office hours and informal conversation, or other efforts to build and maintain trust within the work unit.

Requirements for time tracking and overtime are the same for remote and on-site employees per contract and or Fair Labor Standards Act. Support Staff Overtime and Time Tracking Policy). 

There is no change to the expectation that employees have ongoing dependent care arrangements to allow the employee to be available consistently during their working hours. Adjustments to work hours should be clear, just as they would on-site. Often, work that does not have set schedules or dependencies can be performed on non-standard hours.

  • The WorkLife Office has resources that employees may find helpful. WorkLife.

Data must be protected according to the Institutional Data Policy.

  • Discuss with the employee the additional expectations the unit may have to minimize the risk of unauthorized disclosure, damage, or loss of records.
  • Discuss record retention and how the employee will carry out these responsibilities.

Employees requesting remote work arrangements should understand the liability limitations of remote work and the responsibility to follow the policy and procedures.

MSU supervisors should refrain from providing tax advice. Employees should seek professional advice regarding potential tax liability they could incur.

  • Remote and on-site employees are responsible for reporting any work-related injury to their supervisor.
  • Remote employees are verifying that their remote worksite is safe and secure by submitting the RWA. The policy for reporting injuries is located here: Work Injury.

Discuss with the employee that they are verifying their remote work location is always safe and secure.

All University policies will apply to both remote and on-site employees. The RWA does not alleviate any obligation to observe and follow all applicable rules, policies, and procedures.

Statement: The Remote Work Policy and the Remote Work-Outside of Michigan policy supersede any current or previous agreements or arrangements with the employee.


  • The support staff employee and the supervisor must approve via EBS.
  • Out of State or International ALL EMPLOYEES: Deans, VP, or the MAU leader (authorized signatory) will need to approve via attachment.

Record Retention

  • Electronic records will be maintained as part of the personnel record.
  • PDF RWA (if used interim) will be kept in the unit.
  • On April 1, 2022, units should begin converting telecommuting agreements and pdf RWA to the electronic version. Further directions will be available.

An employee with documented disabilities may request accommodations through the Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Process   https://civilrights.msu.edu/ada_coordinator/disability_and_reasonable_accommodation_policy.html.

Under such circumstances, to ensure compliance with our obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other federal and state law, The Office of Employee Relations, will be responsible for reviewing the request, directing the interactive process, and consulting with the unit to determine whether the requested accommodation is reasonable or undue hardship. Employees begin this process by registering with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and providing documentation. https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/get-started/employee-accommodations)

Employees who have accommodations relative to remote work will have a Statement of Employee Accommodation Determination (SEAD) and must complete a Remote Work Agreement as required by policy.

A Remote Work Agreement is required even if accommodations indicate remote work in the SEAD.


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