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Date Issued:  31/1/2022

Purpose

This policy provides a framework for remote work within Executive Government. The policy outlines the circumstances where employer- or employee-initiated remote work may be appropriate, the process for approving such arrangements, and the manner in which these arrangements will be undertaken.

Policy Statement

Excellence and Innovation and Serving Citizens are core values of the Saskatchewan Public Service. Effective remote work allows Executive Government to meet the needs of Saskatchewan citizens, and benefits both the employer and the employee. Working remotely will be the exception and not the rule; remote work arrangements will be considered, provided operational needs are met and all Public Service core values are supported.

Objectives

  • Set clear expectations to promote a consistent approach for remote work across Executive Government.
  • Support the use of remote work as a business delivery model, support operational needs and contribute to a modern public service.
  • Improve recruitment and retention of employees.
  • Support a more diverse workforce and inclusive workplace.
  • Support a healthy work environment for employees.
  • Improve employee productivity, engagement and job satisfaction.

Principles

This policy is based on the following principles:

  • Executive Government will maintain a public presence and continue to provide services effectively to meet the needs of Saskatchewan people.
  • The remote work arrangement will be in the best interests of the public, Executive Government and the employee.
  • Organizational culture and connection between leaders, teams and employees will be maintained.
  • The remote work arrangement will not conflict with the terms and conditions of employment, collective agreements, relevant legislation and policies within Executive Government.

Application

  • This policy applies to all employees of Executive Government.
  • Remote work will not be suitable for every position or employee.
  • The employer or employee may initiate remote work arrangements.
  • Remote work arrangements may vary with respect to duration and can be full-time or part-time (e.g., remote work 100 per cent of the time, every other week, three days a week). This policy does not apply to occasional remote work (see Occasional Remote Work Guidelines).
  • Remote work arrangements resulting from a medical accommodation are governed by the Employment Accommodation Policy (PS 705).

Remote Work Arrangements

Both employer- and employee-initiated remote work arrangements must align to the Remote Work Criteria (Appendix A).

The authority to approve/modify/deny remote work lays with Permanent Heads or their designates

Management should consult with their Human Resources Business Partner Team, ministry Privacy and Access Officer, Records Management Officer, and ITD Client Service representatives, as well as ministry Corporate Services, as needed, before making a decision.

a. Employer-Initiated Remote Work 
Where remote work supports employer business objectives, the employer may initiate remote work for a work unit or a particular position.

For Encumbered Positions:

For New and Vacant Positions: 
  • When remote work is a requirement, it will be reflected as a condition in the official documentation (e.g., letter of offer, secondment agreement, contract).
  • Employee and their manager will prepare and sign a Remote Work Arrangement (Appendix C).

b. Employee-Initiated Remote Work 
Employees who wish to work remotely shall complete a Remote Work Application (Appendix B) and submit it to their manager to begin the approval process.

The Remote Work Application whether approved or denied, shall be sent to the HR Business Partner Team for placement on the employee’s personnel file.

If remote work is approved, the manager will prepare and the employee will sign a Remote Work Arrangement (Appendix C).

c. Review and Termination of Remote Work Arrangements
Employer- and employee-initiated remote work arrangements shall be reviewed after three months by the employee and their manager and reviewed annually thereafter through the existing work planning and performance review processes.

Where remote work is not a condition of employment, the employee can request changes to or terminate the Arrangement with 30 days notice.

The Remote Work Arrangement may be terminated at the discretion of the Permanent Head. If the arrangement is terminated, the employee will be required to transition to the headquarters building as soon as is reasonably practicable and in no more than a four-week period unless agreed otherwise. The remote work arrangement automatically terminates if the employee moves to a new position. 

Responsibilities

a. Designated Workspace, Equipment and Supplies
The employee must ensure there is a designated space for remote work that is appropriate to the duties of the position and meets health and safety, privacy and records management requirements.

The employee is responsible for: 
  • Any operating (e.g. electricity, heating, internet, phone lines), maintenance or upgrade costs (e.g. lighting installation, door locks) required to establish and maintain the remote workplace.
  • Furnishing (e.g. desk and chair) the remote workplace.
  • Any additional insurance costs associated with the remote work arrangements.
Based on job requirements, the employer will provide: 
  • Information technology (IT) equipment (e.g. computer hardware, computer software, peripherals, cell phone, etc.).
  • Office supplies (e.g. pens, paper, locking file cabinet). 
The employer may agree to exceptions to the responsibilities outlined above, subject to Permanent Head or designate approval.

Equipment and office supplies should be obtained through the normal Executive Government procurement processes.

The employee will ensure all IT equipment will be used in accordance with the Overarching Security Policy and the User Acceptable Usage Policy. The employee will be the sole user of the equipment and supplies provided by the employer. All the equipment and supplies provided for remote work remains Government property. The employer takes no responsibility for employee-owned equipment.

The employee is responsible for returning remote work equipment and supplies when employment or the remote work arrangement terminates.

b. Health and Safety
The employee and their manager are responsible to ensure the remote workplace meets the requirements according to the Safety Checklist (Appendix D).

Remote employees working within Saskatchewan are covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries that arise out of, and in the course of, employment. In the remote workplaces, non-job-related injuries are not covered.

The employee must immediately report all job-related injuries to their manager. The employee and their manager are responsible for completing incident reports in accordance with the Incident Reporting andInvestigation Policy (PS 818).

No in-person contact with colleagues, clients and customers will occur at the approved remote workplace, if that workplace is an employee residence.

The employee agrees to allow the employer to physically inspect the remote workplace for prevention or incident investigation purposes. 

c. Privacy and Records Management 
The employee shall minimize the use of paper copies of documents to the extent possible at the remote workplace.

The employee and their managers have a duty to protect personal information and personal health information. The employee and their manager must ensure that adequate safeguards are in place to protect personal information and personal health information from unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, modification or theft. Administrative, technical and physical safeguards generally include the policies, procedures, physical standards and technical security services and mechanisms used to protect personal information. The Information Security Policies and the  Workstation Checklist must be followed.

Records and information management requirements will not differ for remote work arrangements. The employee shall follow practices outlined in the Guidelines for Records Management Outside of the Office.

d. Expectations and Performance
Remote workers must have an updated Work and Learning Plan or Planning for Success.

Performance evaluation requirements and performance standards for employees working remotely will not differ from non-remote workers. The employee is expected to maintain the same level of productivity and work quality while working remotely. 

Remote work schedules must be in compliance with Collective Bargaining Agreements and The Saskatchewan Employment Act

The employee will complete Incident Reporting Policy Training, Access and Privacy, Records Management and other applicable corporate e-learning prior to or within the first three months of the remote work arrangement, if they have not completed the modules within the six months prior to the effective date of the remote work arrangement.

e. Communication
The employee and manager must be able to communicate at a level consistent with normal work hours or in a manner and frequency that is appropriate for the position and the individuals involved.

Unless agreed otherwise, the employee must be available to attend the in-person meetings for onboarding, training, and other purposes, as required.

f. Travel and Other Expenses
The employee is responsible for travel costs between the headquarters building and the remote workplace. These costs will not be reimbursed, unless agreed otherwise (subject to Permanent Head or designate approval). All other travel expenses will be reimbursed in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreements, Travel and Other Payment Policies (PS 600) and the Financial Administration Manual.

g. Dependent Care
Remote work is not a substitute for dependent care arrangements. The employee must ensure dependent care arrangements are in place and that personal responsibilities are managed in a way that allows the employee to successfully meet the position requirements.

h. Tax Implications
The employee is responsible for dealing with the Canada Revenue Agency with respect to the deductibility of expenses related to remote work. 

Out-of-Province Remote Work

Remote work arrangements outside of Saskatchewan will be considered in exceptional circumstances. Out-of-province remote work arrangements must comply with relevant employment standards, taxation, workers’ compensation and other applicable legislation. Out-of-province remote work arrangements must be approved by the Permanent Head.

Definitions

employee means all employees to whom The Public Service Act, 1998 applies, whether appointed pursuant to the Act, hired pursuant to a contract or otherwise, and includes students. 

manager means the out-of-scope manager of an employee. 

occasional remote work means temporary, provisional, remote work usually to deal with specific circumstances that is agreed upon between the employee and their manager. 

headquarters building means the address where the employee would normally work, if the remote work arrangement did not exist. 

remote work means the performance of work responsibilities by an employee from a remote workplace. 

remote workplace means an alternate approved work location away from the headquarters building where the employee and the employer have agreed that the remote work will occur.

If you have any questions or require more information please contact:

HR Service Centre

hrsc@gov.sk.ca

Phone: 1-877-852-5808 or 306-798-0000

Fax: 1-877-852-9219 or 306-798-9966

2100 Broad Street, Regina, SK, S4P 1Y5

 Related Documents

  • Guide
  • Form