Remote work location and out-of-state work policy
This policy establishes basic requirements for designating a staff employee’s remote work location and considerations for working outside of Washington State. International remote work is covered by the international remote work for staff and student employees policy.
Designation of remote
While employment at the University of Washington (UW) occurs primarily at the Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell campuses and surrounding metropolitan areas, the University’s reach extends to locations outside of Puget Sound, both within Washington state, such as those at Friday Harbor Laboratories and Pack Forest, and out-of-state.
Employees who work at UW work sites outside of Washington and employees whose official work location is their personal residence, whether in Washington or another state, are designated remote employees. A remote designation formally defines the position’s work location as outside of UW work sites in Washington State. The employee’s remote work location is their “official duty station” for the purposes of travel, reimbursement, and compensation and is appropriate only when all of the employee’s work occurs remotely. Employees who work onsite at UW owned or operated work sites in Washington are not designated as remote.
Remote employee telework agreement
All remote employees working from their personal residence or an alternative non-University work site are considered to have a regular telework arrangement and must have a telework agreement in place with their department. Telework agreements are meant to be responsive to the changing needs of the workplace, and should be reviewed and updated both as needs change and, at a minimum, annually. The telework agreement for a remote worker only lasts as long as the employment relationship itself.
The UW does not maintain an equipped workspace at a UW work site for remote employees whose official work location is their personal residence. Departments with remote employees are required to reimburse and/or provide the equipment and supplies which they deem necessary to enable remote employees to perform their UW work, in accordance with UW’s policies governing reimbursement of business expenses. Upon termination, UW equipment must be returned.
As outlined in the UW telework policy, remote teleworking staff must comply with all departmental and institutional policies including, but not limited to policies addressing appropriate use of University resources.
Out-of-state work location requirements
Approval for working out-of-state (Work location in a state other than Washington)
Employees may have a work location outside of Washington when they are hired to perform their job duties out-of-state or when current telework eligible employees receive advance approval to become remote. Approval for out-of-state hiring or for current employees to become remote is at the Vice President, Vice Provost or other executive unit head level and must be supported by a compelling policy, critical skill- based, or family health circumstance. It is the responsibility of the unit to verify that approved remote employees have an accurate work location in the payroll system.
Employee responsibilities if working out-of-state
Employees working remotely in a state other than Washington are responsible for verifying that their Home (Primary) Address is accurately reflected in the payroll system. Taxes, payroll deductions, and the applicability of other labor and employment laws may be different depending on the state where the work is performed (see below).
Whether an individual is subject to income tax in a particular state is typically driven by tax residence. Unfortunately, there is no uniform threshold after which employees working out-of-state become subject to tax in that location. Each state’s income tax and withholding requirements vary significantly, and may be based on both personal residence and/or work location. In many cases, whether an employee is domiciled or maintains a residence in the state and is “present” in that state for the majority of the tax year may make the individual a resident for tax purposes. Employees should familiarize themselves with the residency requirements and tax laws of any proposed out-of-state work location. Guidelines for determining residency status in a state may be found on their state tax authority website.
Considerations when working in another U.S. state
When employees work out-of-state, in addition to other teleworking considerations, employees and departments should consider the following compliance-related impacts:
Workers’ compensation – Remote employees are covered by workers’ compensation for job-related injuries that occur in the course and scope of employment. However, employees who work outside of Washington are not covered by Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Workers’ Compensation industrial insurance. The UW does not take Washington State Workers’ Compensation wage deductions from employees whose work location is out-of-state.
Remote employees must report any work-related illness or injury to their supervisor immediately. For instructions on how to file a claim in another state, contact Claim Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. The claim filing process will be specific to the state in which the injury occurred.
Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) – Employees who work outside of Washington are not covered by the Washington State Paid Family & Medical Leave program. The UW does not take PFML deductions or report hours and wages for employees whose work location is out-of-state. Employees who work in a state outside of Washington may be covered by a similar program in the state in which they work.
WA Cares Fund – Employees who work outside of Washington are not covered by the WA Cares Fund. The UW does not take WA Cares Fund premiums or report hours and wages for employees whose work location is out-of-state.
Unemployment insurance – Remote employees who work outside of Washington are not covered by Washington unemployment insurance unless there is a reciprocal coverage arrangement in place with that state. Employees who work in a state outside of Washington may be covered by an unemployment insurance program in the state in which they work.
Out-of-state Tax withholding – Both the employee’s work location and the location of the employee’s residence may trigger state withholding, depending on state law. If the employee meets the requirements for state taxation and has accurately updated their work location in Workday, the UW withholds the applicable taxes for that state.
Compensation and Exemption from Overtime – Compensation for remote employees follows the same compensation policies and guidelines as established by UW policy, the Professional Staff Program, civil service rules, or applicable collective bargaining agreement language, regardless of the employee’s work location. This includes applying Seattle minimum wage except where a specific state or local law exceeds. Exemption from overtime follows the rules of Washington State Labor & Industries, regardless of the remote employee’s work location.
Health insurance and benefit impacts – Eligibility for health insurance plans varies based on work location and home address as established by the Washington State Healthcare Authority.
Travel between locations – The costs of voluntary travel to and from a UW worksite for remote teleworkers is the responsibility of the individual employees. The UW travel office webpage describes travel reimbursement for official business travel between the employee’s official duty station (work location) and a temporary duty station.