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Frequently Asked Questions Telework

  • Yes, managers can deny a request to telework, based on business reasons and subject to limitations on telework participation described in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. For example, an employee’s performance may not meet the standards outlined in the agency’s telework policy or the terms of the written telework agreement between that employee and his/her supervisor.  Similarly, a position may not be eligible because its official duties and responsibilities have been determined to be incompatible with telework.  The denial should be made in writing, with an explanation, and this written denial should be provided to the employee in a timely manner. . Collective bargaining agreements may provide for an employee to file a grievance about the denial or cancellation of a telework agreement through the negotiated grievance procedure.  Check with your agency's employee relations staff in Human Resources to discuss your agency's procedures.
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  • Telework is not a substitute for dependent care.  However, telework can be valuable to individuals with caregiving responsibilities. Time saved commuting can be spent with family members, and the flexibility of being closer to home may enable caregivers to take less time off for activities like doctor’s visits, school programs, etc. A teen-aged child or elderly relative might also be at home with the teleworker, after school or during the day, as long as they are independently pursuing their own activities.
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  • Public Law 105-277, Omnibus Appropriation Act, Title IV, § 630 requires Executive Agencies to set aside $50,000 for telework center use. Agencies may not use COOP payments to satisfy this requirement.
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  • Yes. OPM provides web-based employee training modules, in accordance with the requirements of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.   Agencies may offer additional training or require additional training. Check with your agency telework coordinator or Telework Managing Officer to find out about any training your agency may offer.
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  • Agencies should allow pre-decisional involvement to the fullest extent practicable as provided in Executive Order 13522 and satisfy collective bargaining obligations by working with labor when developing their telework policies and agreements.
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  • There are no Governmentwide restrictions on distance for teleworkers.  You should consult your own agency’s policy to determine whether your agency has its own restrictions. Teleworking from this distance may have an effect on duty station, if you are not physically present at your duty station at least two days in each biweekly pay period.  For more information, see Official Worksite, Travel, and Related Policies.
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  • The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (Act) requires that each Executive agency designate a Telework Managing Officer (TMO). Before the law was passed, most agencies fulfilled the day-to-day operational aspects of telework through a telework coordinator (with telework coordinators at the subagency level). The telework coordinator served as the key contact for policy and program questions. Many coordinators, however, had telework as a collateral responsibility without much authority or contact with senior leaders. The Act requires the TMO to assume these duties as the main agency official on telework matters. The TMO is a senior official of the agency, established within the office of the Chief Human Capital Officer (CHCO), or its equivalent, and who has direct access to the head of the agency. Note that he or she does not need to be the CHCO. The important thing is that the position be given direct access to the head of the agency. We believe it is the intent of this legislation that the TMO be a strategic thinker and planner who will help the agency incorporate telework in a way that makes good business sense. The TMO is responsible for policy development and implementation related to telework programs; serves as an advisor to agency leadership; and is the primary point of contact with OPM on telework matters. In addition to making telework an integral way of doing business in the agency, the TMO will be responsible for helping with the development of goals and metrics in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. In designating a TMO, agencies should look for the same leadership competencies and high standards they would consider in selecting for any leadership position.
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  • Subject to the limitations specifically described in the Act, the agency eligibility requirements and any applicable collective bargaining agreements, the law applies to all Federal Executive agency employees, regardless of geographic location.  In the definitions section of the Act (Sec. 6501), the law refers to 5 USC 2105 for the meaning of the term "employee." If your agency is considered to be an Executive agency and if all of your employees fall within the definition in 5 USC 2105, the law applies, regardless of the location of any given employee's permanent duty station.
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  • Each individual agency has its own policies and procedures that determine how its employees may apply for a telework arrangement.   In general, employees should be prepared to make a business-based proposal for a proposal to telework, rather than base the request to telework on personal considerations.  At the very least, in addition to describing logistics like location and frequency, you should be able to discuss how you will accomplish your work without adverse effect on your organization and/or co-workers. While an employee may request a telework arrangement in writing or verbally (depending on the agency’s policy), the Telework Enhancement Act requires that a written telework agreement between the supervisor and employee be in place before he/she can begin to telework.  This agreement outlines the specifics of the telework arrangement (e.g., location of telework, expectations).  Also, you will be required to successfully complete an interactive telework training program before you will be allowed to telework. Please note the head of the agency has discretion to exempt employees from this training requirement if they have already been participating in telework.
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  • Each individual agency has its own policies and procedures that determine how its employees may apply for a telework arrangement.   In general, most employees submit their telework application to their immediate supervisor.
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