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Frequently Asked Questions Telework

  • Eligibility criteria are outlined by agencies in their telework policies and collective bargaining agreements .  In fact, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (Act) requires each agency to determine eligibility for its employees.  You should have been notified by your agency of your eligibility status.  If you are unsure or require additional information, you can review your agency policy and have your questions answered by contacting your agency Telework Managing Officer. You may be eligible to telework if your job duties are partly or wholly portable, meaning that you can do work offsite without workflow or security concerns. In addition, your performance will be considered, along with other factors you agency deems appropriate to ensure that telework does not diminish employee performance or agency operations.  .Also, the Act specifies certain limitations related to eligibility and participation that agencies must take into account when making these determinations.
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  • Not necessarily. For example, in the Washington, DC, area, and as detailed in OPM’s Washington, DC, Area, Dismissal and Closure Procedures   [996 KB], teleworkers may still be required to work, depending on the circumstances.  Telework arrangements are typically voluntary.  However, once an employee enters into a telework agreement, it is possible that an agency may require an employee to telework if this is clearly stated and agreed to in the written telework agreement.  To avoid ambiguity, the telework agreement should specify what is expected of employees under these circumstances.
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  • 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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  • There is no governmentwide probationary period for employment before beginning telework. Individual agencies may have a tenure requirement for some or all positions, however. Contact the telework coordinator for the relevant agency for further information about whether or not there is such a restriction.
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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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  • Subject to the agency’s telework policy and operational needs of the organization, there is no restriction on how much flexibility may be allowed to teleworkers in this regard.  Since telework eliminates commute time, it may make sense for the teleworker to begin their work day earlier then they would otherwise.  However, the amount of flexibility will be determined by agency policy, collective bargaining agreements, and the business needs of the organization.
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  • The manager and teleworker training both offer the opportunity to print a certificate once you complete all of the modules.  Some users have had difficulty printing the certificates, due to information technology security restrictions established by their agencies.  If you have such problems you will need to work with your own technical support group to resolve these issues.
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  • Yes.  The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 mandates that a written telework agreement between the agency manager and employee be in place prior to the start of telework.  This is true of all teleworkers, i.e., those who will telework on a regular and recurring basis, and those who will telework on an ad-hoc basis (this is also referred to as situational or episodic telework).
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  • Yes, a Federal employee may receive reimbursement for business-related long distance phone calls made on their personal phone.  GSA regulations (41 CFR 101.7) provide for reimbursement of telephone calls approved by the supervisor.  The employee should submit a standard form 1164 through appropriate channels to receive the reimbursement. Agencies also may provide employees with government telephone credit cards.
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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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