Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Pandemic

  • The official definition of "telework" can be found in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010: "[t]he term 'telework' or 'teleworking' refers to a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee's position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work."

    In practice, "telework" is a work arrangement that allows and employee to perform work, during any part of regular, paid hours, at an approved alternative worksite (e.g., home, telework center). This definition of telework includes what is generally referred to as remote work but does not include any part of work done while on official travel or mobile work.

    You may also be familiar with the terms "telecommuting" and "flexible workplace" and both are sometimes used to describe what we now generally refer to as "telework." While "remote" and "mobile" work are also terms that are sometimes used as synonyms for telework, they tend to operate differently than telework as is apparent in the detailed operational definition.

    For consistency, OPM recommends that all agencies use the term "telework" for reporting purposes and for all other activities related to policy and legislation, as defined in the Act.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • For health benefits, enrollment continues for no more than 365 days in a nonpay status. The nonpay status may be continuous or broken by periods of less than four consecutive months in a pay status. The Government contribution continues while employees are in a nonpay status. The Government also is responsible for advancing from salary the employee share of premium. The employee can choose between paying the agency directly on a current basis or having the premiums accumulate and be withheld from his or her pay upon returning to duty.

    For life insurance, coverage continues for 12 consecutive months in a nonpay status without cost to the employees or to the agency. The nonpay status may be continuous or it may be broken by a return to duty for periods of less than four consecutive months.

    For further information, see OPM Furlough Q&As.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • An agency may discipline an employee who is Absent Without Leave (AWOL).  The decision to take such action is at the discretion of the agency, after consideration of the facts and circumstances regarding the unauthorized absence.  Employees having difficulty reporting to work should discuss the circumstances of their absence with their supervisor in a timely manner.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Yes. Changes in an employee’s work schedule are within the discretion of the employing agency, as long as the changes are consistent with law, regulations, and any applicable negotiated agreement. In addition, agencies may require employees to perform overtime work. There is no limit in law or regulations on the amount of overtime work required each day or on weekends. For additional information, see http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/html/factot.asp.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • It is possible that employees may be eligible for unemployment compensation, especially if they are on consecutive furlough days. State unemployment compensation requirements differ. Agencies or employees should submit their questions to the appropriate State office.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No statutory or regulatory limits apply to the amount of overtime work a manager may require an employee to perform. However, an employee may be excused from overtime work for reasons such as illness or the illness of a family member. For information on computing overtime pay, see www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/FACTOT.asp and www.opm.gov/oca/pay/HTML/computeflsa.asp.

    If an employee refuses to perform overtime work, the agency may discipline the employee for failure to report for scheduled overtime duty.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • Generally, telework is not a substitute for dependent care. Employees cannot effectively accomplish work while actively caring for a child or adult who needs their full attention. However, during a pandemic, other emergency situation, or even during the normal course of events (e.g., a child is home due to routine illness), the employee could use a flexible combination of telework, leave, and schedule to meet their dependent care needs and still accomplish work. Managers and employees should discuss this scenario in advance to determine the limits of the employee’s availability and how communication and work flow would be affected.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • There are a number of alternatives for an employee who has exhausted his or her accrued annual and sick leave. An employee may request advanced annual and/or advanced sick leave. The amount of annual leave that may be advanced may not exceed the amount the employee will accrue during the remainder of the leave year. A maximum of 30 days of sick leave may be advanced for an employee’s serious disability or ailment. In addition, an employee who has a personal or family medical emergency and who has exhausted his or her own available paid leave may be eligible to receive donated annual leave from his or her agency’s voluntary leave transfer or leave bank program. If OPM has established an emergency leave transfer program, the employee also may be eligible to receive donated leave from the emergency leave transfer program. An employee may also request leave without pay. Employees should consult with their agency human resources office to determine how their agency policy applies to their situation.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • The requirements for such checks would remain unchanged for emergency hires; however, activities to complete them might vary (e.g., alternatives may be needed for face-to-face interviews with persons affected by a pandemic). Likewise, the requirements for background checks for ID badges (minimum NACI review) for Government building access would apply to emergency hires as well. As with other temporary appointees, suitability rules would not apply.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
  • No. Agencies do not need OPM approval to establish flexible or compressed work schedules authorized by 5 U.S.C. 6122 and/or 6127. We encourage agencies to prepare for all emergency situations and address the use of compressed or flexible work schedules in their contingency plans.
    How well did this answer your question? Submit
    Submitting rating...
    Thank you for your feedback!
    An error occurred while trying to submit your feedback.
    Please try again later.
Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.

Working...