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Agency Roles

Various agencies are responsible for providing guidance and support to advance Federal telework.  Below are descriptions of agencies’ roles related to telework.  For more details, visit their websites.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (external link)assists the President in the development and execution of his policies and programs.  OMB reports directly to the President and helps a wide range of Executive departments and agencies across the Federal Government to implement the commitments and priorities of the President.  The Telework Enhancement Act (the Act) (external link) (PDF file) required the Director of OMB to coordinate with National Institute of Science & Technology (NIST) (external link)to issue guidelines to ensure the adequacy of information and security protections for information and information systems used while teleworking.  For more details about security and IT, visit the Security & IT Guidance page.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the Federal agency responsible for management of Federal human resources policy and oversight of the merit civil service system.  OPM works in several broad categories to recruit, retain and honor a world-class workforce for the American people.

  • OPM manages Federal job announcement postings at, and sets policy on Governmentwide hiring procedures.
  • OPM conducts background investigations for prospective employees and security clearances across Government, with hundreds of thousands of cases each year.
  • OPM upholds and defends the merit systems in the Federal civil service, making sure the Federal workforce uses fair practices in all aspects of personnel management.
  • OPM manages pension benefits for retired Federal employees and their families.  OPM also administers health and other insurance programs for Federal employees and retirees.
  • OPM provides training and development programs and other management tools for Federal employees and agencies.
  • In many cases, OPM takes the lead in developing, testing and implementing new Governmentwide policies that relate to personnel issues.

The Act (external link) (PDF file) assigned a number of responsibilities to OPM in the area of telework including the requirement to:

  1. provide Governmentwide telework policy guidance and support to Federal agencies;
  2. maintain a central telework website (;
  3. collect data on agency telework programs and report annually to Congress;
  4. assist agencies in establishing telework measures and goals; and
  5. consult with FEMA, GSA and NARA on relevant policy.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (external link)is an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (external link) that coordinates the Federal Government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

The Act (external link) (PDF file) required each Executive agency to incorporate telework into its continuity of operations (COOP) plan.  Incorporating telework into COOP plans allow an organization’s personnel to perform the duties and responsibilities necessary to continue the organization’s essential functions during any type of threat or emergency from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work. Requirements for organizations as it relates to incorporating telework into an agency’s continuity plans are found in Annex G of the Federal Continuity Directive 1 (external link) (PDF file).

Additionally, the Act required OPM to consult with FEMA on policy and policy guidance for telework in the areas of continuation of operations and long-term emergencies.

General Services Administration (GSA)  (external link) is the Federal agency responsible for overseeing the business of the Federal Government.  It provides workplaces for Federal employees and has served as a partner with OPM in providing policy guidance and support to Federal agencies in the areas of alternative workplace arrangements, including telework.  GSA also provides Governmentwide policies covering travel and property management practices that promote efficient Governmentwide operations.

As the lead agency in the management of Federal workplaces, GSA provides Governmentwide workplace guidance related to telework, emergency planning, and continuity of operations.  The agency also provides on-site support to the Department of Homeland Security and other response agencies in all activities related to emergency response operations, such as natural disasters, technological emergencies, terrorism consequences, resource shortages, and other disasters. 

During an emergency or disaster, GSA is responsible for opening and closing Federal buildings and leased locations where Federal agencies are located. GSA will publish emergency information, when necessary, to GSA's Office of Emergency Response and Recovery (external link)

The Act (external link) (PDF file) requires OPM to consult with GSA on policy and policy guidance for telework in the areas of telework centers, travel, technology, equipment, and dependent care.  GSA issues Federal Management Regulation (FMR) Bulletins that prescribe policies concerning property management and related administrative activities.  The following FMR Bulletins provide guidance specifically for telework:

Lastly, GSA provides guidance on mail management. GSA recommends all incoming mail must be screened at a federal facility before sending to employees at alternative worksites. The security policy should be coordinated with the Physical Security Officer and address threats from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear materials, and explosive devices or materials. It is the agency’s responsibility to develop the plan on receiving mail, packages, and accountable mail. For more information, visit GSA's website on the Federal Management Regulation Part 102-192—Mail Management. (external link)

NARA (external link) is the nation's record keeper. The agency is responsible for overseeing agencies' adequacy of documentation and records disposition programs and practices.  It also establishes standards for the retention of records having continuing value (permanent records), and assists Federal agencies in applying the standards to records in their custody.

The Act (external link) (PDF file) requires OPM to consult with NARA on policy and policy guidance for telework in the areas of efficient and effective records management and the preservation of records, including Presidential and Vice Presidential records.  It is important to remember that telework is simply a work arrangement whereby employees can perform their duties in a different location, usually home or another approved work location.  However, just because employees are working from home, their responsibilities to protect and manage the records that they may create and use do not change.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (external link) is responsible for developing standards and guidelines, including minimum requirements, for providing adequate information security for all Federal agency operations and assets.  The Act (external link) (PDF file) required the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to coordinate with NIST to issue guidelines to ensure the adequacy of information and security protections for information and information systems used while teleworking. For more details about security and IT, visit the Security & IT Guidance page.

The Federal Protective Service (FPS)  (external link) is a Federal law enforcement agency that provides integrated security and law enforcement services to Federally owned and leased buildings, facilities, properties and other assets.  FPS has established a physical security program to provide protection to GSA owned or leased Federal facilities. The FPS also has a role to play in emergency preparedness and the issuance of guidance on occupant emergency planning.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (external link) enforces Federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  Although EEOC is the primary Federal agency responsible for enforcing Federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's disability, the Act (external link) (PDF file) required OPM to provide policy and policy guidance for telework in the area of accommodations for employees with disabilities.

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