Six months after Congress passed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2011, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that all federal employees should have been notified if they qualified for telework. The Act required agencies to determine the eligibility of employees to participate in telework and to notify all employees of their eligibility by June 2011.
OPM Director John Berry said federal agencies have made “great progress on telework implementation in the past six months.” He noted that information shared among agencies is allowing them to learn the best ways to use telework for various missions and work environments. The next step, according to OPM, will be for eligible employees and their supervisors to “identify what kind of work is best for their mission.” The options range from occasional teleworking to becoming entirely mobile.
Not every employee is eligible for teleworking, however. Except in emergency situations, the Act exempts employees whose official duties require, on a daily basis, the direct handling of secure materials or involve an on-site activity that cannot be performed remotely.
OPM has produced a Guide to Telework in the Federal Government to provide agencies, supervisors, and employees with guidance on telework policies and responsibilities, eligibility, training, and reporting requirements. The Guide also addresses such issues as pay, leave, and work schedule flexibilities, Continuity of Operations, and accommodations for employees with disabilities. Training tools and modules will be available on the telework website.
For workers in the Washington, DC area, the Guide describes an “Unscheduled Telework Option.” Under this option, when OPM announces that federal agencies are open in the area, but employees can take unscheduled leave, eligible teleworkers can notify their supervisors they intend to perform unscheduled telework.