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Human Resources Desk Guide (HRDG)

Subchapter 4368
Telework Program 

Section B - Telework Options

 


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Introduction This section describes situations where flexible workplace arrangements are appropriate and may be beneficial to the employee and the Agency.
Regular Telework on a regular and recurring basis. Meaning the employee teleworks at least one day a pay period but not more than three days per week. The need for Regular telework participation is determined by "non-emergency" factors, such as the nature of the employee's work, workload, frequency of deadlines, family situation, etc.
Situational  Situational telework can also be referred to as Ad-hoc or project-by-project. The situational telework arrangement option may be used as needed to help maintain productivity during short-term agency or employee needs such as completing special projects or meeting short deadlines.
Unscheduled Telework  A type of situational telework arrangement that may be used on a temporary basis for allowing telework-ready employees to work from alternative work sites during periods of inclement weather, emergency situations, or for encouraging productivity during other short-term agency or employee needs. When an unscheduled telework day is announced, non-emergency MRP employees who have an approved Telework Agreement, must notify their intent and work in coordination with their supervisor when choosing to use an announced unscheduled telework day.
Medical Conditions
Updated 09/12 

Telework options may be used to assist an employee with a medical condition.

For Short Term Medical Conditions lasting 1 month or less, employees should consult with their supervisor who can approve a regularly scheduled Telework Agreement for up to 5 days per week. For further information on Short Term Medical Conditions, please contact Tara Coker at (301) 851-2883.

For Long Term Medical Conditions lasting longer than 1 month, employees should consult with a Reasonable Accommodations Specialist.

Telework may be considered appropriate as an accommodation for employees who meet reasonable accommodation guidelines. Questions on the Reasonable Accommodation process can be directed to the Workplace Resolution and Wellness Branch at (301) 851-2950.

  • On a short-term basis due to a medical emergency, or
  • On a long-term basis due to an illness, injury, or other chronic medical condition as long as the employee can successfully carry out his/her duties.
  • Appropriate medical documentation as deemed by management will be required from the attending physician. Medical documentation should specify:

The number of hours per day and/or number of days per week the employee has been released for duty, and any restrictions on the employee's mobility.

MRP Form 18-R (PDF), Work Restriction Evaluation, may be used for documentation purposes. The Telework coordinator should contact the servicing employee relations specialist for help with determining appropriate documentation. 
 

If Telework is being used:  Then advance training:  And the employee may participate for a period: 
On a short-term basis due to a medical emergency Is not required Not to exceed 30 calendar days. Agreement may be reissued in a 30-day increments if needed. 
On a long-term basis due to a chronic medical condition Is required Not to exceed 1 year. Agreement may be reissued annually.
Natural Disaster

Telework options also may be appropriate during natural disasters (e.g., hurricane, flood, earthquake) that preclude employees from performing their duties at their official duty stations. Telework participation due to natural disasters may be granted if all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted. The supervisor, with concurrence of the approving official, determines when telework participation due to a natural disaster is appropriate.

Note: When the supervisor and the approving official have determined that an employee may use telework on a short-term basis due to natural disaster, pandemic health crisis or other emergency, it may be appropriate for the employee to begin the telework participation without training and prior approval of documentation. In these circumstances, however, the employee must submit a telework agreement as soon as he/she becomes aware of the emergency situation and submission becomes possible. Documentation should be sent directly to the approving official, with a copy to the program's Telework coordinator for recordkeeping purposes.

Pandemic Health Crisis or Other Emergency

When the supervisor and the approving official have determined that an employee may use telework on a short-term basis due to natural disaster, pandemic health crisis or other emergency, it may be appropriate for the employee to begin the telework participation without training and prior approval of documentation. In these circumstances, however, the employee must submit a telework agreement as soon as he/she becomes aware of the emergency situation and submission becomes possible. Documentation should be sent directly to the approving official, with a copy to the program's Telework coordinator for record keeping purposes.

  • Direct participating employees to work from their telework site (home, satellite office, or other location) for the duration of the emergency, and
  • Grant a temporary exception to the requirement to report to the ODS at least 2 days per week. When a temporary exception is granted, the employee continues to be entitled to the locality rate of his/her ODS, or
  • Direct an employee(s) to evacuate from the ODS and perform work from an alternative location, (e.g., other office in another or the same geographical area, home,) mutually agreeable to the Program and the employee for the duration of the emergency.


If the employee is ordered to evacuate, then:

  • The alternate duty site may be designated as the "safe haven" and
  • Evacuation or advance salary payments may be paid. In addition, Administrators may grant special allowance payments (e.g., per diem for dependents, subsistence) on a case-by-case basis to offset the direct added expenses incidental to performing work from the alternate duty site (e.g., home) that has been designated as the "safe haven."
  • The evacuated employee may be assigned to perform any work considered necessary or required to be performed during the length of the evacuation period regardless of the employee's grade level, or title. However, the employee must have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the assigned work.
  • Programs may terminate evacuation payments as well as discipline an employee for failure or refusal to perform assigned work.
Evacuation and Advance Salary Payments During an Emergency
 
Human Resources Operations computes pay using 5 CFR 550.404 and departmental policy. An advance salary payment may cover a period of up to 30 days. Evacuation payments continue as long as the order to evacuate remains in effect (unless terminated) but may not exceed 180 days. Evacuation payments are terminated and pay is adjusted based on 5 CFR 550.407 and 408.

Detailed information regarding evacuation and advance salary payments can be found on the Internet at:

http://www.ocio.usda.gov/directives/doc/DR2300-004.htm

Questions regarding travel per diem should be referred to your servicing travel specialist:
APHIS GovTrip (Employees Only)
AMS (202) 690-3733, (202) 690-3741
GIPSA (202) 720-7045

Federal Register Vol. 71, No. 157, pages 47692-47693, dated August 17, 2006, 5 CFR 531.605 [d)][3] [ii], and 5 CFR 550 Subpart D).
A Note About Child and Elder Care While one purpose of the Telework program is to help employees manage workload and family schedules and demands, it is not to be used as a substitute for child or elder care. Employees must make appropriate arrangements for dependents who are unable to care for themselves. A caregiver must be present in the home to take care of a dependent while the teleworker is performing his/her official duties.

Example: Parents may appropriately use telework to balance schedules so that they may escort children to/from the bus stop. When the children return, they are able to begin their homework, chores, and activities independently while parents continue to work without distractions.

The intent of the example is to depict a child who is at an age where he/she can function independently without any parental supervision and the telework participant is not on the clock during the time he/she escorts or is otherwise involved in parenting duties. Parents who care for children while working at home would be using telework inappropriately.

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