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HRDG 4368 - Telework Program - Section F

Subchapter 4368
Telework Program 

Section F - Private Residences: Equipment and Costs



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Introduction  An employee who works at a private residence may use his/her own equipment and/or equipment provided by the agency. Agencies may pay for the installation and use of telephone lines in participants' homes.

Note: AMS and GIPSA will not install telephone lines in participant's homes.

Exception: Telephone service will not be provided for participants in short-term medical or natural disaster situations because participation usually may not exceed 30 days under these options.
Employee-Owned Equipment Employees are responsible for servicing and maintaining their personal equipment. The agency will not be liable for any damages to an employee's personal or real property during the performance of official duties in the employee's residence. Any increase in the employee's home utility cost will not be reimbursed.

Note: Per USDA requirements MRP does not allow use of employee-owned equipment for agency work. Exceptions to this requirement are telephones, printers and fax machines (APHIS only).
Agency-Owned Equipment

At the expense of the participant's individual program, and the approval of the immediate supervisor, the following types of equipment may be provided in an employee's private residence. Excess Government property (computers, laptops, printers, fax machines) will be earmarked for telework participants prior to being reported as excess.

  • Computer (operating system and application software);
  • Printer;
  • Fax Machine; and
  • Cell Phone or Blackberry.


Any equipment issued to a participant is the agency's property. Agency-owned equipment may be used only for authorized business; employees are prohibited from using such equipment for private purposes. All files, records, papers, or materials created using agency-owned equipment are the property of the United States Government. Employees are responsible for maintaining equipment in accordance with MRP policy. This includes ensuring equipment is patched and that antivirus software is up to date.

Supervisors can mandate teleworking employees take their laptop home every day, with the understanding that it must be protected in transit.

Requesting Telephone Line

Telephone line requests must be made, in writing, to the telework participant's supervisor. Because the cost of telephone installation may vary based on the written request for service, the request must indicate:

  • Employee's name,
  • Home address (city, State, and zip code),
  • Home and Office telephone numbers,
  • Days of the week the employee works at home,
  • Average length of calls and number of calls made per day (APHIS and GIPSA only).
  • Telephone features requested,
  • Hierarchy and Accounting codes,
  • Supervisor's signature and certification that telephone service is necessary for direct support of the agency's mission and that safeguards against misuse exist.


The approving supervisor will submit the information to the Telecommunications Management Area Control Officer (TMACO) to research the most cost-effective method of obtaining phone service.

Additional Telephone Features

Guidelines regarding additional telephone features:

  • Additional features may be installed only on the Government line.
  • Requests must be submitted, in writing, (with the supervisor's signature) to the Telework coordinator. Requests for 3-way calling must specify the average number of conference calls anticipated.
  • Requests may be submitted at the time of the initial telephone request or at a later date.
  • The call-waiting feature must be disabled before transmitting through the modem or the call will be interrupted.(The code for disabling this feature can be obtained from the local phone company.)
  • Long distance 3-way calls must be placed using the Federal Calling Card guidelines. Authorization for 3-way calling will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Requesting a Calling Card Federal Calling Cards may be requested by the participant through his/her supervisor as follows: 
Agency: Location: Submit requests to:
AMS Headquarters TMACO

Note: Telework Coordinator will process the request through the TMACO
APHIS Headquarters/Field TMACO
GIPSA Headquarters/Field TMACO
If international capabilities are required, they must be specified in the request.
Requesting Dial-Up Connectivity (APHIS only) If you require remote dial-up to the Local Area Network, follow the ordering process on our Information Technology, Telecommunications page (Employees Only).
Issuing/Purchasing Equipment Upon approval of the request for a telephone line, equipment will be issued to the employee.

Headquarters participants will be authorized to purchase telephones by their program.
Installing Telephones The telephones may be installed only in the work area that is designated on the USDA Telework Agreement. Installation must be scheduled for a day when the employee is working at home and can oversee the installation.

If additional wiring is required, the employee must instruct the telephone representative where the wiring should be placed and the point at which it will enter the home. After installation, the employee must sign the Premises Work Invoice received from the telephone representative and submit it to his/her program.
Proper use of Phone

The Federal Property Management Manual provision which allows personal calls to be made on office telephones, applies only to the office environment where the employee does not have ready access to a public telephone. While working at home, personal calls should be made from the participant's private telephone line.

The following table provides guidance on the appropriate method for making phone calls while working at home:

If the phone call is: Then make the call using:
Personal Private phone line.
Business-Local or 800 Government phone line.
Exception: Employees who will be working at home for less than 30 days do not have a Government Line. The private line should be used for local or 800 business calls.
Business-Long Distance

Federal calling card or Government phone line provided the Federal Telephone System (FTS) has been selected as the long distance carrier.

Note: Participants who must make calls outside the contiguous U.S. and its territories must request a calling card with international capabilities.


Telephone Service/Repairs If the Government-installed telephone line requires service, the employee should test the telephone from his/her private line to see if the problem can be resolved. If necessary, the employee should contact the local telephone company for line service and/or his/her program to arrange for replacement or repair.
Paying Telephone Costs

Individual programs/units must pay for and manage telephone costs of telework participants. Telephone charges:

  • Will not be reimbursed from imprest funds, and
  • Will not be reimbursed for calls made from private residential telephones.
Reviewing Phone Reports Supervisors are responsible for monitoring the time, length, and the cost of telephone calls. Supervisors should have knowledge of the location that participants may need to call to perform their duties and the average length of their calls. Supervisors may request Telework participants' (Headquarters or Field) monthly phone reports from the TMACO.
Returning Equipment If an employee leaves the agency or stops participating in the telework program, he/she must return the Federal calling card and any telecommunications equipment that was issued specifically for the telework program. The supervisor must notify the Federal calling card program contact to delete ID's and calling cards to prevent unauthorized use. If an employee is reassigned to another staff or program within the agency, he/she must return any equipment (e.g., computer, modem, fax machine) to the issuing staff and notify the agency TMACO of the reassignment.

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