Telework Enhancement Act
The signing of the Telework Enhancement Act (the Act) in December 2010 transformed Federal telework to unleash its potential as a strategic intervention for supporting agency effectiveness. By providing a framework of requirements, the Act enables a more systematic implementation of telework in Federal agencies. Satisfying these requirements has meant a fundamental shift in how agency stakeholders view and implement telework -- from a strictly individual employee benefit to a strategic organizational change program.
The Act functions to support the development and advancement of telework by outlining a number of requirements to ensure appropriate support structures (e.g., leadership, policies, telework agreements) and capabilities are in place to achieve effective programs. The Act applies to all employees of Federal Executive agencies. Subject to the limitations described in the law and as defined by individual agency telework policies and applicable collective bargaining agreements, employees may participate in telework regardless of the geographic location where they work.
Among other things, the Act specifies roles, responsibilities, and expectations for all Federal Executive agencies with regard to telework policies, employee eligibility and participation, program implementation, and reporting. Although the focus is primarily on Federal agencies' roles, the statute does speak specifically to the role of managers and other employee requirements in a number of areas. Specifically, the Act states an agency’s telework policy must:
- Ensure that telework does not diminish employee performance;
- Require a written agreement between the manager and employee that outlines the specific work arrangement agreed to;
- Provide that an employee may not be authorized to telework if that employee’s performance does not comply with the terms of the agreement;
- Not apply to any agency employee whose official duties require, on a daily basis, direct handling of secure materials determined to be inappropriate for telework or on-site activity that cannot be handled remotely at an alternative worksite;
- Prohibit participation in telework by an employee who has been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than five days in any calendar year, or for viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography on a Government computer or while performing official Government duties;
- Require an interactive training program for eligible employees and their managers; and
- Require that teleworkers and non-teleworkers be treated the same for purposes of performance, appraisals, training, rewarding, reassigning, promotions, reducing in grade, retaining and rewarding employees, work requirements, or other acts involving managerial discretion
For more information, visit Telework Legislation.