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 (via training) are in place to achieve effective programs. The Act applies to all employees of Federal Executive agencies (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.
As the lead for telework, the TMO is responsible for making certain that requirements assigned to agencies under the Act are met. It is also important that he/she understands responsibilities assigned to various agencies by the Act in order to know how to respond appropriately to leadership and employee questions.
According to the Act, every Federal Executive agency shall:
- Establish a policy under which eligible employees may be authorized to telework;
- Determine employee eligibility to participate in telework;
- Notify all employees of their eligibility to telework;
- Incorporate telework into Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans;
- Ensure that each eligible employee authorized to telework enters into a written telework agreement with his/her supervisor;
- Ensure that an interactive telework training program is provided to eligible employees and their managers and that the program is successfully completed by employees prior to entering into a written telework agreement (unless the head of the agency has provided for an exemption for employees already teleworking under an arrangement in effect prior to the Act);
- Designate a TMO to serve as the primary point of contact with OPM on telework matters on behalf of the agency; and
- Consult with OPM as needed for policy guidance in various areas, including pay and leave, agency closure, performance management, official worksite, recruitment and retention, and accommodations for employees with disabilities.
When fulfilling the requirements of the Act, Federal agencies shall:
- allow pre-decisional involvement on development of telework policies with employee representatives to the fullest extent practicable as provided in Executive Order 13522; and
- ensure that appropriate collective bargaining obligations are satisfied with employee representatives on agency telework policies.
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U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
To assist agencies in building telework programs, the Act directs OPM to:
In addition, OPM must:
- Maintain a telework website;
- Compile and submit annual reports to Congress on the telework programs of each agency;
- Research the utilization of telework by public and private sector entities to identify best practices and recommendations for the Federal Government; and
- Review outcomes associated with an increase in telework, including the effects of telework on energy consumption, job creation and availability, urban transportation patterns, and the ability to anticipate the dispersal of work during periods of emergency, and making findings available to the public.
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Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
According to the Act, OMB is required to:
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For more information, visit Telework Legislation.