Section 1. Purpose
DOL Management and Local 12 jointly recognize the mutual benefits of a flexible
workplace program to the Department and its employees. In recognizing this
benefit, both parties also acknowledge the needs of the DOL to accomplish its
mission without diminishing employee performance or the operations of the
Agency. Participation in the telework program must be consistent with mission
accomplishment and customer service.
The benefits of telework include recruiting new workers, retaining valuable talent,
allowing the Federal government to maintain productivity in various situations,
balancing work and family responsibilities, providing reasonable accommodation
for disabled employees, realizing cost savings to the Government, and meeting
environmental, financial, and commuting concerns. In addition, telework helps
maintain Continuity of Government Operations (COOP) and continued productivity
during emergency situations (e.g., public health emergencies, localized acts of
nature, accidents, etc.).
Public Law 111-292 requires Agencies to have telework programs, but nothing in
that statute or in this Agreement gives individual employees a right to telework.
The parties agree that working a telework schedule is a privilege rather than a
right. Throughout this Agreement, the words telework and flexiplace are used
interchangeably to refer to a voluntary program that permits employees to work at
home or at other approved sites away from the office for all or part of the
workweek. This does not bar Management from requiring employees whose
positions have been identified as mission critical under COOP or other emergency
situations from working at an alternate site as permitted by law, rule or regulation.
Provisions of this Article that conflict with any future law or regulation must be
brought into compliance with such requirements.
Section 2. Types of Arrangements: Informal and Formal
Formal arrangements are regular and recurring in nature and include working at
home, telecommuting centers, or other sites approved by the supervisor. Formal
arrangements require a written agreement between the supervisor and the
employee. It is agreed that probationary employees are not eligible for formal
Informal arrangements are ad hoc or episodic in nature for short periods of time
not to exceed sixty (60) aggregate days in a twelve (12) month period. These
situational arrangements, which are reached between the supervisor and
employee, are not regular or recurring, are not expected to continue on a longterm
basis, and require a written agreement. Such arrangements will normally take
one (1) day or less, but could last longer if a project or work assignment
necessitates more time. Informal arrangements may be used as trial periods to
determine the practicality of formal arrangements. Probationary employees are
eligible for episodic or ad hoc telework plans, and thereby, are eligible to work
unscheduled telework when authorized by OPM if they are participating in such a
plan and to the extent technology and work load permits.
Section 3. Eligibility
a. Consistent with the parties’ goals of fostering a family-friendly workplace, all
employees are eligible to participate in the telework program, except for
employees whose duties and responsibilities include:
(1) required daily access to classified/secured or sensitive information
which cannot be transported or accessed remotely;
(2) required daily in-person contact with members of the public or the
use of equipment at the main worksite; or
(3) performance that is otherwise infeasible away from the employee’s
regular place of employment.
b. Furthermore, an employee is not eligible to telework if, in the previous three
(3) years, the employee has been officially disciplined for being absent
without permission for more than five (5) days in any calendar year, or for
violation of subpart G of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of
the Federal Branch, for viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography,
including child pornography, on a Federal Government computer or while
performing official Federal Government duties.
Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement,
Management will review all Local 12 bargaining unit positions and identify
those that are not eligible for telework. Results of this review will be shared
with the Telework Committee and Local 12.
c. For those employees determined eligible to participate, the following criteria
must be met:
(1) A sufficient amount of the employee’s essential functions can be
performed at an alternate worksite. It is understood that the
accomplishment of the Agency’s mission is paramount. While
supervisors and managers are encouraged to be progressive in
regard to reengineering or restructuring how their offices operate or
the manner in which they assign work, there is no contractual
obligation or requirement on Management to do so to accommodate
an employee’s request to participate in telework.
(2) The employee will be available and accessible to supervisors,
coworkers, and customers at all times while performing work at an
(3) The employee’s most recent performance evaluation is at least
(4) There is no conduct problem that has been the subject of an Agency
Decision within the previous twelve (12) months that would cause
Management to be concerned about the employee’s trustworthiness
(5) Costs of such an arrangement are feasible. The parties recognize that
costs or cost savings in technology, equipment and
telecommunications are considerations in decisions regarding
participation in telework arrangements. While it is expected that
telework may require some costs, the costs involved may be too
much for the Agency to finance. The parties anticipate that denials
based upon financial considerations will be the exception and not the
(6) Technology/equipment needs: The parties recognize that existing
and evolving technology(ies) may allow or prevent an employee from
participating in the Telework Program. The employee may need
access to specific equipment and/or technology on telework days.
Such equipment/technology may include:
* Telephone access, including long distance
* Computer and/or printer assigned to the employee’s home
* Computer hardware/software
* Modem and possible additional computer access
* Modifications to the central computer to allow employees to
* Equipment maintenance and repair
* Remote technical assistance
* Replacement of damaged or lost equipment
* Fax capability
* Internet service provider
(7) Any required telework training is completed before the Telework
Agreement is signed.
d. The Department agrees that there will not be any discrimination against, or
disparate treatment toward, any employee with respect to the applicability
of any of the criteria set forth above.
Section 4. Coverage of Office Functions
a. Management will continue to have responsibility for seeing that the mission
of the Department is carried out. Each office will determine adequate
coverage during official hours for the purpose of assuring that the functions
of the office and mission of the Department are fulfilled. Some examples of
the principal forms of coverage are:
(1) Having phones answered;
(2) Providing clerical, technical, and professional support;
(3) Providing office representation at essential meetings;
(4) Handling inquiries from the public; or
(5) Providing program needs based on business necessity.
b. When coverage requirements are established for any given function, all
employees with such responsibilities are obliged to meet coverage
requirements. The determination of who will work which particular hours to
ensure such coverage is within the authority of the supervisor. Determining
office coverage involves both the office worksite and the telework site.
Where practicable, personal preference will be honored in scheduling
coverage. Where personal preference conflicts with the equitable sharing of
the burden of coverage, personal preference shall give way. The
opportunity of each employee to maximize his/her telework participation
shall be consistent with the coverage of legitimate work unit functions as
determined by the supervisor.
Section 5. Time Frames
Upon receipt of a written request for formal telework, the supervisor and the
employee will meet to discuss and review the request. The supervisor’s decision is
to be provided to the employee within ten (10) workdays of the request.
a. If disapproved, the employee will be advised in writing with the reason(s). If
the disapproval subsequently becomes the subject of an arbitration, the
parties will clarify all the issues in accordance with Article 48 of this
b. If approved, the specifications of the arrangement will be established,
reduced to writing on a Standard Individual Telework Agreement Form, and
signed by both the supervisor and the employee. The employee will begin
working at the alternate worksite within fifteen (15) workdays days after
completion of the agreement form unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
Section 6. Operating Principles
a. In recognition of the growing importance of teleworkers in maintaining the
COOP, employees who are scheduled to telework during a building closure
or early dismissal due to inclement weather or other emergency situations
are expected to continue working unless they are excused from duty as
determined by their manager on a case-by-case basis.
On a case-by-case basis, an Agency may excuse a teleworker from duty
during an emergency situation if the emergency adversely affects the
telework site (e.g., disruption of electricity, loss of heat, etc.), if the
teleworker faces a personal hardship that prevents him or her from working
successfully at the telework site, or if the teleworker’s duties are such that
he or she cannot continue to work without contact with the regular
worksite. Factors such as travel conditions between the telework site and
home or unexpected childcare or eldercare responsibilities due to school or
center closings should be considered.
b. For employees who are approved to be on formal telework, the employee
will normally have the option to work the designated flexitime plan/schedule
of his/her organization or to opt out of flexitime. If the employee’s choice is
to opt out, then the supervisor and the employee will agree on an 8 ½ hour
tour of duty. Managers may also require employees who are approved to be
on formal telework to establish an 8 ½ hour tour of duty if the mission
and/or work of the office necessitate specific work hours.
c. The governing rules, regulations and policies concerning time and
attendance, overtime and leave are unchanged by participation in telework.
Employees will not perform overtime or night work without expressed
approval in advance.
d. Supervisors maintain full authority to assign work. This includes, but is not
limited to, assigning specific work products to be completed or requiring an
employee to provide a brief oral summary of accomplishments on telework
e. Injuries that arise in the performance of duty at the alternate worksite are
subject to the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.
f. The Government is not responsible for operating costs, home maintenance,
or any other incidental costs to the employee (e.g., utilities). Employees on
telework are entitled to reimbursement for authorized expenses while
conducting government business.
g. For employees who are approved to be on telework, the following applies
with respect to equipment:
(1) If the employee uses government equipment, the employee will use
and protect the equipment in accordance with 5 CFR 2635.704.
(2) Government-owned equipment will be serviced and maintained by
(3) If the employee uses his/her own equipment, the employee is
responsible for its service and maintenance.
(4) Employees will ordinarily be given a minimum of 24 hours advance
notice regarding management service or maintenance of
government-owned property. Such service or maintenance will occur
during the employee’s normal work hours unless circumstances
h. Employees on telework are obligated to ensure a safe and healthy work
environment and to apply necessary safeguards to protect government
records from damage or unauthorized disclosure.
i. After the employee and supervisor have signed the Standard Individual
Telework Agreement, the employee shall be encouraged to meet with the
Local 12 Agency Vice-President or designee in order that the Union may
determine that the Standard Individual Telework Agreement is consistent with
j. To ensure access to bargaining unit employees participating in telework, the
Standard Individual Telework Agreement will state the employee’s name;
his/her alternate worksite address(es), including telephone number, e-mail
and/or fax number, unless prohibited by law. Management shall provide any
omitted information upon receipt. A copy of the executed Standard Individual
Telework Agreement shall be provided to the Union (N-1503) and the
Agency/Regional Telework Coordinator.
k. In circumstances where OPM authorizes the use of unscheduled telework,
those employees who are currently on a Formal Telework Plan must either
work at their alternate worksite to the extent technology and work load
permits, report to their duty station within DOL, or take unscheduled leave.
Employees currently on an Informal Telework plan and those employees who
participated in any Telework arrangement in the previous six (6) months and
who were not removed involuntarily may work at their alternate worksite if
technology and their work load permit such participation. In these
circumstances, employees should notify their supervisor(s) of their intent to
telework, whether on a scheduled or unscheduled basis, or in the alternative,
to use unscheduled leave.
Section 7. Recall
Employees participating in telework programs must be accessible and available for
recall to their regular offices for work needs that cannot be performed at the
alternate worksite. Recall examples include, but are not limited to, training, special
meetings, new work requirements, unanticipated short-term staffing shortages and
emergencies. Management will take full advantage of existing technology
(teleconference, e-mail, fax, etc.) where possible in order to minimize recall. A
recall shall last no longer than is reasonable to complete the task or purpose of the
recall. When possible, Management will provide reasonable advance notice of not
less than 24 hours for all recalls; however, depending on the circumstances there
may be times when advance notice cannot be given.
Section 8. Termination
a. Employees may voluntarily terminate participation in the telework
arrangement at any time; however, employees may be expected to continue
working at the alternate worksite for a reasonable period to allow
Management time to arrange a work station.
b. Supervisors may terminate an agreement whenever one or more of the
following conditions occur:
(1) There is a change in work requirements, or the arrangement no
longer supports the mission.
(2) The employee’s performance is less than Effective after at least
ninety (90) days.
(3) The employee has demonstrated conduct problems regarding
trustworthiness or dependability to the extent that he/she should be
removed from the program.
(4) Costs of the agreement are no longer affordable.
(5) Technology changes require return to the regular office.
(6) The employee does not comply with the terms of his/her agreement.
c. When terminating a telework arrangement, the following must occur:
(1) To the extent practicable, Management will provide at least five (5)
workdays advance notice of the termination of any agreement.
(2) The Notice of Termination must be in writing and indicate the
reason(s) for termination.
(3) When a telework arrangement is terminated, Management should
notify the appropriate Local 12 Agency Vice-President and the
Agency/Regional Telework Coordinator.
d. Removal from telework does not prevent an employee from reapplying as
soon as the required criteria are met.
Section 9. Space
Employees working a permanent flexiplace/telework schedule of three (3) or more
days a week are not entitled to a dedicated personal work station. These
employees may be required to utilize common/shared work areas as described in
Article 34. Under this concept, employees will be provided a work area that
includes a work surface, PC or docking station, phone and a locked storage area. It
is understood that these work areas are not permanently assigned to any specific
employee and are utilized as available and as needed when the employee is
required to report to the office.
Section 10. Safety
Each participating employee should sign a self-certification checklist that proclaims
the alternate worksite is safe. Management may deny an employee the opportunity
to participate in telework or may recall a telework agreement based on safety
problems at the telework site.
Section 11. Pre-existing Flexiplace/Telework Arrangements
Pre-existing Flexiplace/telework arrangements must be brought into conformance
with this Article within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this agreement,
unless they are entered into pursuant to negotiated Memorandums of
Understanding (MOUs) between the Union and a DOL Agency or subdivision.
Section 12. Grievability
Management’s decisions on participation, recall or termination of formal telework
arrangements are grievable. Decisions on informal telework arrangements are not
grievable unless the employee alleges that a decision on informal telework
arrangements is a prohibited personnel practice.
Section 13. Issue Resolution
Agency managers and Union officials are encouraged to establish creative
approaches to provide information and resolve problems regarding telework. Such
approaches could include joint task forces, joint committees, designated technical
advisors, etc. Where there are disputes over participation, recall or termination of a
formal telework arrangement, the parties encourage Agency and Union officials to
develop alternate dispute resolution methods to resolve such issues. Each DOL
Agency will designate a Telework Coordinator to whom employees and supervisors
can go for technical guidance and assistance as telework issues or problems arise.
In addition, the parties will provide joint training on this Article to the Telework
Coordinator as well as to Agency Vice-Presidents and Stewards.
Section 14. Telework Committee
There shall be a Committee at the Departmental level to oversee implementation
and evaluate the functioning of the Telework Program. This Committee may, by
mutual agreement, address individual issues or concerns. Local 12 shall appoint
one member to this Committee for each Committee member appointed by
Management. In addition, the parties shall enter into an MOU (Memorandum of
Understanding) to establish a Labor-Management Relations (LMR) Forum which
will evaluate the implementation, functioning, and the beneficial aspects of
telework, in general, and any Pilot Program(s) identified within the MOU
Section 15. Standard Individual Telework Agreement
The following constitutes an agreement between the named employee and the
Agency on the terms and conditions of the individual’s participation in the DOL