Federal Manager's Daily Report

Among issues addressed in new OPM guidance (at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/future-of-work/re-entry-guidance) are standards to be followed in revoking an employee’s teleworking arrangement, an issue that has grown along with the numbers of federal employees teleworking due to the pandemic.

It notes that the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act provides for revoking a telework agreement if the employee does not comply with the agreement’s terms or if the employee’s performance falls below a certain standard–usually, fully successful. Separate law bars telework by employees who have been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than five days in a calendar year or for reviewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography during working time or while on a government computer, it adds.

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It says that in terminating a telework agreement, a manager should be able to document and demonstrate that: “The employee’s teleworking directly and negatively impacts the employee’s performance or the performance of the work group/organization”; “Continuation of telework will interfere with remediation of the standards such as the employee’s ability to attain or return to a fully successful performance level”; and that the employee’s conduct violates the requirements established in the law or the agreement.

It adds that “as a general rule” managers provide a timely written notice including an explanation and an effective date in writing and which should follow any pertinent agency procedures and provide notice of any appeal rights. Managers also should consult with agency employee and labor relations specialists regarding legal requirements and union contract provisions, it says.

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