The Veterans Benefits Administration “does not yet have key controls in place to ensure that employees’ telework hours are recorded accurately in the time and attendance system,” GAO has reported, saying that VBA data “were unreliable, incomplete, and therefore, insufficient for us to determine the extent to which employees telework across VBA.”
Although the agency earlier this year made recording of those hours a requirement, it has not updated its policy to reflect that policy nor has it informed all employees and supervisors throughout, GAO said.
GAO had been asked to look at time and attendance data for veterans service representatives and rating veterans service representatives to determine how telework by those employees affected processing of claims for disability benefits, an area where the VA has been backlogged for years. GAO found that more than half of such employees have telework agreements but that almost half of those had no telework hours recorded in VA’s time and attendance system for April of this year.
It said management agreed with its recommendations to update guidance on recording telework hours and communicate to all employees that hours teleworked should be recorded, and to monitor the reported hours for accuracy and completeness.