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Telework

telework comic from FCW Feb 8 2010 Klossner blog

Telework is a flexible work arrangement that permits employees to carry out their duties and responsibilities of their positions from an approved worksite other than the location where they would otherwise work. The approved alternative worksite may be an employee's home or a telework center.

Telework guidance can be found in Article 18 of our contract, the HUD Telework Handbook 625.1, and OPM's Guide to Telework in the Federal Government. The OPM's telework FAQs are also helpful.

HUD employees are permitted to telework up to three days per week (two if you are on a compressed work schedule).

Remember, telework is a privilege and not a right. Your request to telework may be denied either for business reasons or due to performance issues.

Regular Telework

You are eligible for telework if you have tasks and work activities that are portable, do not require you to be at the traditional worksite, and can be supervised regardless of where you work. Examples of eligible types of work include reviewing grants, reports, and cases; writing decisions or reports; researching and analyzing material; programming, data entry, and word processing, as well as editing and proofreading documents. You may be a good candidate for teleworking if your work does not require you to have daily face-to-face contact with your supervisor, colleagues, clients, or the general public, or require you to routinely access classified or other sensitive information/material. Note that access to personally identifiable information does not automatically prevent you from teleworking.

Situational Telework

The HUD Telework Policy also permits employees to telework up to five days per week for "situational telework." Situational telework covers situations such as when the official worksite is not usable during office renovation projects, or if a short-term work assignment is better performed at a site free from interruptions. It also applies to weather emergencies, when employees may prefer to work from home rather than taking leave or risking a hazardous commute. You must have a telework agreement in place even if you just want to use situational telework occasionally.

Work is not a place. It's what you do.

What can you do?

Under the Department's telework policy and our contract, you can:

  1. Apply for telework if you don't have a telework agreement now. Complete the Telework Application and Self-Certification Checklist (both are Word files).
  2. Apply to modify your telework agreement to increase the number of days you telework on a scheduled basis (up to three days per week).
  3. Request situational telework if you have a telework agreement in advance of particular days you want to telework.
  4. If you need to work from home due to a reasonable accommodation for a disability, our reasonable accommodation provisions apply.

OPM has estimated that each employee who teleworks three days per week can save 6,500 miles of commuting travel per year, as well as the corresponding fuel costs, wear and tear on a car, traffic delays, and stress. Telework is good for employees, good for HUD, good for the metro area, and good for the environment.

You have the right to:

Once your request has been approved, you do not need to reapply in the future to maintain the same telework schedule.

If you think your request to telework has been improperly denied, contact the Union.

Local 476 continues to work to improve telework benefits for our employees.

Telework at HUD

OPM's latest report on telework in the federal government covered fiscal year 2017. Read the full report here.

According to information HUD provided to OPM, 81% of eligible employees telework. That was 5,405 people in FY 2017. Of those 5405 employees:

Although many employees continue to encounter resistance from managers when they try to telework, especially up to the maximum three days per week permitted under our contract, HUD claimed to OPM that the Department has increased participation due to raising awareness of the telework program during "New Employee Orientations weekly to ensure new employees are aware of the program. Supervisors and Managers also mentioned to current employees throughout the year that they are telework eligible and then discussed the agency policy pertaining to telework."

In its report to OPM, HUD had set embarassingly low goals for telework participation in 2018: 5,513 participants (a 1.9% increase over 2017 participation rates), and 2,302 participants on a "frequent routine basis." Frequent routine means more than two days per pay period.

Do you need help getting approval to telework? Contact the Union for advice and assistance!