- 6.800.2 Telework (Flexiplace) Program
- 6.800.2.1 Overview
- 6.800.2.1.1 Legal Basis and Authorities
- 6.800.2.1.2 Definitions
- 6.800.2.1.3 Benefits of Telework
- 6.800.2.1.4 Types of Telework and Uses
- 6.800.2.2 Policy
- 6.800.2.3 Program Participation
- 6.800.2.3.1 Occupational Eligibility and Work Suitability
- 6.800.2.3.2 Employee Eligibility Criteria
- 6.800.2.3.3 Telework Training
- 6.800.2.3.4 Telework (Flexiplace) Work Agreements
- 6.800.2.3.5 Telework Tracking
- 6.800.2.3.6 Performance Standards and Expectations
- 6.800.2.3.7 Suspension, Modification, Termination or Denial of Telework Agreements
- 6.800.2.4 Responsibilities
- 6.800.2.5 Tours of Duty, Time and Attendance, Leave
- 6.800.2.6 Administrative Leave/ Excused Absence/ Dismissals and Emergency Closing
- 6.800.2.7 Injuries, Continuation of Pay, and Workers' Compensation
- 6.800.2.8 Pay Issues, Official Duty Station
- 6.800.2.9 Telework, Commuting and Travel
- 6.800.2.10 Facilities, Equipment and Furniture
- 6.800.2.10.1 Home Office Space
- 6.800.2.10.2 Home Utility Expenses
- 6.800.2.10.3 Equipment and Furniture
- 6.800.2.10.4 Computers and IRS Owned Equipment
- 6.800.2.10.5 Office Supplies
- 6.800.2.10.6 Home Inspections
- 6.800.2.10.7 Mail
- 6.800.2.11 Computer Security Requirements
- 6.800.2.12 Privacy Act and Sensitive Data
- 6.800.2.13 Dependent Care
- 6.800.2.14 Tax Benefits
- 6.800.2.15 Telework and Reasonable Accommodation
- 6.800.2.16 GSA Telework Centers
- Exhibit 6.800.2-1 Eligible IRS Telework Occupations
- Exhibit 6.800.2-2 Supplemental Telework Resources
- Exhibit 6.800.2-3 Suggested Books 24x7 Telework Program Literature
Part 6. Human Resources Management
Chapter 800. 0 Employee Benefits
Section 2. Telework (Flexiplace) Program
This section provides policy and guidance on the IRS Telework Program (also known as Flexiplace).
It provides the legal basis and administrative oversight of the program.
It further provides definitions of unique terms and agreements associated with Telework as well as key exhibits.
This section is subject to revision as the Telework regulations are amended periodically and as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) procedures are changed.
IRS Telework resources include:
Document 12524, "IRS Telework (Flexiplace) Program, Managers' Desk Guide" (Catalog Number 50988T). See http://core.publish.no.irs.gov/docs/pdf/50988c10.pdf
IRS Human Capital Office (HCO) website http://hco.web.irs.gov/compbenefits/wlprog/flexiplace
Employee Resource Center website http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/Question.asp?FolderID=5&CatagoryID=129&SubCategoryID=196 .
Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act Public Law 106-346, section 359, October 23, 2000http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ346.106.pdf.
31 USC 1348, note (from Public Law 104-52, § 620), November 19, 1995, http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=104_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ52.104.pdf.
Public Law 105-277, Omnibus Appropriation Act, Title IV, section 630, October 21, 1998http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=105_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ277.pdf.
Treasury Directive 74-14 Treasury, Alternative Workplace Arrangements, October 30, 2007 http://www.treas.gov/regs/td74-14.htm.
General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Management Regulation (FMR) Bulletin 2006-B3, Guidelines for Alternative Workplace Arrangements, March 17, 2006, http://www.gsa.gov/gsa/cm_attachments/GSA_DOCUMENT/AWABulletin-b3-2006_R25U8_0Z5RDZ-i34K-pR.pdf .
General Services Administration’s Federal Management Regulation (FMR) Bulletin 2007-B1, March 2, 2007 Information Technology and Telecommunications Guidelines for Federal Telework and Other Alternative Workplace Arrangement (AWA) Programs, http://www.gsa.gov/gsa/cm_attachments/GSA_DOCUMENT/FMR2007-B1_R2HB2C_0Z5RDZ-i34K-pR.pdf .
Alternative Workplace Arrangement (AWA)− a flexibility allowing employees to work in a non-traditional workplace setting, usually in an environment away from the official duty station, to accommodate the needs of the agency. This includes telework, use of telework centers, virtual offices, hoteling, and other alternative workplace arrangements. AWA addresses the location of the worksite as opposed to the work schedule.
Emergency Situation – includes national security situations, extended emergencies, or other unique situations when the agency is closed or access to the agency facility is compromised.
Hoteling – A form of AWA in which employees work in one facility (e.g., facility A) part of the time and at one or more alternative worksites the rest of the time. When working in facility A, these employees use non-dedicated, non-permanent workspaces assigned for use by reservation on an as-needed basis.
Local Commuting Area – As defined by 5 CFR §351.203 means "the geographic area that usually constitutes one area for employment purposes. It includes any population center (or two or more neighboring ones) and the surrounding localities in which people live and can reasonably be expected to travel back and forth daily to their usual employment."
Official Duty Station – Synonymous for official worksite. The official duty station for an employee's position of record as indicated on his or her most recent notification of personnel action (Form SF-50). An official IRS duty station (worksite) is defined as a building in which the IRS occupies space.
Official Worksite – Per OPM, the official worksite is the location of an employee’s position of record (duty station) where the employee regularly performs his or her duties or, if the employee’s work involves regular travel or the employee’s work location varies on a daily basis, where his or her work activities are based, as determined by the employing agency [5 CFR §531.605(a)].
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – information that, either alone or in combination with other information, can be used to uniquely identify an individual. PII includes names because they can be used to identify an individual when combined with other identifiers. PII includes the personal information of taxpayers, employees, contractors, applicants and visitors to the IRS. However, names of federal employees when used for business purposes, along with employee business phone numbers and business addresses are all considered publicly available information. Some examples of PII are:
Social Security numbers
Bank account numbers
Date and place of birth
Mother's maiden name
Biometric date (height, weight, eye color, fingerprints, etc.)
For further information, please refer to IRM 10.5.1, Privacy, Information Protection and Data Security.
Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) – Information which, if lost, misused, accessed or modified in an unauthorized way, could adversely affect the national interest, the conduct of Federal programs, or the privacy of individuals. Examples include: personal information, tax return information, law enforcement information, proprietary information, security information and, procurement sensitive data.
Telework (Flexiplace) – a form of AWA permitting employees to perform all or a portion of their officially assigned duties at an alternative worksite, including at home or other pre-approved locations (e.g., GSA Telework Center, Satellite IRS office) geographically convenient to the employee's residence.
Telework Center – A GSA facility that provides workstations and other office facilities/services that are used (typically on a fee or use/service basis) by employees from different agencies. Telework centers are equipped with telecommunications and other office equipment to facilitate communication with the official duty station and other places of business to perform daily work assignments.
Telework Agreement – A written agreement, completed and signed by an employee and his/her manager that outlines the terms and conditions of the telework arrangement. (Form 11386)
Telework (Alternative) Worksite – Place away from the official worksite (duty station) that has been approved for the performance of officially assigned duties. It may be an employee’s home, a satellite office, telework center or other approved worksite. Alternative worksites do not include locations such as other government offices, taxpayer or customer sites or training sites.
Teleworker – Employee who with the approval of his/her manager, works full or part-time at designated locations or worksites other than the official worksite.
Virtual office or virtual workplace – A work environment in which employees work cooperatively from different locations using a computer network as opposed to a single location site (facility) where workers are housed. The virtual office is typically a collaborative communications medium, such as a computer network, where workers gather electronically to collaborate and/or carry out other work activities. The actual physical locations of the employees working in a virtual office can be temporary or permanent and can be nearly anywhere, such as their homes, satellite offices, hotel rooms, corporate offices (shared work space), airports, airplanes, or automobiles.
Telework provides a means of responding to rapidly changing factors affecting today’s federal government and workforce-demographically, socially, and technologically. Business reasons for telework include:
Improved ability to continue agency work in the event of an emergency.
Enhanced recruitment and retention especially in critical occupations and positions.
Improved progress toward environmental sustainability.
Increased employee productivity and job satisfaction.
Improved work-life balance.
Occupational Telework – allows eligible employees to work full-time from a location (typically home) other than the official IRS worksite (duty station). A formal telework agreement is in effect.
Situational Telework – allows eligible employees to work up to 80 hours a month at a location (typically home) other than the official IRS duty station. A formal telework agreement is in effect. [Situational telework may be on a regular recurring basis (e.g. one or two days a week) or on a non-recurring basis (e.g. occasional, non-routine, ad-hoc, as needed)].
Temporary Telework – allows eligible employees to telework temporarily (usually not to exceed 120 days). A formal telework agreement must be completed if one does not exist. Situations where management may approve temporary telework include:
An employee is recovering from a temporary injury or medical condition.
A temporary situation causing "Hardship" such as a family medical situations or the transfer or relocation of a spouse
Emergency Telework – allows eligible employees to telework temporarily (occupational or situational) during an emergency. A formal telework agreement must be written if one does not exist. Situations where management may approve emergency telework include:
An employee is prevented from regularly commuting to their official worksite (duty station) due to an emergency such as a severe weather emergency (e.g., hurricane, flood), terrorist attack, or any other unique situation when the agency is closed or access to the agency facility is compromised.
Business resumption and continuity of operations plans may be put into place.
This policy establishes parameters for using telework at IRS and applies to all bureau components, bargaining and non-bargaining unit employees, managers and executives. It is designed to provide the structure needed for effective implementation and operation of telework at the IRS. Organizations finding the need for additional guidelines must ensure compliance with the provisions of this policy and fulfillment of applicable negotiated agreement obligations.
It is the policy of the IRS to provide its employees with the opportunity to participate in telework when practical and consistent with the agency mission. Use of the IRS Telework Program is encouraged for those projects/duties that are well-suited for completion at an alternative worksite. An employee may be allowed to participate in the telework program if the responsible manager (or designee) decides the employee's duties are appropriate for offsite work and the employee meets all criteria for eligibility.
Telework is a management option. Approval for participation in the IRS Telework Program is within a manager’s authority and is not guaranteed for an employee and is not an employee entitlement. The operational needs of the IRS are paramount. The mission of the agency and roles and responsibilities of a particular office and its employees determine how often and to what extent telework is approved.
Participation in the IRS Telework Program is voluntary and employees must meet agency eligibility criteria to participate in the Telework Program.
Employees must have a telephone, suitable workspace, utilities adequate for installing any needed IRS equipment and a general work environment that is free from interruptions and provides reasonable security and protection for government property and information prior to teleworking. The costs of these will not be paid for by the Service.
An employee's participation in the IRS Telework Program must not adversely affect the workload or performance of other employees in the office.
Teleworkers must report to their official worksite (duty station) on scheduled offsite workdays if needed, and requested, by the manager, for a variety of reasons such as, but not limited to: meetings, briefings, special assignments, emergencies, or duties which must be performed in the office. A request to report to the official duty station is not a termination of the telework arrangement. Employees' travel to the official worksite is commute time, not hours of work, unless the employee is called into the office unexpectedly during a normal workday.
Teleworkers must satisfactorily complete all assigned work, consistent with the approach adopted for all other employees in the work group, and according to standards and guidelines in the employee’s performance plan.
A telework agreement must be in effect prior to any teleworking arrangement commencing. When an employee makes a request in writing to participate in the telework program, the manager must then consider the request and respond in a timely manner.
Telework employees must physically report at least twice a pay period on a regular and recurring basis to the official IRS duty station for the employee’s position of record; as indicated on the most recent notification of personnel action (SF-50). The employee must report for the amount of time specified by the manager and that time must be during the employee's regular tour of duty. (See IRM 6.800.2.5.1 for exceptions).
The approved telework location must be within 125 miles of the employee's assigned post of duty (POD). Travel to and from the employee's assigned POD is not hours of work but rather normal commute time. Exceptions may be granted on a temporary basis if the nature of the employee's work permits such an exception and approval of the temporary exception is beneficial to the IRS. If requested, the employee must be able to report to his or her office for the normal tour of duty (TOD) on the following workday at no cost to the IRS. Furthermore the requirement to report to the POD could be for any number of workdays and will not entitle the employee to travel expenses and per diem.
Telework arrangements may be modified, adjusted, terminated or temporarily suspended at any time deemed necessary by management or when requested by an employee and should be made on a case-by-case basis and based on business needs or employee performance. A successful telework arrangement should not be suspended absent defined operational, security or regulatory concerns. Management will provide sufficient notice, when feasible before modifying or terminating a telework agreement.
If a telework request is denied or telework temporarily suspended or terminated, the manager will provide a written explanation upon request as to why the employee cannot participate in the telework program. A management decision to deny an employee’s telework request may be subject to the grievance procedure. Bargaining unit employees are covered under the negotiated collective bargaining agreement between IRS and NTEU. A non-bargaining unit employee whose request is denied may pursue the matter through the Agency Grievance System as outlined in IRM 6.771.1, Human Resources Management, Agency Grievance System.
Telework does not alter the terms and conditions of employment, including an employee’s underlying rate of basic salary, benefits, individual rights, or obligations. Matters regarding pay, such as a change in worksite (official duty station), overtime, call back, leave, travel entitlements, etc., will be administered in accordance with current law, rules, and regulations. Telework shall not affect other conditions of employment, (e.g., hours of work), unless specified in a written agreement.
Participation in telework shall not affect an employee’s eligibility for receipt of awards, promotions, or any other condition of employment consistent with applicable law, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations, and departmental and agency policy.
The IRS Telework Program allows for the use of GSA sponsored Telework Centers and it is managements' right to approve or disapprove of their use. Telework agreements should reflect the GSA telecenter location(s). Costs to use these centers will be paid for by the teleworkers’ business unit.
IRS policy is to use telework in combination with other flexible, alternative work arrangements and schedules as described in IRM 6.610.1, Hours of Duty and Work Scheduling, to accomplish work during organizational emergencies and personal temporary medical situations.
Participation by eligible employees is voluntary. Employee participation requires managerial approval.
A broad range of IRS occupations are eligible for each type of telework (occupational and situational) including bargaining unit, non-bargaining unit, management and executive positions (Exhibit 6.800.2-1.)
Typical telework jobs are those that can be performed independent of the official worksite (duty station), at least a portion of the work week, and when doing so, do not adversely affect the accomplishment of work or the performance of the participating employee or others in the work place. For example, telework may be appropriate for positions that require analysis, case reviews, decision making or report writing, arranging conferences, research, policy development, data entry, and/or word processing, and other computer based assignments.
A position may be suitable for telework if any of the following apply:
Work activities are portable, can be performed effectively outside of the traditional office and are conducive to supervisory oversight at the telework site.
Job tasks are easily quantifiable or primarily project oriented.
An employee's participation in the telework program will not adversely affect the workload or performance of other employees.
Contact with other employees and/or customers, is predictable.
Technology and equipment needed to perform the job offsite are available.
Office coverage, access to the customer, team involvement, and access to the manager are unaffected by the employee's location.
A position may not be suitable for telework if any of the following apply:
Daily access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and sensitive materials is needed and may not be removed from the official worksite (duty station) or is not accessible by computer.
Regular face-to-face contact or other on-site activities are needed to fill requirements of the position and cannot be adequately achieved at a telework site.
If it is a trainee or entry-level position.
Special facilities or equipment necessary to perform the job cannot be made available
Duplication of security at an alternate site is too costly.
Privacy Act, security, or health safety concerns cannot be adequately addressed.
In addition to the occupation being eligible for telework (Exhibit 6.800.2-1. for a list of Eligible IRS Telework Occupations.) IRS employees must meet certain basic eligibility criteria to be considered for participation in any form of telework.
Must have been an employee of the Service for at least twelve (12) months.
Must have a "Fully Successful" (or equivalent) performance appraisal; cannot be on a formal Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). If the employee is on a PIP, he or she is not considered to be fully successful and is not eligible for participation in the IRS Telework Program until performance returns to the fully successful level. If the employee has worked more than 12 months and has not received a performance appraisal, they are assumed to be fully successful.
Must not have received any disciplinary/adverse actions in the last twelve months that would impact the integrity of the IRS Telework Program.
Must be at the journey or full-working level of his or her position, or have been in the position for more than two (2) years, whichever is less. ["Position" refers to the position occupied by the employee and the journey level specific to that position. The two year requirement is total time on the assigned position, not time at a specific grade.]
Must have a telephone, work space suitable to perform work, utilities adequate for installing equipment, and a general work environment that is free from interruptions and provides reasonable security and protection for government property (the cost of these will not be paid by the Service).
After the employee and manager tentatively agree to the employee's participation in the IRS Telework Program, they should receive proper training. Telework training is available to help educate both managers and employees on working in a telework environment. Both managers and employees should complete the training prior to beginning a telework arrangement. These generic, governmentwide courses provide helpful and needed information on telework concepts and how best to implement telework within the workgroup. Courses are available on ELMS at https://elms.web.irs.gov/ or by logging onto www.telework.gov . Users select whichever course is appropriate-manager or employee:
Course 19393 - Telework 101 for Employees: Making Telework Work for You Employee topics include: expectations of personal responsibility, accountability, time management and self-discipline, communicating with supervisors, ways to avoid isolation, and contact and meetings with co-workers and customers, etc.
Course 19413 - Telework 101 for Managers: Making Telework Work for You Management topics include: managing for results, establishing quality and quantity norms, planning, scheduling, and tracking assignments and milestones, administration of work schedules, and supervisory expectations on communicating with the telework employee.
Completion of the courses may be indicated in the Employee’s Training History. After the manager and the employee complete the training they should discuss any questions and ensure understanding.
Supplemental telework resources are listed in Exhibit 6.800.2-2, Supplemental Telework Resources. These optional resources supplement the required OPM telework courses.
Subsequent to the manager's final approval to authorize the employee to telework, the IRS Telework (Flexiplace) Agreement must be completed and signed. Managers should keep copies of all telework agreements on file.
The telework agreement is a written agreement between employee and manager requiring each to adhere to applicable guidelines and policies. Each employee and manager must sign a telework agreement that covers the terms and conditions of the employee’s telework arrangement.
Anyone who participates in the IRS Telework Program must have a signed telework agreement in effect. This applies to bargaining unit and non-bargaining unit employees, IRS managers and executives. Both Occupational and Situational (recurring and nonrecurring) employees are required to have a signed telework agreement. No matter how frequently or infrequently an employee intends to telework, a written agreement should be executed between the employee and manager.
The primary purpose of the telework agreement is to specify the terms of the Telework Program and it constitutes an agreement between the voluntarily participating employee and his/her manager who will retain the agreement. The information in the agreement may be used in administrative or judicial proceedings affecting employees’ personnel rights. The work agreement covers items such as:
Assignment is for the performance of official duties.
Telework work option (Occupational or Situational).
Telework work location.
Work days and duty hours at the alternate worksite.
Responsibilities for time and attendance, leave approval, requests for credit, overtime and compensatory time.
Proper use and safeguard of government property.
Records and standards of conduct.
Expectations regarding work continuation for teleworking employees during a temporary hardship arrangement, closing/early dismissal and/or emergency may be indicated in the comments section of the telework agreement.
The IRS tracks employee telework (flexiplace) participation via Single Entry Time Reporting System (SETR). Only employees who have signed telework agreements in effect should be considered telework employees and their telework time tracked.
An employee's telework (flexiplace) time must be reported in SETR. Employees must submit their time and attendance in accordance with existing policy making certain to appropriately indicate their hours of telework. In addition, employees who input their time into SETR must also report telework in SETR. The SETR Forms 3081 (2-week Excel version and 1-week version) have been updated to include a telework (flexiplace) column for recording telework (flexiplace) days/times worked. Also, the Privacy Act Statement, located in SETR-Resources, has been revised to include the telework (flexiplace) requirement. See SETR Alert 2009-23 for further guidance.
Managers are responsible for properly certifying time and attendance and ensuring telework (flexiplace) information is recorded in SETR. See SETR Alert 2009-23 for further guidance.
Managing an employee participating in telework is essentially no different than managing an employee in the official duty station. Remote management, including telework, requires managers to be more diligent in managing for results and focusing on outcomes, business results and deliverables. Strong performance management skills are important. The employee on telework is still held accountable for the Rules of Conduct, Performance Standards, Time and Attendance, Ethics and all other regulations applicable to their position.
The processes for managing the performance of all employees should include:
Planning work and setting expectations.
Developing employee skills.
Recognizing employees for their accomplishments.
Performance expectations and standards should not change. Performance evaluations should be based upon the same expectations of work which apply in the official worksite (duty station). Employees participating in telework should have no higher performance expectations than do those who are not participating.
IRS places a high premium on ethical standards and expects employees to conscientiously perform their duties at all times. All standards governing ethical behavior remain in effect regardless of how, where or when the work is performed.
Telework requests may be denied and telework agreements may be terminated. Telework is not an employee right, even if the employee is considered "eligible" by OPM or agency standards.
Denial of telework must be based on a valid business reason. Examples include, but are not limited to:
Based on Staffing Reason - Managers may deny a telework agreement if, due to staffing issues, an employee who otherwise has portable duties must provide on-site office coverage.
Based on Performance of the Employee - Managers can deny telework if an employee’s performance is not at least "fully successful" level.
Based on Organizational Needs - Managers can deny telework in instances which may result in severe work interruption, insufficient office coverage, lack of appropriate security/equipment or where the nature of the work otherwise precludes participation.
Managers may temporarily suspend, modify, or terminate a telework arrangement. Decisions to temporarily suspend, modify, or terminate a telework arrangement must be made by the manager on a case-by-case basis and must be based on business needs or employee performance. Examples of reasons for temporary suspension, modification, or termination of a telework arrangement would include:
Anytime an employee falls below minimum eligibility requirements.
Issuance if a PIP, leave restriction letter, or intent to deny a within-grade-increase.
An employee who otherwise has portable duties is required to provide on-site office coverage.
The employee's performance declines and the decline can be reasonably attributed to working on telework (e.g., reduction in a mid-year or end-of-year appraisal, 2 negative recordations separated by at least 60 days for employees at the journey level or higher, or 2 negative recordations separated by at least 30 days for employees below the journey level.)
Receiving any disciplinary/adverse action in the last 12 months that would impact the integrity of the Telework Program.
A change in the employee's duties due to a conduct investigation in which management has sufficient evidence of serious wrongdoing that would impact the integrity of the Telework Program.
Failing to report to the assigned post of duty at least twice each pay period or if the work location varies on a recurring basis, failure to regularly perform work within the locality pay area.
Refusal of a worksite inspection designed to ensure that information systems and sensitive information procedures are in place at the alternate worksite.
Before a manager makes any determinations on denying telework, changing the conditions of the telework arrangement, or revoking an existing telework arrangement, he/she should contact their Servicing labor relations office.
IRS managers and employees both have responsibilities for ensuring a successful telework arrangement. Managers and employees are encouraged to work together to develop telework arrangements that work best for the specific needs of their work unit.
The responsibilities of managers are as follows:
Review, approve or deny applications for participation in the IRS Telework Program.
Determine when job tasks/duties are appropriate for a telework arrangement.
Meet with employees working Occupational telework a minimum of at least once a year for the purpose of discussing, reviewing and updating the telework agreement.
Meet with employees to give assignments and review work as necessary at either the official worksite (duty station), approved telework location, or a mutually agreed upon site.
Develop and discuss performance plans and goals with employees prior to beginning the telework assignment. Discussion of plans will also occur during mid-year and year-end performance reviews.
Communicate effectively with employees.
Direct telework employees to report to the office for events requiring their presence. These can include, but are not limited to, activities such as office assignment for walk-in duty, group meetings, work load review meetings with the manager, and training classes.
Ensure adherence to provisions of IRM 11.3.1,Introduction to Disclosure; IRM 10.8.1, Information Technology Security Policy and Guidance; IRM 10.8.26, Laptop Computer Security Policy ; and IRM 10.2.1, Physical Security Standards. Managers are responsible for ensuring employees complete the annual Information Protection Mandatory Briefing (which addresses Disclosure/Privacy, Computer Security, and UNAX).
Properly certify time and attendance of telework employees. Managers have the ultimate responsibility for ensuring their employees track telework participation.
Work with employees to obtain appropriate equipment through MITS OS GetServices and Real Estate and Facilities Management (REFM)
Work with employees to design the telework arrangement so as to reduce employee isolation from the remainder of the staff and facilitate communication between the office and telework employee. (There are many techniques for overcoming feelings of isolation. These include core days in the office and frequent communication by telephone or voice mail. Telework employees should be included in all scheduled meetings and events).
Managers should ensure that efforts are made to include telework employees as part of the team. Telework employees should be kept abreast of office events that may be of interest to them.
The responsibilities of employees are as follows:
Provide management specific information regarding work schedule, type of work to be performed and location of the alternative work place. This includes the obligation to inform management when unable to perform work due to illness or personal problems during the telework tour of duty and requesting appropriate leave.
Accurately report time and attendance. Employees must submit their time and attendance in accordance with existing policy making certain to appropriately code their hours of telework.
Contact the official worksite (duty station) to retrieve messages and to notify management of changes in work locations.
Meet organizational requirements regarding communication and accessibility.
Protect all Personally Identifiable Information (PII). PII includes the personal data of taxpayers, and also the personal information of employees, contractors, applicants, and visitors to the IRS. For further information, refer to IRM 10.5.1, Privacy, Information Protection and Data Security.
Comply with all required security measures and disclosure provisions, including password protection and data encryption so that at no time are the security, disclosure, or Privacy Act requirements of the Service compromised. Further guidance can be found in IRM 11.3.1, Introduction to Disclosure.
Adhere to records management guidelines outlined in Record and Information Management IRMs (IRM 1.15.1 through IRM 1.15.7).
Comply with all security and disclosure requirements in the use of telecommunication systems and equipment. Further guidance is found in the Information Technology Security Policy and Guidance,IRM 10.8.1.
Ensure that government provided equipment and property is used only for authorized purposes. Employees should review IRM 10.8.27, Internal Revenue Service Policy On Limited Personal Use Of Government Information Technology Resources, for guidance on limited personal use of IRS owned computers.
Protect all IRS equipment. Secure unattended laptops or other equipment (e.g., Blackberries, flash drives, CDs, diskettes) whether it is in the office, home, or in a hotel room.
Ensure Enterprise Desk Encryption (EDE) software is installed on assigned IRS-owned laptops or desktops to protect the contents of the hard drive. If the computer is lost or stolen, unauthorized users will not be able to access any data on the hard drive.
Report all computer security incidents to management and the Computer Security Incident Response Center by calling 866.216.4809. If the incident involves the loss or theft of an IT asset or hardcopy data, contact TIGTA at 800.366.4484. Refer to IRM 10.5.3.6 - Reporting Losses, Thefts and Disclosures of Sensitive Information.
Reportable Information System incidents include, but are not limited to:
Unauthorized disclosure of information.
Inadvertent disclosure of information.
Viruses and malicious code.
Loss or theft of equipment, software, or information.
Deliberate alteration or destruction of data or equipment.
Unauthorized access attempt.
The governing rules, regulations, and policies concerning tours of duty, time and attendance, leave, compensatory time, and overtime remain unchanged by telework arrangements. Existing laws in Title 5 of the U.S. Code and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) apply to flexible work place arrangements.
Employees are in a duty status when teleworking. They are expected to be in a situation where they have the resources necessary to do their jobs, and to concentrate on official duties without interruption.
Employees will be permitted to work at home or other alternate worksites full days or a portion of a day when approved for a telework arrangement.
Employees may work any schedule allowed for their positions under their Alternate Work Schedule (AWS) agreement. Unstructured/staggered work schedules are prohibited.
Managers must accurately certify time and attendance in SETR to ensure employees are paid only for work performed, and absences from scheduled tours of duty are accounted for correctly.
An employee's telework time must be reported in SETR. Employees must submit their time and attendance in accordance with existing policy making certain to appropriately code their hours of telework.
Employees on an approved flexible work schedule (e.g., Flexitour with Credit Hours; maxiflex for revenue agents/officers) may earn credit hours. Credit hours may be worked at the request of employees with prior managerial approval.
Overtime and compensatory time is ordered by management and must be approved in advance.
Regulations regarding leave remain unchanged under the IRS Telework Program. Leave must be requested and approved in accordance with existing practices, laws, regulations, and agency and departmental policy (see IRM 6.630.1, IRS Absence and Leave.)
Managers must clearly articulate the rules for use of leave and the leave approval process. Telework employees are expected to adhere to the same policies and procedures as non-telework employees.
One of the major benefits of the telework program is the ability for employees to continue working at their alternative worksites during a disruption of Government operations. In recognition of the growing importance of teleworkers in maintaining the continuity of Government operations, agencies may require teleworkers to work when the agency is closed. A telework employee may be required to continue to work if the IRS closes (or dismisses employees early) on his or her telework day.
Although a variety of circumstances may affect individual situations, the principles governing administrative leave/excused absence, dismissals, and emergency closings remain the same.
Employees at an alternate worksite (teleworksite) when their office is closed are not granted excused absences unless the condition which impacted the office also impacts the teleworksite and prevents employees from performing work (e.g., power outage).
Employees at a teleworksite who experience an emergency (e.g., power outage) which has not impacted the official duty station must contact their manager. Employees may be directed to report to the official worksite (duty station) or another alternate worksite to complete their workday.
During an emergency or early dismissal/closing, employees on telework agreements are expected to perform their duties on their assigned telework day unless they are prevented from accomplishing work because of the same emergency condition that caused the office to close (e.g., a snow storm caused a power outage and prevented the telework employee from completing his or her work assignments at home).
Any requirement that a telework employee continue to work if the agency closes (or dismisses employees early) on his or her telework day should be included in the employee's telework agreement.
IRM 6.610.1.3.2, Hours of Duty and Work Scheduling provides further guidance on administrative leave during office closings.
IRS employees causing or suffering work-related injuries and/or damages at the alternative worksite (home, telework center, or other location) are covered by the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act, the Federal Tort Claims Act, or the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (worker's compensation), as appropriate.
The above coverage is contingent upon the employee’s home worksite being approved by the appropriate supervisor, as consistent with the law. Further information and guidance can be found on the Employee Resources Center site: http://erc.web.irs.gov.
All leave and travel entitlements are based on the employee's official worksite (duty station). Any locality pay rate, wage rate, or special rate entitlement is based on the official worksite (duty station). For an employee who teleworks from an alternate worksite, the employee’s official worksite (duty station) is the location of the employee’s main or reporting office.
The official worksite (duty station) of an IRS employee is defined as a building in which the IRS occupies space and may not be the employee’s home or other location not occupied by the IRS. Telework employees must report at least twice a pay period on a regular and recurring basis to the official IRS duty station for the employee’s position of record [As indicated on the most recent Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50)]. There are certain temporary exceptions to the twice a pay period reporting requirement:
If an employee’s work location varies on a daily basis (e.g., a revenue agent working at a taxpayer site), then the employee need not report to the official IRS duty station twice a pay period as long as the employee is performing work within the locality pay area of their official IRS duty station on a regular and recurring basis.
If an employee is recovering from an injury or medical condition or is assisting with a family member’s recovery from an injury or medical condition (an employee should request leave for the period of time they are providing direct care and/or assisting a recovering a family member).
An emergency [e.g., severe weather (hurricane, flood, etc.)] prevents the employee from commuting to the official worksite (duty station).
The employee is away from the area on extended official travel (5CFR §531.605).
The travel provisions that apply to employees working at the official duty station also apply to employees who telework. Commuting time from home to work and vice versa is not hours of work. A teleworker who is directed to travel to another worksite (including the official worksite) during his or her regularly scheduled basic tour of duty would have the travel hours credited as hours of work.
Management reserves the right to require employees to report to the official duty station on scheduled telework days based on operational requirements.
Telework employees who participate in the Public Transportation Subsidy Program (PTSP) have several options to adjust their subsidy amount:
Employees may adjust their travel subsidy amount during the next subsidy distribution to accommodate their telework schedule.
Employees who telework on an ongoing basis (e.g., occupational telework employees) may submit a PTSP-Changes/Updates Form - Online form located on OS GetServices under Other Services, Travel, PTSP.
Employees may also submit a manual Form 11664-C to make adjustments to their travel subsidy.
Employees must have a suitable space to work at home. IRS has established guidelines and policy on the issuance and use of government owned equipment, furniture, and supplies. Employees and managers need to work with MITS support staff to ensure IT equipment complies with agency policy on information systems and computer security. This includes the protection of sensitive files and documents needed for work.
Telework employees working at home must have a designated work space or workstation for performance of work. Requirements will vary depending on the nature of the work and equipment needed. An employee is responsible for ensuring that his or her home/workspace is safe and in compliance with safety requirements/guidelines. While at home, the employee is responsible for maintaining his/her home in a safe manner, over which the employer has no control of hazards.
The IRS assumes no responsibility for any operating costs associated with an employee using his or her personal equipment, and residence as an alternative worksite. This includes home maintenance, insurance, utilities, telephone lines, broadband/DSL connection, etc.
Managers should assess the equipment needed for telework employees to accomplish their job and determine whether such equipment needs to be supplied to the employee. IRS-owned computers and telecommunications equipment may be placed in employee homes. Employees are limited in using such equipment for private purposes. While it is recognized that technology must be available to support the IRS Telework Program in order for the Service to achieve its mission, it is also understood that the Service may not necessarily make additional equipment/technology purchases for the purpose of facilitating the IRS Telework Program.
Employees participating in Occupational Telework will be provided the following equipment:
A lockable file cabinet.
A calculator, only if related to the job duties of the employee.
For communications, employees will be provided with a cell phone or calling card.
Employees will use the IRS-owned computer that was provided to them before being approved for Occupational Telework. If the IRS-owned computer is a desktop, it will be equipped with ERAP or more advanced technology for remote network access.
A second telephone line if the employee has not been issued a cell phone and can demonstrate that their personal telephone line is otherwise not available (e.g., used for other business by a family member).
Employees participating in Situational Telework will be provided a government calling card and/or alphanumeric pager to assist in their communication needs (if requested and related to their job duties). Based upon the work approved for the Situational Telework arrangement, and to the extent laptops are available through the loaner laptop program, employees will be provided a loaner laptop if they do not already have a laptop as part of their normal job duties.
Managers should follow REFM Policy #06-05 to request a file cabinet for occupational telework employees.
Calling cards should be ordered via the MITS website: http://phonecard.web.irs.gov/
To request computers, printers, faxes, cell phones, or other ADP equipment, managers should contact MITS OS GetServices website at http://GetITServices.web.irs.gov.
As part of the telework agreement, IRS-owned property, including computers, docking stations, software, and other telecommunications equipment may be used by employees in their private residences, provided the property is used exclusively for official business. IRS will retain ownership and control of hardware, software, and data in these situations. Software other than that provided by IRS shall not be installed on IRS-owned equipment.
IRS is responsible for maintenance, repair, and replacement of official equipment. The employee must notify the manager immediately following a malfunction of IRS-owned equipment. The employee may be required to bring some equipment such as a desktop or laptop computer into the office for repairs. If repairs are extensive, and replacement equipment is not available, the employee may be required to report to the official worksite until usable equipment is available.
If IRS-owned or controlled equipment and/or software is damaged by non-employees (e.g., relatives or dependents of the employee), the employee will be held liable for all repair or replacements to the same extent they are presently held accountable, when loaned equipment is damaged due to negligence.
Employees and managers must identify the appropriate reference sources and other materials necessary to work at the alternate worksite, and ensure that the telework employee has access to those items.
Transfer of furniture, supplies, computers, software, printers, and other data processing equipment between the office and the alternative worksite, is the responsibility of the telework employee, the manager, and local REFM staff.
Employees should review IRM 10.8.27 , Internal Revenue Service Policy On Limited Personal Use of Government Information Technology Resources, for guidance on limited personal use of IRS owned computers.
Employees participating in the IRS Telework Program will be allowed to use general office supplies (e.g., paper, pens, toner, etc.) needed to perform official duties.
Unless otherwise agreed, a minimum of 24 hours advance notice must be given before management may inspect the employee's home worksite to ensure that Information Systems and sensitive information procedures are in place at the alternate worksite. Such inspections should be conducted during the employee's normal working hours to ensure proper maintenance and operation of IRS-owned property.
If the employee refuses a worksite inspection, the manager may immediately cancel the employee's telework arrangement and the employee must surrender all IRS owned equipment and return to the official duty station.
The Services’ mail management program provides that the mail room will be the focal point for all incoming and outgoing mail.
Managers will be notified of inappropriate and misuse of mail funds and/or services. See IRM 1.22.5,Mail and Transportation Management, for further guidance on the IRS mail policy.
The Information Technology Security Policy (IRM 10.8.1) and the Laptop Computer Security Policy (IRM 10.8.26) provide information and guidance on computer security.
Only hardware/software configurations approved by the IRS, and authorized by an approving official for the alternate worksite shall be installed on IRS-owned or controlled computers. No personally owned computers, printers or software will be used for processing PII or sensitive information. All secure information, including sensitive but unclassified information in the possession of the telework employee, must be kept in a locking file cabinet or drawer, consistent with IRS Security policy.
Telework employees must comply with IRS security procedures, and ensure adequate security measures are in place to protect the equipment and information housed or stored on assigned computers. Failure to comply with security procedures and regulations may be grounds for termination.
Employees are prohibited from using personally owned computers, including portable electronic devices, to access, process or store SBU information. This includes tax, financial, personal, law enforcement and proprietary information. Employees are also responsible for protecting any taxpayers, and also the personal information of employees, contractors, applicants and visitors to the IRS. All PII in employee possession (whether the PII is in paper form or in IRS computer equipment and computer systems) must be protected.
To ensure the safety of data, employees should:
Protect equipment. When laptop or other computer equipment ( e.g., Blackberries, flash drives, CDs, diskettes) is left unattended, whether it’s in the office, in the home, or in a hotel room, make sure it is securely locked. Use the IRS provided cables and cable locks to secure your laptop. Cable locks should be used to secure laptops when employees are working in their regular work space (worksite), working out of the office or in travel status.
Never check computer equipment as luggage. Always maintain possession of computer equipment and watch it carefully while traveling. Under no circumstances should computer equipment be left unattended.
Protect sensitive data. IRS computers have a special folder for sensitive but unclassified (SBU) data. Data in the folder is encrypted, or coded, to protect it. Always save and encrypt sensitive data in the laptop's "SBU Data" folder.
Report any security incident. Employees should immediately report all security incidents to their manager and to the IRS Computer Security Incident Response Center (CSIRC) at http://www.csirc.web.irs.gov to reduce the impact/severity of the incident.
Access to sensitive materials must be consistent with regulations on Production or Disclosure of Information or Materials (34 CFR Parts 5 and 5b; 5 USC 552 and 552a) (Privacy Act), and IRM 11.3.1, Introduction to Disclosure, IRM 10.81., Information Technology Security and Guidance, and IRM 10.2.1, Physical Security Program.
Employees must comply with all required security measures and disclosure provisions, including password protection and data encryption so that at no time are the security, disclosure, or Privacy Act requirements of the Service are compromised.
Files and other information subject to the Privacy Act regulations must be secured in a way that renders these records and data inaccessible to anyone other than the employee. At a minimum, this will require that all records and data be kept under lock and key when not in the possession of the employee.
Sensitive information must be properly disposed of according to IRM 1.15.3 , Disposal of Records.
The Telework Program is not intended to reduce or serve as a substitute for child care, day care, elder care or any other type of dependent care. Employees are to treat work hours as if they were at the worksite, giving full time and attention to work duties and responsibilities.
Telework can provide valuable assistance with dependent care. Time saved commuting to work can be spent with family members. For example, a parent may need fewer hours after school to care for a school age child, or an adult child may have time to take an aging parent to the doctor. However, dependent care arrangements will not typically change because of telework, since employees should not be engaged in care giving activities while working. For example, children previously in a child care center during the work day should remain in the center. However, a teen-ager or elderly dependent might be at home while the telework employee works if those dependents are independently pursuing their own activities.
An employee who uses a portion of his or her home for the benefit of the Service may be subject to current tax regulation and benefits. If an employee uses a portion of his or her home for business purposes, he/she may be able to take a home office deduction. For more information see IRS Pub 587, Business Use of Your Home, available at www.irs.gov .
The IRS Telework Program may be used to provide reasonable accommodation for employees who qualify, including those employees who have partially recovered from work-related injuries/illness, and who can perform work on a full or part-time basis from an alternative worksite. Further information is available on the IRS Reasonable Accommodation website at http://1step4ra.web.irs.gov/ and through the Employee Resource Center website at http://erc.web.irs.gov/Displayanswers/Question.asp?FolderID=6 &CategoryID=162.
The General Services Administration (GSA) Telework Centers house employees of more than one agency and include work stations and equipment similar to the traditional office environment. GSA has established a network of fourteen telework centers across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Typical centers include desks, computers with high-speed modems, Internet access, copiers, laser and color printers, copy machines, fax machines, lockable personal storage, e-mail and file transfer capabilities and conference areas. Information and costs can be found at the GSA Telework Center web site,http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?P=PLTC&content=19845&contentType=GSA_BASIC .
GSA Telework Centers are an alternative worksite to employee’s residences. These telework centers offer a range of priced space options and can be leased on a short or long-term basis. An employee’s use of a telework center must be in accordance with law and regulation. The cost for use of a telework center is paid by an employee's business unit. Employees and their managers should contact the GSA Telework Center directly to arrange employee use.
To use a telework center, an employee must have an approved telework agreement signed by both the employee and manager. Contact the Telework Center Director to determine availability and to obtain specific information about the Telework Center you select. Employees may register through the Telework OnLine Billing System (TOLBS) https://tolbs.pbs.gsa.gov/tolbs/. In compliance with OMB, the preferred method of payment for Federal employees will be by Interagency Agreement (IAA), processed through the IPAC system. Agencies will need to record their obligating document numbers on the IAA provided in the Telework On-Line Billing System, TOLBS.
Following is a list of approved IRS telework occupations:
|Occupational Telework Occupations|
|• Non-Coordinated Industry Case (CIC) Revenue Agents|
|• Computer Audit Specialists|
|• Revenue Officers, Offer in Compromise (OIC), Revenue Officer Examination (ROE)|
|• Estate & Gift Tax Attorneys|
|• Engineers and Appraisers|
|• Dyed Diesel Fuel Compliance Officers|
|• Program/Management Analyst|
|• Tax Specialist in Taxpayer Education Communications (TEC) (SB/SE)/ Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication (SPEC) (W&I)|
|• Appeals Officers and Auditors (Technical Specialists & Settlement Specialists)|
|• Revenue Officer (RO) and Revenue Agent (RA) Advisors in Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) and RO Reviewers and Advisors in SB/SE, provided their participation is deemed suitable under the criteria set out in section 6.800.2.3.|
|• Applications Development employees in MITS|
|Situational Telework Occupations|
|• All positions eligible for Occupational Telework|
|• Coordinated Industry Case (CIC) Revenue Agents|
|• Secretarial and Clerical support positions|
|• Research Staff|
|• Employee Development Specialist (Human Resource Specialist)|
|• Resident Lead Instructors|
|• Tax Auditors/Tax Compliance Officers|
|• Correspondence Tax Examiners|
|• Revenue Officer (RO) and Accounting Aides|
|• Taxpayer Resolution Representative (TRR) (excluding walk-in)|
|• Case Advocates (CA), Associate Advocates (AA) and all other employees of Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)|
|• SB/SE COIC employees|
|• SB/SE Bankruptcy and Insolvency employees|
|• All other positions that can be performed independent of the conventional office, at least a portion of the day or week, and have little or no negative impact upon the remaining work are also eligible.|
Listed below are optional, voluntary courses and books related to telework. These resources supplement the OPM telework courses.
|Communication Curriculum||ELMS course ID Number||Total Hours|
|Techniques for Improved Time Management||28035||2.5|
|Workplace Communication Skills (Communicating for Results)||27711||3.5|
|Business Writing: How to Write Clearly and Concisely||29667||1|
|Essential Skills for Professional Telephone Calls||29665||1|
|Managing Your E-mails||29664||1|
|Management Curriculum||ELMS course ID Number||Total Hours|
|Launching Successful Virtual and On-Site Teams||28065||3|
|Leading High-performance On-site Teams||28066||3.5|
|Leading High-performance Virtual Teams||28067||3.5|
|Facilitating Virtual and On-Site Teams||28068||4|
|Employee Curriculum||ELMS course ID Number||Total Hours|
|Telecommuting Basics: Maximizing Productivity as a Remote Employee||29643||1|
|Telecommuting Basics: Communication Strategies for the Remote Employee||29644||1|
|Suggested Readings for Managers|
|1) Making Telework Work: Leading People and Leveraging Technology for High- Impact Results by Evan H. Offstein and Jason M. Morwick Nicholas Brealey Publishing © 2009 (208 pages) Citation ISBN: 9780891062523|
|2) Work Naked: Eight Essential Principles for Peak Performance in the Virtual Workplace by Cynthia C. Froggatt Jossey-Bass © 2001 (316 pages) Citation ISBN: 9780787953904|
|3) Managing Information in the Public Sector by Jay D. White M. E. Sharpe, Inc. © 2007 (332 pages) Citation ISBN: 9780765617491|
|4) Working Virtually: Challenges of Virtual Teams by Robert C. Jones, Robert Lee Oyung and Lise Shade Pace IGI Publishing © 2005 (224 pages) Citation ISBN: 9781591405856|
|Suggested Readings for Employees|
|1) Telecommunications Pocket Reference by Travis Russell McGraw-Hill © 2000 (367 pages) Citation ISBN: 9780071351409|
|2) 101 Tips for Telecommuters: Successfully Manage Your Work, Team, Technology and Family by Debra A. Dinnocenzo Berrett-Koehler Publishers © 1999 (250 pages) Citation ISBN: 9781576750698|
|3) Remote Working: Linking People and Organizations by David Nickson and Suzy Siddons Butterworth-Heinemann © 2004 (228 pages) Citation ISBN: 9780750658591|