New work at home directive begins March 30 (only employees directed by their supervisor to perform mission essential work may work from an IRS POD)


March 28, 2020

We have all been monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States with great interest and concern. We extend our heartfelt thoughts for you and your loved ones as we work through this national emergency.

The IRS has strongly encouraged telework-eligible employees to telework. Now we must do more to support our social distancing efforts to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. As a result of recent OPM guidance, starting Monday, March 30, 2020, the IRS is directing all employees, including employees who are currently not teleworking but whose work is portable or can be adapted to work off-site, to evacuate the work site and work from home (or an alternate location) – including employees who are not currently on a telework agreement.

By directing employees who can work from home (or an alternate location) to do so, we're not only decreasing your potential exposure, but also reducing the risk of exposure for those employees who must remain on site.

All employees affected by this directive must take their equipment home to be prepared to work from home. Employees who don't already have their equipment at home, or are not working on March 30, will receive appropriate direction from your supervisor. Let your supervisor know if you have any concerns about your ability to work from home. Also review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) under the subcategory of "New Teleworkers" for clarification on specific questions or concerns.

Unless you are directed by your supervisor, we encourage you to stay in the safety of your telework location. Beginning Monday, March 30, building access will be restricted to pick up items like work assignments, mail related to your assigned work, and supplies, and to those performing functions that must continue during the national emergency and can only be performed on-site.

Employees who must continue to come into the office to complete mission-critical duties that can't be performed remotely will receive additional guidance from your supervisor.

This directive follows guidance in 5 CFR Sections 550.402 and 550.409, and is in response to the pandemic health crisis declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. In addition, it follows OMB memorandum M-20-16, "Federal Agency Operational Alignment to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus COVID-19," signed March 17, 2020. This authority also allows the IRS to assign employees any work considered necessary or required without regard to the employee's grade, level, or title during a national emergency. As a result, you may be asked to perform work that is different from what you normally perform. If that's the case, you'll be notified by your supervisor.

The way we've all worked together to handle our response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been exemplary. We appreciate your collaborative efforts and the many suggestions and questions you've submitted. These have helped us to better prepare, respond and protect you in addition to continuing the agency's mission. We're confident that together, we'll meet whatever challenges arise.

We know this is a difficult and stressful time for many. We want to remind you about the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Currently, EAP is only accepting counseling sessions by phone, but they will connect you with a counselor right away. Confidential assistance is available toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 800-222-0364 (TTY: 888-262-7848).

Thank you for all that you do for the IRS and for the nation.

Wishing you and your family good health,

Robin D. Bailey, Jr.
IRS Human Capital Officer

Kevin Q. McIver
Deputy IRS Human Capital Officer