Section 1. Purpose.
- Based upon and in recognition of the success of the Guild’s Telework Pilot, this article states the procedures and circumstances under which full-time and part-time employees, who are bargaining unit employees represented by the Guild, and who have permanent, indefinite, and indefinite not-to-exceed (NTE) appointments, are eligible to participate in Telework (Working Offsite).
- All provisions of this Article shall be fairly and equitably administered.
Section 2. Policy
- Telework is intended to enhance the meeting of the Library’s missions and goals, and to:
- Improve the recruitment and retention of high-quality employees;
- Reduce stress on building security by reducing the flow of people needing access to Library buildings;
- Better ensure the smooth continuity of operations in emergency situations;
- Provide societal benefits, such as reduced traffic congestion, decreased energy consumption and pollution, and improved road safety; and,
- Improve employee morale, flexibility, job satisfaction, and reduce absenteeism.
- Telework is granted at the discretion of an Approving Official.
- Employee participation in telework is voluntary except under specifically designated emergency situations.
Section 3. Definitions
- Approving Official: the service or infrastructure unit head or his/her designee.
- Official Duty Station: the official duty station of an employee participating in telework is the employee’s Library of Congress office space.
- Offsite Work Location: the area within an employee’s home or other approved location away from the employee’s official duty station.
- Telework: work that is portable and easy to measure and thus may be performed at the offsite work location.
- Telework Application and Agreement: Form 142 Authorization and Agreement for Library Staff to Telework (Work Offsite) (or any successor form) submitted by the employee and/or supervisor to the Approving Official requesting authorization to telework. The form will make reference to the Telework Fact Sheet applicable to Guild bargaining unit employees.
- Telework Fact Sheet: A document acknowledged by the supervisor and the employee describing the terms and conditions of the employee’s participation in telework.
- Teleworking: a flexible work arrangement that allows employees to work at an offsite work location.
Section 4. Responsibilities
- An employee must be available for contact during his/her official duty hours while on telework, the same as when working at the official duty station.
- An employee must protect government equipment and records and maintain the necessary level of computer and other security at his/her offsite location.
- An employee is expected to follow all applicable Information Technology Security Directives.
- Approving Official
- An Approving Official is responsible for determining whether conditions are appropriate for telework by assessing employee eligibility and work suitability (see Section 6).
- An Approving Official shall use the same performance and conduct standards and performance appraisal system for teleworking employees as is used for all other employees.
- An Approving Official has the authority to accept or reject telework or limit its use by unit, occupation, level, or appointment status, as needed to meet mission requirements.
Section 5. Types of Telework Arrangements
Telework arrangements can be granted on either a continuing or short-term basis:
- Continuing arrangements are ones in which the employee works at home (or other approved offsite work location) on a recurring basis as part of the employee’s regular work schedule. There must be sufficient ongoing work available to support this type of arrangement.
- Short-term arrangements are ones in which the employee works at home (or other approved offsite work location) for a limited period, in response to the Library’s need, or in response to a staff member’s request (for example, a request made under the Library’s rules and regulations accommodating employees’ health needs or under the provisions of this Agreement), when it is advantageous to have work completed away from the official duty station.
Section 6. Employee Eligibility and Work Suitability
Library staff members shall normally perform their regular work-related duties at their official duty stations within the Library. When a telework arrangement is considered, priority must be given to meeting the Library’s mission and goals and serving Library customers. Employee eligibility and work suitability must be assessed before granting telework arrangements:
- Employee Eligibility. To be considered for telework, an employee must be performing at a fully satisfactory performance level and must not have any conduct issues that would have a negative impact on the telework arrangement. An employee must demonstrate that he/she can perform the tasks selected for telework with minimal supervision.
- Work Suitability. The nature of the employee’s work must be suitable for teleworking. Telework tasks are those that are portable and easy to measure. Telephone-intensive tasks, computer-oriented tasks, or tasks that require the development of written products may be appropriate for a telework arrangement. Work that requires extensive, face-to-face contacts or access to material that cannot be removed from the office are unlikely to be suitable for a telework arrangement. To be considered suitable, the selected work must neither entail undue expense for equipment, setup or support, nor increase the risk to Library data or network security. Recognizing that each service or infrastructure unit has its own unique mission within the Library, the Approving Official shall have the authority to determine whether, and to what extent, the offsite work arrangements are consistent with the operational needs and mission of the service or infrastructure unit.
Section 7. Application and Approval
- An employee may make a written request to his/her immediate supervisor to telework (work offsite) by submitting Form 142 or any successor form.
- Requests for telework (as indicated on Form 142) must describe: (1) the work that will be performed offsite; (2) how the work will be measured; and (3) any necessary hardware, software, and/or network access requirements. At the employee’s election, the request for telework on Form 142 may include a statement of the factors the employee believes support approval of his/her request over requests from similarly situated employees in the event of resource limitations; such factors may include the employee’s Library service computation date, the employee’s experience teleworking (including experience in the Telework Pilot), the employee’s performance appraisal rating, and/or the hardship the employee would experience if the request were denied In deciding whether to approve or deny an application for telework, the Approving Official will take into consideration all of the information provided by the employee on Form 142.
- Normally within fifteen (15) workdays, the immediate supervisor recommends approval or disapproval and forwards Form 142 (or any successor form) to the appropriate Approving Official for consideration and signature. If the Approving Official denies the request for telework, he/she must indicate the reason for the denial on the form.
- A new application for telework is needed when an employee transfers to a different occupational unit, division, or team, or when there is a substantial change in the work.
- As soon as practicable after a teleworking employee begins reporting to a new supervisor, the employee will provide a copy of the previously approved Form 142 to the new supervisor, who will initial the form indicating continued authority for the employee to telework, or the new supervisor will give the employee reasonable notice that the telework arrangement is being terminated by the Approving Official pursuant to Section 9.
Section 8. Modification of Telework Agreement
The Library may alter the offsite work location or offsite work schedule to require that on certain dates teleworking employees will work at their official duty stations (e.g., for training or other mission-related reasons). Teleworking employees retain all rights provided for in Article 21 (Hours of Duty) of the CBA.
Section 9. Withdrawal From, Suspension or Termination of Participation in Telework
- An employee who withdraws from participation in telework must notify his/her supervisor in writing. If possible, the notice will be given at least five (5) workdays in advance of the effective date of withdrawal from telework. The supervisor may delay the effective date of withdrawal from participation in telework in the event of an emergency that requires the employee to continue to work offsite temporarily.
- Management reserves the right to suspend temporarily or to terminate a telework arrangement when such action is necessary to meet the operating requirements of the division/office, when the terms and conditions of the employee’s participation in telework are no longer met, when computers and/or other resources needed for telework are unavailable or are needed for other users, or when an employee does not conform with the terms of the authorization. Any decision to suspend or terminate the telework arrangement must be in writing and indicate the reason(s) for the suspension or termination. Management will attempt to provide appropriate advance notice of the termination or suspension of any arrangement to the extent practicable. If possible, the notice will be given at least five (5) workdays in advance of its effective date.
Section 10. Compensation, Leave, Attendance, and Emergency Situations
- Existing rules on hours of work and the administration of pay and leave apply to teleworking employees.
- Employees working at home are expected to carry out their work free from home or family distractions. Should home or family responsibilities unexpectedly interfere with working at home, the employee is responsible for noting the time spent away from their work and requesting and charging leave as appropriate.
- Time and attendance will be documented in accordance with current policies and procedures.
- Employees working at an offsite work location are covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act and can qualify for payment as a result of an on-the-job injury or occupational illness.
- When the official duty station is closed on a teleworking employee’s telework day(s), and if the teleworking employee’s computer equipment is functioning normally (including network connections and servers), the employee will be expected to continue to perform his or her normal work. If the teleworking employee experiences computer equipment failure(s) and technical support from the Library is unavailable or unable to correct the problems, the teleworking employee is expected to perform any non-computer related work that has been previously assigned by the supervisor. If no such work has been assigned, the teleworking employee is expected to contact the supervisor for an alternative assignment or for appropriate leave. If the supervisor has not provided the teleworking employee with a contact number at which the supervisor can be reached when the official duty station is closed, and there is no work the employee can do due to computer equipment malfunctions and lack of any assigned non-computer work, then the employee will be placed on administrative leave as though the employee had been assigned to work at the official duty station that was closed.
- When the official duty station is open but the offsite work location becomes unusable such as through equipment failure(s) that cannot be corrected because of utility outages and/or lack of technical support, the teleworking employee must either report to the official duty station or call the immediate supervisor for an alternative work assignment not requiring that technology, or to request annual leave.
- Supervisors may authorize credit hours, overtime, or compensatory time for teleworking employees at their offsite work location. Existing regulations and collective bargaining agreement provisions pertaining to credit hours, overtime, or compensatory time apply to teleworking employees.
Section 11. Equipment, Funding, and Security
- There is no central funding for teleworking costs (e.g., computers, phone lines, etc.). Costs associated with telework are the responsibility of the service or infrastructure unit and/or the individual employee as determined by the service or infrastructure unit. An employee may, with advance supervisory approval, be reimbursed for business-related telephone calls or provided with a government-issued telephone card.
- The Library will service and maintain any government-owned equipment issued to a teleworking employee. Government property loaned to the employee for telework must be returned as required for inventory control or to perform updates and maintenance. The teleworking employee is expected to safeguard and avoid damage to government property. All files, papers, and machine-readable materials created using Library equipment are the property of the Library.
Section 12. Performance Evaluation
Employees who telework will be evaluated in accordance with the provisions of Article 15 (Performance Evaluation).
Section 13. Guild Rights
The Library will provide the Guild annually the names of Guild bargaining unit employees who perform work at offsite work locations.
Section 14. Employee Rights
Nothing in this article shall be construed to preclude an employee from exercising his/her rights under Article 4 (Equal Employment Opportunity) or Article 35 (Alternative Dispute Resolution), with respect to the application of this Article’s provisions. Any complaint concerning the violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of this Article shall be grievable under Article 36 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Library of Congress and the Library of Congress Professional Guild, AFSCME 2910, subject to management rights as set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and this Article.
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