DOD puts telework to work

The Defense Department last week defined a new "telework" policy that supports a governmentwide effort to allow more federal employees to work from home at least part of the time.

The policy, announced Oct. 26 to coincide with Telework America Day, promotes regular telework for eligible DOD civilian employees at least one day out of every two weeks. It also provides for ad hoc telework, for employees who want to work from home on a one-time or irregular basis.

A provision in last year's Transportation appropriations bill directs agencies to allow all eligible employees to telework at least one day a week by 2004.

David Chu, undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, said he encouraged managers to do whatever necessary to overcome artificial barriers to the program, while actively promoting teleworking in their organizations.

The policy directs DOD organizations to take several steps:

* Identify the maximum number of positions eligible for regular and recurring telework.

* Identify the maximum number of employees who exhibit characteristics suitable for telework, and who occupy positions identified as eligible for teleworking.

* Draw up "telework agreements" with employees who will telework on a regular or recurring basis. At a minimum, the agreements, developed before telework begins, must address the location and requirements of the alternative worksite, telework schedule, security of official information, protection of government-furnished equipment, applicable standards of conduct, liability and injury compensation, and government access to the alternative worksite.

The new policy and guide are available at www.telework.gov .

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