DOD policy brings new mobility to civilian employees

The Defense Department has adopted a new policy that requires DOD component leaders to promote telework for their civilian workforce.

The April 20 announcement said the new framework calls for DOD component heads to promote telework within their respective components and work to overcome “artificial barriers” to program implementation. Component heads are also required to authorize telework for the maximum number of positions without jeopardizing mission readiness, and integrate telework into continuity of operations activities.

The policy also spells out security considerations for remote work. Employees aren’t allowed to bring classified documents to their homes or alternative worksites or use personal e-mail accounts to transmit personally identifiable information. All employees and service members who telework will also receive training on remotely accessing the unclassified DOD IT network.

Employees who are otherwise ineligible for remote work – entry-level hires, employees dealing with classified information or workers required to be on-site -- could have portions of their work approved for telework. Tasks that are suitable for telework on a situational basis include reading and analyzing documents, and preparing reports or other types of communications.

The new guidance points out that telework is a “discretionary workplace flexibility,” and employees typically can’t be ordered to work remotely. The exception is when an employee’s duties are deemed as mission-critical and the employee has to report to an alternative worksite.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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