The Department of Defense announced today a new telework policy and guide, both of which are available on the web through the Interagency Telework/Telecommuting Site at http://www.telework.gov/.
Telework, also known as telecommuting, is designed to allow employees to work from an approved alternative worksite, including a home office or telecenter. The launch of the new program coincided with Telework America Day and represents the Department's commitment to increase teleworking by Defense employees.
This policy was developed under public law requiring all executive agencies to allow 25 percent of eligible employees to telecommute by the end of 2001, with an additional goal of increasing that percentage by 25 percent in each of the next three fiscal years. DoD managers are now required to identify which employees are eligible for telework based on broad criteria outlined in the policy.
The policy promotes regular telework at least one day every two weeks for eligible DoD civilians, although it also provides for ad hoc telework on an occasional, one-time or irregular basis.
Prior to the start of regular teleworking, employees and their supervisors must sign a telework agreement which addresses work schedule, security and equipment issues. It also records the anticipated reduction in commuting miles for the teleworker.
This policy recognizes DoD commitment to improving its employees' quality of life by giving them a tool to balance their work and private lives. In issuing the new policy, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David S. Chu encouraged all DoD managers to actively promote teleworking within their organizations, to support proposals for teleworking for their employees, and make every effort to overcome artificial barriers to this program.
The policy also recognizes telework as a tool to minimize traffic congestion and associated commuting difficulties in the National Capital Region.