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Article 51: Remote Telework Trial Program
Section 1 - Definitions
Alternative Worksite: A location in the employee's home, designated by the employee as the location they will use to perform their official SEC duties, or another location approved by the SEC (e.g., telework center).
Official Duty Station: An employee's Official Duty Station is his or her official worksite as defined by applicable Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations, particularly 5 C.F.R. §531.605.
Remote Official Duty Station: An approved alternative worksite within the Continental United States, located more than a 200 mile radius from the employee’s Reporting Office. It may be an employee’s home or another location approved by the SEC (e.g., telework center).
Remote Teleworker: An employee approved to perform their official SEC duties at a Remote Official Duty Station and be bound by the terms of this Remote Telework Trial Program.
Remote Telework Agreement: A written agreement, completed and signed by a Remote Teleworker and appropriate official(s) in his or her Division/Office that outlines the terms and conditions of the telework arrangement.
Remote Telework Panel: A panel comprised of three management representatives that is responsible for: (1) recommending whether to approve or deny an employee’s request to become a Remote Teleworker; and (2) overseeing the implementation of the Remote Telework Trial Program.
Remote Telework Trial Program: The program described herein is intended to allow management flexibility for retaining talent, maintaining continuity of operations, and meeting mission goals while creating enhanced work-life benefits for employees. The Remote Telework Trial Program will commence within 90 days of the effective date of this agreement and cover the duration of the CBA, or no more than three years if the duration of the CBA is extended. Following that period, the Remote Telework Trial Program will be reviewed in accordance with Section 8, below.
Reporting Office: The SEC office (Headquarters or a regional office) to which an employee is assigned within his or her respective Division/Office.
Telework: The performance of official duties at an alternative work site (i.e., home or other satellite work location).
Section 2 – Eligibility
A. Bargaining unit employees from the Division of Corporation Finance, the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, and the Office of Credit Ratings will be eligible to participate in the Remote Telework Trial Program.
B. In order for bargaining unit staff from the Division of Corporation Finance, the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, and the Office of Credit Ratings to be eligible to participate in the Remote Telework Trial Program, the following initial criteria must be met:
1. The employee must have expanded telework experience of at least 12 months at the time of his or her application;
2. The employee must be rated as “Acceptable” or its equivalent rating; and
3. The employee must obtain the consent of his or her first-line supervisor. When determining whether to provide his or her consent, the first-line supervisor will consider the requesting employee’s prior telework experience, mission, staffing, and workload requirements, in addition to any performance or conduct issues.
C. The Remote Telework Trial Program shall be capped at 75 employees who meet the eligibility criteria above, including temporary and legacy employees referenced in Sections 6 and 7, below. No more than 25 employees will be from the Division of Corporation Finance. Admission to the Remote Telework Trial Program shall be on a rolling basis until the slots are filled or until no later than 12 months prior to the expiration of the CBA, whichever occurs first. If the cap is reached, employee requests will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis as slots vacate.
D. Notwithstanding the criteria outlined in Section 2B, the Chief Operating Officer, in his or her sole discretion, may permit any bargaining unit employee to participate in the Remote Telework Trial Program when the Chief Operating Officer determines doing so is in the best interests of the SEC. These employees will not be counted toward the cap in Section 2C.
E. In order to remain eligible for Remote Telework, all Remote Teleworkers agree to and acknowledge the following:
1. Remote Teleworkers agree to take telework specific training and follow procedures set forth for returning to their Reporting Office, including travel and hotel space reservations.
2. Remote Teleworkers agree that all provisions of the CBA apply to them except as set forth herein. This includes, but is not limited to: Telework expectations for the use of technology, responsiveness, engagement, office space, returning to the Reporting Office, performance, work during weather events and other office closures, and compliance with the terms and conditions of the Remote Telework Agreement.
3. Remote Teleworkers’ locality pay shall be adjusted in accordance with 5 C.F.R. §531.605.
4. Remote Teleworkers agree to travel to an SEC office location of management’s choosing upon request when his or her supervisors determine that there is a business need to do so. Nothing precludes management from directing a Remote Teleworker to travel within 48 hours due to the need to meet mission critical objectives. However, management shall provide as much advance notice as is practicable in such situations.
5. In addition to travel for a business need, Remote Teleworkers agree to return to the Reporting Office up to four times per calendar year for a total of up to twelve full work days, not including travel time, at the request of his or her supervisor. When possible, the supervisor will provide a minimum of two weeks’ notice for such trip. All return trips must be approved in advance by the supervisor.
6. Remote Teleworkers agree that they will not be entitled to any travel, moving, or relocation expenses associated with moving to his or her Remote Official Duty Station or returning from the Remote Official Duty Station if the SEC terminates or suspends the Remote Teleworker’s Remote Telework Agreement pursuant to Section 4B.
7. Remote Teleworkers shall adhere to the core hours of their Reporting Office unless otherwise instructed by their supervisor.
8. In the event a Remote Teleworker is unable to work from his or her Remote Official Duty Station, the Remote Teleworker agrees to take leave until the ability to work is restored. The Remote Teleworker is required to contact his or her supervisor to report the situation as soon as possible and alert the supervisor to any work items requiring coverage or reassignment. The Remote Teleworker may also arrange for travel to their Reporting Office until capability to work from his or her Remote Official Duty Station is restored. If a Remote Teleworker experiences repeated prolonged outages, management may request the Remote Telework Panel evaluate the practicality of the Remote Official Duty Station for meeting the SEC’s goals of continuity of operations and meeting mission goals. The Remote Telework Panel will engage the Remote Teleworker to discuss whether a more reliable Remote Duty Station is required. The Agency reserves the right to suspend or terminate the Remote Teleworker’s Remote Telework Agreement accordingly.
Section 3 - Procedures for Requesting Remote Telework
A. The employee must fill out an application designating their proposed Remote Official Duty Station. If approved, the employee must relocate to an address within the same OPM-defined locality pay area and no more than 20 miles from the approved location within 90 days. If the employee has not relocated within 90 days, the employee must submit a new application for consideration.
B. The employee must provide the Remote Telework Panel:
1. Evidence of an “Acceptable,” or its equivalent, performance rating for the latest performance period;
2. Evidence of his or her supervisor’s written consent as referenced in Section 2B(3):
3. A print out from WorkSmart demonstrating expanded telework experience of at least 12 months; and
4. Evidence of the completion of remote telework training, as established by the Remote Telework Panel.
C. The Remote Telework Panel will evaluate an employee’s request to become a Remote Teleworker in the Remote Telework Trial Program and give appropriate consideration to:
1. The employee’s prior telework experience, including whether the employee’s position is otherwise eligible for and conducive to remote telework;
2. Mission, staffing, and workload requirements; and
3. Whether the requesting employee’s participation in the Remote Telework Program will further the SEC’s goal of retaining the talent and skills necessary to achieve the Agency’s mission. The Panel will make a recommendation to the Chief Human Capital Officer who will decide whether or not the employee should become a remote teleworker.
Section 4 - Change of Address and Exiting the Remote Telework Trial Program
A. Change of Address: A change in an approved Remote Official Duty Station is preauthorized as long as the new location is within the same city, or in a neighboring city or town within the same OPM-defined locality pay area, and travel costs and commute times do not increase the SEC’s costs. If the intended new Remote Official Duty Station is not within the same city, or in a neighboring city or town within the same OPM-defined locality pay area, the Remote Teleworker must submit a request to change his or her Remote Official Duty Station in writing to the Remote Telework Panel for approval. If a Remote Teleworker’s request for a change in his or her Remote Official Duty Station is not approved, the Remote Teleworker will be required to continue working at an alternative worksite located in the current Remote Official Duty Station’s locality pay area or return to their Reporting Office.
B. Suspension/Termination: The SEC may suspend or terminate a Remote Teleworker’s Remote Telework Agreement under the same circumstances that apply to regular teleworkers as set forth in Article 11 of the CBA. If a Remote Teleworker is removed from the Remote Telework Trial Program, he or she will be given 30 days to return to his or her Reporting Office. After 30 days, the employee will be considered AWOL if he or she has not returned to his or her Reporting Office or received supervisory approval to take leave. Employees who have their Remote Telework Agreement suspended or terminated will not be entitled to any travel, moving, or relocation expenses.
C. Withdrawal: A Remote Teleworker may choose to withdraw from the Remote Telework Trial Program and terminate his or her Remote Telework Agreement at any time. If a Remote Teleworker withdraws from the Remote Telework Trial Program, he or she must return to an approved Official Duty Station within a 200 mile radius of his or her Reporting Office. Employees who withdraw from the Remote Telework Trial Program will be subject to all terms and conditions applicable to teleworkers. Employees who withdraw from the Remote Telework Trial Program will not be entitled to any travel, moving, or relocation expenses.
Section 5 - Changing Positions
Changing Job Duties or Positions: A Remote Teleworker in the Remote Telework Trial Program may remain a Remote Teleworker upon a change in position or duties provided the employee’s new position allows for participation in the program. This determination will be made at management’s discretion. Any Remote Teleworker that is selected by management to return to their Reporting Office for a detail, temporary assignment, or special project may do so for as long as necessary and return to their Remote Official Duty Station upon completion. Employees who return to their Reporting Office for a detail, temporary assignment, or special project will not be entitled to any travel, moving, or relocation expenses.
Section 6 - Temporary Remote Telework
An employee meeting the eligibility requirements may request to participate in the Remote Telework Trial Program on a temporary basis by submitting an application with a stated end date. The employee will be subject to all terms in the Remote Telework Trial Program, and, after the date stated on his or her application, the employee will report back to his or her Reporting Office. Employees who participate in the Remote Telework Trial Program on a temporary basis will not be entitled to any travel, moving, or relocation expenses, except with regard to travel described in Section 2E(4) and (5), above.
Section 7 - Legacy Employees
Employees who currently have an approved Official Duty Station more than a 200 mile radius from their Reporting Office shall automatically become participants in the Remote Telework Trial Program and be subject to the terms described herein.
Section 8 - Conclusion of Remote Telework Trial Program
A. At the conclusion of the trial period, the Remote Telework Panel will convene and review the efficacy of the Remote Telework Trial Program in advancing the stated goals of the program. The Remote Telework Panel shall provide its findings to the Chief Human Capital Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and President of Chapter 293 of the NTEU. After reviewing the Remote Telework Panel’s findings, the SEC will determine if the Remote Telework Trial Program promotes the stated goals of the program and whether it shall become permanent.
B. Remote Teleworkers who have relocated under the terms of this Remote Telework Trial Program shall be allowed to remain in their Remote Telework locations under the terms of this agreement unless and until such agreement is superseded by an agreement between the Agency and NTEU or the Agency determines the remote nature of these teleworkers is having a negative impact on the mission of the Agency.