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Article 11: Telework Program
A. The Parties recognize that telework arrangements may: (a) protect environmental quality and conserve energy by reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions; (b) improve employees' work lives by allowing a better balance of work and family responsibilities and reduce work-related stress; (c) improve the Employer's ability to recruit and retain a high-quality workforce in a competitive job market; and (d) provide for continuity of operations during emergencies, including but not limited to pandemics. In recognizing the benefits, both parties also acknowledge the need of the Commission to accomplish its mission. Eligible employees may participate in the telework program to the maximum extent possible without diminished employee performance (Public Law 106-346, 359 of October 23, 2000 and Public Law 111-292 of December 9, 2010). The parties also recognize that performance expectations are the same for teleworking employees as they are for non-teleworking employees, including an employee’s responsiveness to supervisors and other work colleagues. Taking into consideration the Agency’s mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation, telework schedules may not be the cause for decline in productivity or otherwise impede work duties.
B. Telework is subject to approval by the Employer and is not an employee entitlement. The Employer will grant or deny an employee's request to participate in the Program consistent with law, regulations, and the provisions of this article. Moreover, while telework should provide greater options to employees seeking to balance their work and family demands, telework may not be used for dependent or family care, nor may it be used to conduct other personal business while the employee is in duty status at an approved Alternative Worksite.
C. Participation in the telework program is voluntary, and an employee may choose to discontinue a telework arrangement at any time.
D. Participants in the telework program will receive the same treatment/opportunities as non-teleworking employees in regards to work assignments, awards and recognition, development opportunities and promotions.
For purposes of this Article, terms contained herein have been defined:
1. Alternative Worksite – A location in the employee's home or other location (e.g., telework center), designated by the employee in their Telework Agreement as the location they will use to perform their official SEC duties when engaging in Routine or Situational Telework.
2. Approved Temporary Telework Location – A location, approved in writing (via email) by an employee’s supervisor, where an employee can temporarily telework away from their Alternative Worksite or Reporting Office.
3. Community Day – a quarterly day chosen by the employee’s first or second line supervisor where the staff in the same Branch, Office, or Division is required to come into their Reporting Office.
4. Home Duty Stationed Employee – An employee who is scheduled to report to an SEC office fewer than 2 days per pay period.
5. Official Worksite – An employee's Official Worksite is defined by applicable Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations, particularly 5 C.F.R. § 531.605.
6. Remote Teleworker – A Home Duty Stationed Employee who is a participant in the Remote Telework Program and has entered into a Remote Telework Agreement with the Agency.
7. Remote Telework Agreement – A written agreement, completed and signed by an employee, supervisor, and Chief Operating Officer that outlines the terms and conditions of the remote telework arrangement and sets forth certain expectations for participation in the program.
8. Reporting Office – The SEC Office where the employee’s position reports when not teleworking, as determined by the Employer.
9. Routine Telework – A work schedule, with at least one scheduled day of telework that repeats every pay period.
10. Telework –Performance of official duties at an Alternative Worksite (i.e., home or other satellite work location).
11. Teleworker – An employee (i.e., permanent, part-time, temporary) who works at an Alternative Worksite (i.e., home, telework center, or other satellite work location) either on a Routine or Situational basis with a written agreement.
12. Telework Agreement – A written agreement, completed and signed by an employee and supervisor that outlines the terms and conditions of the telework arrangement.
13. Telework Day – A regularly scheduled workday during which an employee works at least one-half of the employee’s scheduled hours of work for that day, from their approved Alternative Worksite or an Approved Temporary Telework Location. A telework day does not include any work performed while an employee is on official travel.
14. Situational Telework – An arrangement where an employee requests to telework for a period of time from an Alternative Worksite or Approved Temporary Work Location.
Section 3 – Telework Arrangements
A. All employees may request a telework arrangement.
B. The following telework arrangements are available:
1. Situational Only Telework – when an employee has no Routine Telework and only teleworks on an ad hoc or situational basis, as approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor. a. If approved,
a Situational teleworker may telework for part of a day and commute to the Reporting Office for the rest of the day. In such case, commuting time will not be considered duty time and the employee is responsible for making sure they have worked the number of hours set forth in their approved work schedule for the day. If the employee teleworks for a majority of the employee’s scheduled work hours for the day, the day will be counted as a Situational Telework day.
b. Situational Telework shall be considered when determining office space allocation, as set forth in Article 40.
c. Situational Telework will not be approved on Community Days, unless the supervisor determines an exceptional circumstance exists.
d. Any employee with a telework agreement may request to engage in Situational Telework from an Approved Temporary Work Location, within the United States or its Territories with prior supervisory approval.
e. Situational Telework shall be approved for one pay period at a time.
2. Routine Telework – A Routine Telework arrangement can be up to eight (8) days each pay period provided the employee is scheduled to work from their Reporting Office at least two (2) days each pay period.
a. If the Employer approves an employee's request for a Routine Telework arrangement, the employee's telework schedule will remain fixed, unless and until changed in accordance with this Article. An employee with a performance summary rating of “Unacceptable” will be ineligible for a Routine Telework schedule.
b. Routine Teleworkers can, with prior supervisory approval, request Situational Telework on days they are scheduled to report to the office, provided the Situational Telework day requested is not a Community Day and such request does not avoid the requirement to report into the office twice in a pay period except in rare circumstances. Routine teleworkers may request to engage in Situational Telework from an Approved Temporary Work Location, within the United States or its Territories with prior supervisory approval. Situational Telework shall be considered when determining office space allocation, as set forth in Article 40.
c. Routine Teleworkers may work any schedule available to them in Article 7, provided they are scheduled to be in the office at least 2 days each pay period.
3. Remote Telework: A program allowing employees to work remotely without regularly reporting to an SEC office. Participants in the Remote Telework Trial Program shall be permitted to remain eligible for full-time remote telework, subject to the terms of participation in the program, as outlined in their signed Remote Telework Trial Program Agreement. Although the Remote Telework Trial Program expired, the Employer will maintain a Remote Telework Program, in which the Employer will accept a limited number of new participants based on the importance of recruiting and retaining specialized skillsets and filling positions that are difficult for the Employer to fill. All Remote Teleworkers will be subject to hoteling when they return to their Reporting Office.
4. Reasonable Accommodation Telework –Situational or Routine Telework approved to enable employees with a disability to perform the full range of their official duties. All requests for reasonable accommodations must be approved by the Employer's Disability Officer in OHR.
5. Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) – Situational or Routine Telework approved to ensure that the Agency can continue to perform mission essential functions during a wide range of emergencies, including pandemics, localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.
Section 4 - Eligible Positions
A. Positions most suitable for telework include specific work activities that are portable and can be performed as effectively and efficiently outside the office. Face-to-face contact with other employees and clients is predictable or contact can be efficiently managed through telephone or email communications. Access to necessary reference materials is available through photocopying, faxing, or electronic transfer of documents, and will not violate any law, regulation or policy.
B. Work suitable for telework depends on the nature and job content, rather than job series or title, type of appointment, or work schedule. Jobs not entirely suited for telework may contain duties that can be performed at an Alternative Worksite either on a Routine or Situational Telework basis.
1. Tasks generally suited for telework include, but are not limited to:
b. Policy development;
c. Research, analysis and evaluation (e.g. investigating, program analysis, financial analysis), report writing;
d. Telephone-intensive tasks;
e. Computer-oriented tasks; and
f. Data processing in cases where the security of data can be adequately assured.
Section 5 - Eligible Employees
A. All employees may telework up to eight days each pay period on a Routine Telework arrangement unless the employee:
1. Is undergoing training in a new job or is serving a probationary period (a supervisor may instruct the Telework Program Manager to allow a Routine Telework schedule during the probationary period as appropriate).
2. Occupies a position with tasks the Employer determines are best conducted in person and therefore the Employer determines Routine Telework would diminish the employee’s performance or agency operations; or
3. Occupies a position that has an unpredictable requirement to be onsite, as determined by the Employer.
The Employer may periodically review position duties and telework performance to ensure positions have been appropriately designated.
B. Eligibility for Situational Telework: Any employee who chooses not to have Routine Telework remains eligible to request Situational Telework. An employee that does not meet the criteria in Section 5.A above may still be eligible to request Situational Telework under Section 3.B.1 and 3.B.5 if there are sufficient work assignments that can be performed at an Alternative Worksite without diminishing the employee's performance or Agency operations.
C. Grandfather Clause: On the date this Collective Bargaining Agreement takes effect, employees with telework schedules that contain more Routine Telework than permitted by this Article shall be permitted to keep their schedules. However, if an employee benefitting from this section changes their schedule to one with fewer days of telework or AWS days, their new schedule will replace their grandfathered schedule. If an employee chooses to switch positions, the ability to retain their schedule will be at the discretion of their new supervisor and dependent on the responsibilities of the position. When a grandfathered employee requests to change the location of their Alternative Worksite, the Employer reserves the right to reject such locations that would increase costs to the Employer.
Section 6 - Decision to Grant or Deny a Telework Request
A. The supervisor's decision to grant or deny an employee's request for a Situational or Routine Telework arrangement will be based on the nature and content of the employee's job, whether the arrangement interferes with the Employer's ability to meet mission, staffing and workload requirements, and whether the employee's request is otherwise consistent with this article.
B. A supervisor may deny a request for a particular telework schedule based on the business need to maintain minimum coverage requirements.
C. As required by 5 U.S. Code § 6502, a supervisor will deny a request for telework if the employee has been officially disciplined for: (1) being absent without leave; or (2) violations of subpart G of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch for viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography, including child pornography, on a Federal Government computer or while performing official Federal Government duties.
D. The Employer may limit or exclude an otherwise eligible employee's participation in a telework arrangement if they:
1. are on a performance improvement plan (PIP) or have significant performance weaknesses previously communicated to the employee;
2. have documented time or attendance issues previously communicated to the employee in the prior six (6) months; or
3. have received any disciplinary or adverse action in the preceding twelve (12) months.
E. The Employer may suspend or terminate an employee's telework arrangement if the Employer finds that:
1. the employee fails to adhere to the provisions of their Telework Agreement, including failure to meet their in-office reporting schedule or to report to the office when directed by the Employer;
2. the employee's continued participation in the telework arrangement is inconsistent with this article;
3. the employee's performance has declined and such performance decline has been communicated to the employee and the employee has been given the opportunity to correct the decline (for example, where the employee fails to meet established deadlines or fails to progress satisfactorily on assignments, but not insignificant fluctuations or declines in performance);
4. the employee fails to truthfully report time worked;
5. the employee is found to be teleworking from an unapproved Alternative Worksite; or
6. the Employer receives and communicates to the employee verifiable information from co-workers, the public, or others, indicating dissatisfaction with the employee's availability while performing telework assignments.
Under these circumstances, the Employer will give an advance notice of a suspension or termination of the employee's telework arrangement. The employee will have an opportunity to meet with the Employer to discuss the reason(s) for suspension or termination. To the extent possible, the Employer will provide the employee with this opportunity to be heard prior to implementing a final action. On request, the Employer will provide the employee with the reason(s) for the suspension or termination in writing. An employee who has their telework arrangement terminated may reapply for a telework arrangement six (6) months from the date of termination.
F. The Employer will respond to a properly submitted request for a Routine or Situational telework arrangement within fourteen (14) calendar days. Denial of a Routine or Situational telework arrangement will, upon request, be provided to the employee in writing, specifying the reason(s) for denial.
G. If multiple employees in the same branch request similar telework arrangements and not all can be accommodated by the Employer, such requests will be evaluated by the Employer based on grade and Agency seniority.
H. The granting or denial of requests to telework shall be made in a fair and equitable manner.
Section 7 – Community Days
A. Community Days are intended to advance the Employer’s mission, enhance communication, and promote collaboration among staff through in-person interaction.
B. Community Days will be determined by first or second line supervisors. Community Days will not exceed more than one day each calendar quarter in frequency.
C. Unless an employee is a participant in the Remote Telework Program, all employees are expected to be present for Community Days in their respective work units unless on approved leave. Supervisors will establish and communicate quarterly Community Days in advance so employees may plan their schedules with these days in mind. When a Community Day falls on an employee’s regularly scheduled telework day or alternate work schedule day, the employee will be permitted to telework on another day and/or move their regularly scheduled day off unless doing so would negatively impact the mission.
Section 8 - Training
A. Any employee considering participation in the Telework Program is required to complete telework training prior to submitting a "Telework Request and Agreement Form" and an Alternative Worksite Safety Checklist. The respective supervisor must also complete the telework training prior to the employee teleworking. The telework training can be found via the Employer's online training system.
B. Certifications of training completion must be attached to a Telework Agreement.
Section 9 - Telework Agreement
A. An employee requesting to work a telework arrangement will submit a signed Telework Agreement to their supervisor. The telework agreement documents the terms and conditions of participation in the telework program. The agreement must be signed by both parties prior to the start of teleworking.
B. If employees have an approved agreement for Routine Telework, they may also participate in Situational Telework, with advance supervisory approval, without submitting a Situational telework agreement.
C. Employees may be required to re-certify their telework agreement on an annual basis to ensure that all information is accurate and current.
D. Consistent with this Article, a supervisor may elect to review telework agreements as the business need arises to ensure compliance with this Article, and any modifications to the telework agreement may only be made pursuant to this Article. The supervisor will discuss the reasons for any modification to the telework agreement with the employee and, upon request, provide the reasons for such revision in writing to the employee.
E. The employee must submit a new telework request when either of the following occurs:
1. The employee is promoted, reassigned, detailed to a different position, or returns from a different position; or
2. The employee wishes to make any change to the approved telework arrangement, such as the number of telework days, location of Alternative Worksite, etc.
F. If an employee seeks to discontinue their established telework arrangement, they must notify their supervisor.
G. An employee may submit a written request to change their telework schedule (including Alternative Worksite) and work schedule up to 6 times within a calendar year. The Employer will respond to the, request within fourteen (14) calendar days. The Employer will grant such requests if consistent with mission, staffing and/or workload requirements. In the event of denial, upon request, the Employer will provide the employee with the reason(s) for the denial in writing. The employee will be responsible for any tax and locality pay consequences associated with changing their Alternative Worksite.
H. For a particular pay period, an employee may request to change their scheduled telework day to another day in the work week. Such request will be granted as long as the change does not unreasonably interfere with mission, staffing and/or workload requirements or fall on a Community Day.
Section 10 - Maintaining a Safe Alternative Worksite
A. If the Alternative Worksite is the employee's home, the employee must designate a room or location in their home for placement and use of the work materials. An employee will ensure that this Alternative Worksite location is safe and has adequate workspace, lighting, ventilation, temperature controls, telephone service, power, smoke alarms, and security. As part of the telework approval process, the employee is required to complete and submit with the telework request form, the SEC Self Certification Safety Checklist prior to teleworking.
B. The Employer reserves the right to inspect the Alternative Worksite during an employee's regularly scheduled tour of duty or at another agreed upon time to ensure proper maintenance of government-owned property and conformance with safety standards. The Employer will give reasonable advance notice to the employee of an inspection, generally not less than two (2) workdays.
C. A teleworking Employee is covered by the applicable provisions of the Federal Employee's Compensation Act if injured while performing official duties at their approved Alternative Worksite. An employee will notify their supervisor immediately of any such accident or injury and will complete any required forms. The Employer will investigate such an incident promptly.
D. The Employer will not be liable for damages to a telework employee's personal or real property while the employee is working at an Alternative Worksite, except to the extent the Employer is held liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act or the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act.
Section 11 - Official Worksite
For pay and travel purposes, the employee's Official Worksite shall be used.
Section 12 - Performance of Work
A. Performance requirements for teleworking employees are the same as those for non-teleworking employees. Nothing in this Article shall affect the Employer's right to assign work or make reasonable requests to ascertain the status of work assignment(s) in accordance with applicable laws, rules, regulations, the Employer's needs, or operational goals. The employee will notify a member of the supervisory chain if and when lack of access to resources, documents, or data makes performing assigned duties while teleworking impracticable.
B. A teleworking employee will be available at a specified Alternative Worksite to supervisors, co-workers, and the public by telephone, voicemail, e-mail, and other communications media during their scheduled daily tour of duty.
C. Pursuant to the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, teleworkers and non-teleworkers will be treated the same by the Agency for purposes of work requirements and other acts involving managerial discretion.
D. The teleworking employee must forward their business telephone to an alternative telephone number so they are available to conduct business. The following are additional Call Forwarding provisions:
1. The Employer will take reasonable steps to ensure that the private residential or cellular telephone numbers of telework participants who have their calls forwarded will not be available to the public.
2. Employees are expected to forward their office telephone to their Alternative Worksite before their scheduled telework duty hours and turn off Call Forwarding at the end of their telework day.
3. Employees will be permitted to forward their calls to either a private residential telephone number or a cellular telephone number.
4. When office calls have been forwarded, the employee will answer the telephone at their Alternative Worksite in the same professional manner as they would at their Reporting Office. However, employees will only be required to field these business phone calls while on duty. In the event that the employee misses a telephone call, they will return the call in a timely fashion.
5. The Employer will not preclude an employee from participating in telework arrangements because Call Forwarding is not available in their area.
E. An employee and their supervisor may meet to discuss any issues relating to the employee's performance while on telework. This discussion may include identifying any problems or obstacles, which may be interfering with the employee's ability to perform the required work under their telework arrangement.
Section 13 - Balancing Work and Family Needs
A. Telework arrangements are for the performance of official duties and, while the arrangements give teleworkers flexibility, the work hours should not be treated as an opportunity to conduct personal business. Teleworkers must follow the SEC standards of ethical behavior, conduct, and confidentiality regardless of where the official duties are performed.
B. Teleworking is not a substitute for childcare or dependent care. The teleworker must continue to make arrangements for child or dependent care to the same extent as if they were working at the traditional office. It is permissible for a caregiver to be present at the Alternative Worksite to take care of a dependent (newborn to non-school age and/or elderly person) while the teleworker is working.
C. On rare occasions and with supervisory approval, an employee may telework with a child or other person requiring care or supervision present at the Alternative Worksite. The employee must account for work and non-work hours during their tour of duty and take appropriate leave (paid or unpaid) to account for time spent away from work-related duties. The teleworker shall immediately notify the supervisor if they must attend to a dependent at the Alternative worksite and will be unavailable during their scheduled duty hours.
D. When there is an office closure, the SEC permits employees to telework with children and/or other dependents requiring care when another caregiver is not present. Employees may only count those hours in which actual Agency work is performed as work time and must take leave for any remaining hours in their normal tour of duty. In order to accommodate employees attending to dependents and employees with other personal responsibilities related to the reason for the office closure, Core Hours will be suspended and all employees will be allowed flexibility to take breaks during their day.
Section 14 - Time and Attendance
A. Time spent working in a telework status must be accounted for and reported in the same manner as time spent working in a non-telework status. Each hour of telework must be accurately recorded and identified as “telework” in the electronic Time and Attendance system and the appropriate telework indicator code must be entered.
B. Normal procedures regarding the requesting and approval of leave, overtime, and credit hours apply when an employee is teleworking.
Section 15 - Work Schedules
A. The work schedule (days and duty hours) at the telework site must be documented on the agreement signed by both the approving official and employee.
B. A teleworking employee's work schedule may include any alternative work schedules allowed for by Article 7 of this Agreement. Employees may earn credit hours when teleworking, including weekends, subject to Article 7 and approval by the employee's supervisor.
C. In addition to duties specifically outlined in the Telework Agreement, the Employer reserves the right to direct an employee scheduled for telework to report to their Reporting Office (or temporary duty location, if applicable) in circumstances deemed necessary by the Employer to meet mission, staffing and/or workload requirements such as: meetings, receiving work assignments, training, travel, absences of other employees, emergency situations, or other situations deemed necessary by the Employer to meet mission, staffing and/or workload requirements. The Employer will give the employee as much notice as possible of the need to report to the Reporting Office.
D. When the Employer directs the employee to report to their Reporting Office (or to a temporary duty location, if applicable) on the employee's scheduled telework day in a given week, the Employer will grant or deny an employee's request to work a different telework day during that same pay period based on mission, staffing, or workload requirements. In the event of denial, upon request, the Employer will provide the reasons for denial in writing.
E. An employee may request to change their Routine Telework day to another day in the pay period as long as the change does not unreasonably interfere with mission, staffing and/or workload requirements. In the event of denial, upon request, the Employer will provide the employee with the reasons for denial in writing.
F. There will be no ''carryovers" of "missed" telework days from pay period to pay period.
G. If an emergency occurs at the telework employee's Alternative Worksite that impacts their ability to perform official duties, the employee will immediately notify the Employer. In such an emergency, the Employer may direct the employee to report to the Reporting Office, or approve annual leave (or credit hours), administrative leave, or leave-without-pay, consistent with Agency policy.
Section 16 - Technology, Equipment and Supplies
A. The Employer will consider an employee's request to use their own computer equipment to perform their official duties at the Alternative Worksite. The employee is responsible for maintenance and repair of personally owned equipment.
B. If the Employer determines that an employee requires a computer to perform their official duties, subject to budgetary considerations, the Employer will strive to provide a laptop computer to the employee when working at the approved Alternative Worksite. An employee must ensure that government-provided property is used for approved purposes, except pursuant to the Employer’s policy permitting employees to use Employer equipment for limited personal use (see SECR 24-4.3). The Employer will service the government equipment provided to an employee at the Reporting Office unless the Employer directs otherwise.
C. Employees engaging in telework must maintain a secured, password protected broadband internet connection speed of 25Mbps or greater. The broadband connection must be hard-wired (i.e. cable, copper, or fiber) from the street to the user’s telework location. Permanent cellular hotspots, public Wi-Fi internet, and satellite internet connections are not permitted for regular use, unless otherwise authorized.
D. Employees will comply with the OIT “Rules of the Road” (SECOP 24-04B) and any other applicable SEC technology policies, including telework policies pertaining to domestic and international travel.
E. An employee must comply with all relevant information technology security measures, including password protection and data encryption, so that Privacy Act and other security standards are not compromised.
F. An employee’s supervisor may require the employee to use any SEC-provided technology (e.g., cameras, soft phones, and conferencing technology) while the employee is working. However, cameras only need to be turned on for meetings upon request.
G. The Employer will provide Teleworkers with an online service to order office supplies and printer cartridges to be delivered to their Alternative Worksite.
H. To assist employees in meeting the expenses they incur to facilitate their working from an alternative worksite, the Employer will provide a stipend of up to $375 per year to employees with a Telework Agreement. The Employer will not otherwise be responsible for costs associated with the use of an Alternative Worksite.
Section 17 - Protection of Government Records
A. The teleworker is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and security at the Alternative Worksite, as the teleworker would at the Reporting Office. The employee must protect the security and integrity of data, information, paper files, and access to Agency computer systems against unauthorized disclosure, access, mutilation, obliteration, and destruction.
B. Any compromise in the security and/or integrity of government records must be brought to the teleworking employee's supervisor immediately.
Section 18 - Telework during Weather or Emergency
When an emergency condition results in the closure of an SEC office, any employee with a telework agreement who reports to that same facility shall be expected to perform work at their approved Alternative Worksite, take leave, or request leave as provided in Article 30 of this Agreement.
Section 19 - Compensation for Travel
A. Travel to the Reporting Office
1. Other than transit benefits, the Employer will not for pay travel expenses or duty time associated with an employee commuting from their Alternative Worksite to their Reporting Office, unless required to do so under the Federal Travel Regulations. This includes employees directed to report to the office on days they are scheduled to telework.
2. Travel for employees participating in the Remote Telework Program will be covered by the provisions of their respective Remote Telework Program Agreements.
B. Travel to Locations other than the Reporting Office: When an employee is required to travel from their Reporting Office to another location for the execution of the employee’s job duties, the Employer shall pay for such trips in accordance with Article 12. For Home Duty Stationed Employees, this travel shall commence at the employee’s Official Worksite, which is their approved Alternative Worksite.
Section 20 – Alternative Worksite
A. An employee’s Alternative Worksite shall be approved if:
1. it is within the Continental United States;
2. the worksite meets the safety and technology requirements for effective telework;
3. the employee represents the location will not impede productivity, impact their ability to adhere to the core hours of their Reporting Office, or limit their ability to return to the Reporting Office to execute their job duties in a timely manner and acknowledges they may have this approval rescinded in the event that it does; and
4. the employee’s Official Worksite will remain the employee’s Reporting Office so the Employer is not liable for additional expenses associated with the employee’s chosen location.
B. Location Considerations: in selecting an Alternative Worksite, the employee should consider their ability to commute from such a location in accordance with their schedule, the costs associated with traveling to the Reporting Office, and any environmental obstacles to conducting work from the location (e.g. pattern of recurring weather events leading to evacuation or power loss). The Employer will not grant Weather & Safety administrative leave for events associated with an employee’s chosen telework location unless:
1. The event giving rise to the need for Weather & Safety administrative leave at their approved Alternative Worksite also results in the closure of the employee’s Reporting Office; or
2. The state has issued an evacuation order for the employee’s approved Alternative Worksite location, in which case, the employee may be granted up to 16 hours of Weather & Safety administrative leave if the employee is unable to work.
Weather & Safety administrative leave will not be granted to an employee engaging in Situational Telework away from their approved Alternative Worksite at an Approved Temporary Telework Location.
C. Relocation Expenses. All relocation costs associated with an employee’s chosen Alternative Worksite location or any revocation of an employee’s approved Alternative Worksite shall be paid by the employee. The Employer will not grant administrative leave in connection with any relocation or due to any circumstances arising from an employee’s chosen location of their Alternative Worksite.
D. Revocation of Telework Agreement based on location: The Employer may revoke an employee’s Telework Agreement if:
1. The location of the Alternative Worksite impacts the employee’s performance or ability to adhere to their approved work schedule.
2. The employee is unable to return from the location in time to accomplish time-sensitive duties associated with their position.
3. The Employee is found to be working from an Alternative Worksite that was not approved as an Alternative Worksite or Approved Temporary Telework Location. A Home Duty Stationed employee will also be liable to the Employer for any excess locality pay received in connection with working from an unapproved location and may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Section 21 – Extended Situational Telework
A. Employee Requests: An employee may request Extended Situational Telework for an extended period of time (up to 180 calendar days) as a result of a particular medical or personal situation expected to last more than 20 business days. A request will be made to the Office of Human Resources. An employee’s Extended Situational Telework request must specify the Approved Temporary Telework Location, if different from their approved Alternative Worksite, and the date of the employee’s return to their regular work schedule. Employees approved for Extended Situational Telework will have their Official Worksite adjusted in accordance with 5 C.F.R. §531.605. The employee will be required to reimburse the Employer for any payments they received in excess of their appropriate salary resulting from the change in, or incorrect designation of, the Home Duty Station.
B. Documentation of a Medical Condition: If an employee requests Extended Situational Telework due to a documented serious health condition of the employee or family member (as defined in Article 28, Section 2B) that temporarily prevents the employee from performing their duties in the Reporting Office, the employee must submit medical documentation from a physician supporting the request to the Office of Human Resources. The documentation must detail the expected duration/frequency of the medical condition and an assessment of the employee’s ability to perform work while teleworking or a description of the time commitment required to provide care for a family member during the work week.
C. Evaluation of Non-Medical Requests: Supervisors will evaluate requests for Extended Situational Telework for non-medical circumstances on a case-by-case basis and make recommendations for granting such requests to the appropriate Director of the Division or Office, and the Office of Human Resources. Such requests will be granted at the Employer’s discretion taking into account the mission of the respective Division or Office.
D. 180 Calendar Day Limit: Extended Situational Telework shall not exceed 180 calendar days in a two year period. Extended Situational Telework replaces an employee’s regular schedule for the period it is granted (i.e., it cannot be combined with regularly scheduled telework).
E. Any period of Extended Situational Telework will not be counted when determining an employee’s office space assignment.
Section 22 – Remote Telework Program
A. The Employer will maintain a Remote Telework Program, in which the Employer will accept participants when the Employer determines it is in the best interest of the Agency to do so. Employees may indicate their desire to participate in the program to their supervisor, however, it will be at the discretion of the Division or Office Director as to whether the Division or Office wants to petition the Chief Operating Officer to allow the employee to become a Remote Teleworker. The Employer may permit an employee to participate in the Remote Telework Program on a temporary or indefinite basis.
B. Employees in the Office of Financial Management, the Office of Acquisitions, and the Disclosure Review Program of the Division of Corporation Finance will be eligible to apply directly for Remote Telework and be approved as long as: 1) they are rated as “Acceptable” (or its equivalent rating) in their last performance review and 2) their participation in Remote Telework would not negatively impact mission, staffing, and workload of their Office or Division. These employees will enter into a Remote Telework Agreement like other participants in the Remote Telework Program.
C. Employees who were previously accepted into the Remote Telework Trial Program shall be considered Remote Telework Program participants. These legacy participants will continue teleworking under the terms of their Remote Telework Trial Program Agreements unless they enter into a new Remote Telework Agreement with the Employer.
D. Participants in the Remote Telework Program will:
1. Sign a Remote Telework Agreement (in addition to a regular Telework Agreement);
2. Agree to complete remote telework specific training and follow procedures set forth for returning to their Reporting Office, including travel and hotel space reservations;
3. 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;
4. Agree to travel to an SEC office location of the Employer’s choosing upon request when their supervisor determines there is a business need to do so. The Employer may direct a Remote Teleworker to engage in such travel within 48 hours when the Employer determines such travel is necessary to meet mission critical objectives. However, the Employer 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 their 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. Acknowledge they are not entitled to any administrative leave, travel, moving, or relocation expenses associated with moving to their remote Official Worksite or returning from the remote Official Worksite if the SEC terminates or suspends the Remote Teleworker’s Remote Telework Agreement; and
7. Adhere to the Core Hours of their Reporting Office unless otherwise instructed by their supervisor.
E. Remote Telework Location
1. A Remote Telework location must be within the Continental United States. In approving an employee for Remote Telework, the Employer may consider the costs to the Employer associated with the proposed location (e.g. travel to the reporting office; travel required by the employee’s position; and increased salary costs).
2. Locality Pay: Remote Teleworkers’ locality pay shall be adjusted in accordance with 5 C.F.R. §531.605. If for any period of time, an employee’s locality is not adjusted and results in an overpayment to the employee, that employee will be required to reimburse the Employer for any payments they received in excess of their appropriate salary.
3. Ability to Work: In the event a Remote Teleworker is unable to work from their remote Official Worksite, the Remote Teleworker agrees to take leave until the ability to work is restored. The Remote Teleworker is required to contact their 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 at their own cost or work from an Approved Temporary Telework Location until capability to work from their Remote Official Worksite is restored. If a Remote Teleworker experiences repeated prolonged outages, the Employer may evaluate the practicality of the remote Official Worksite for meeting the SEC’s goals of continuity of operations and meeting mission goals. Management will engage the Remote Teleworker to discuss whether a more reliable remote Official Worksite is required. The Employer reserves the right to suspend or terminate the Remote Teleworker’s Remote Telework Agreement accordingly.
4. Change of Address: A change in an approved remote Official Worksite 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 location 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 their Official Worksite in writing to the Telework Program Manager for approval. If a Remote Teleworker’s request for a change in their remote Official Worksite is not approved, the Remote Teleworker will be required to continue working at an Alternative Worksite located in the current remote Official Worksite’s locality pay area or return to their Reporting Office.
F. Suspension/Termination: The SEC may suspend or terminate a Remote Teleworker’s Remote Telework Agreement under the same circumstances that apply to regular teleworkers. If a Remote Teleworker is removed from the Remote Telework Program, they will be given 30 days to return to their Reporting Office. After 30 days, the employee will be considered absent without leave (AWOL) if they have not returned to their Reporting Office or received supervisory approval to use leave. Employees who have their Remote Telework Agreement suspended or terminated will not be entitled to administrative leave, or any travel, moving, or relocation expenses.
G. Withdrawal from Remote Telework: A Remote Teleworker may choose to withdraw from the Remote Telework Program and terminate their Remote Telework Agreement at any time. If a Remote Teleworker withdraws from the Remote Telework Program, they must report to an SEC office as required. Employees who withdraw from the Remote Telework Program will not be entitled to administrative leave, or any travel, moving, or relocation expenses.
H. Changing Positions: A Remote Teleworker 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 the Employer’s discretion. Any Remote Teleworker that is selected by the Employer 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 Worksite upon completion. Employees who return to their Reporting Office for a detail, temporary assignment, or special project will not be entitled to administrative leave, or any travel, moving, or relocation expenses.
Section 23 International Telework
International telework is not permitted under any circumstances. Employees should consult SECR 24-12 prior to traveling with SEC devices. Employees in violation of this section may be subject to discipline or removal.
Section 24 - Reporting
A. There are a number of reporting requirements internally and externally to SEC for telework. The Employer will be responsible for preparing and submitting necessary information for reporting purposes.
B. Within sixty (60) days of the end of the Fiscal Year, the Employer will report to the NTEU the number of bargaining unit employees participating in the telework program broken down by Name, Unique EIC Number, Division/Office/Regional Office, type of telework (e.g., Routine, Situational, or Home Duty Stationed), the number of Routine days of telework per pay period for each participating employee, and the number of Situational days of telework in the prior year for each participating employee, and effective dates. In order to accurately collect this data, employees will be required to report the number of hours teleworked each pay-period in the electronic Time and Attendance system.