Pioneering Fulltime Telework at EPA (Part 2 of 2)

Since my first installment of Pioneering Fulltime Telework at the EPA back in October of 2016, there have been a lot of changes across the federal government. For the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is likely that we will be doing more with less in the years to come – smaller budgets, smaller staff, and a smaller physical footprint.

Thomas Edison said: “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” Fulltime telework has value – actually a lot of value – if it is used. The smallest expansion of fulltime telework at the EPA could save millions of taxpayer dollars while meeting and exceeding the business needs of the Agency.

Imagine if EPA encouraged just 20% of its workforce to fulltime telework, it would slash nearly 1% of its annual budget – some $45.6 million!....

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No Heat? You Can Telework!

Many of you received an email from facilities and/or your management over the last couple of days about the lack of heat in certain parts of the William Jefferson Clinton North and South buildings. We are told that the heating outage will not be resolved until next week. That means it will get mighty cold in your office and make it uncomfortable or unsafe to work there.

So what can you do?

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Telework Available for New Employees During Safetrack

Prior to today, EPA limited who could telework to those employees that had been with EPA for not less than 90 days - six months, at the supervisor's discretion. In other words, you had to work for EPA for at least 90 days before you could even request telework.

Today Chapter 280 signed an agreement with EPA that allows new employees to begin teleworking immediately, with supervisor approval, if they've been impacted by Metro's Safe Track repairs. NTEU Chapter 280 has been negotiating this and other Safe Track-related flexibilities with the agency in an effort to minimize the impacts of the track work on its members. It's been difficult, and the agency has not been very cooperative, but on this issue they agreed.

Specifically,...

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Pioneering Fulltime Telework at EPA (Part 1 of 2)

Last summer, my spouse, who works for U.S. Department of Justice, was promoted and reassigned to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Like many couples, we discussed and debated whether this move made sense for our individual careers and our life together as a married couple. I believed my twenty year career with EPA, an Agency with a mission I loved and worked so hard to further, was coming to an abrupt end.

Around the same time, a new collective bargaining agreement between the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into effect for all employees in the bargaining unit, expanding telework options to include fulltime telework. I explored the notion of fulltime telework with my management and the union. I am happy to say that I am writing this blog from Albuquerque, New Mexico as an EPA Headquarters employee assigned to the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA).....

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Waiver of Telework Waiting Period for Certain Employees

The new NTEU telework article in our collective bargaining agreement reduces the time that new employees must wait to telework from one year (old agreement) to between 3-6 months (Article 54, Section 8), as determined by your manager. A new policy waiver allows managers to forego the waiting period altogether for episodic telework in certain situations.....

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