The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued new guidance about telework, pay, travel and other considerations to help agencies plan for more federal employees returning to the office.
The 38-page document includes frequently-asked questions on telework, remote work, locality pay and other post-reentry issues. It reinforces previous guidance strongly encouraging agencies to expand telework based on experiences during the last 15 months. The deadline to submit office reentry and post-pandemic workforce plans to the White House passed last week, with many agencies still finalizing their policies.
“In light of the steps agencies undertook at the outset of the pandemic, OPM expects that many more federal employees will be eligible to telework on a regular basis post-reentry,” the guidance says. Agencies should also assess whether new employees or positions are telework eligible and reconsider the status of those who were previously ineligible.
This guidance reaffirms the administration’s position that agencies should bargain with unions over their reentry plans before recalling employees back into offices. Some topics that may arise during bargaining include how much advance notice will be provided to employees before they are required to return; safety measures for employees in the office; and assistance for those with dependent care issues.