Know Your Rights about the Return to the Workplace

Whether you’ve been teleworking a lot, a little or not at all these last two years, chances are your workplace is undergoing some big changes in the coming weeks. The federal government – just like employers in the private sector – is in the process of ending maximum telework and calling more employees back to work in person. 

This can be a stressful and confusing process. As agencies reopen their doors, this is a good time to remind union members about their rights, their options and their resources for a safe re-entry into the workplace.

The details may vary by agency, but there are some universal truths to consider:

  • Your right to telework is outlined in your agency’s collective bargaining agreement with NTEU, so that is the place to start when considering your telework options in the future.

  • In most of our agencies, NTEU is currently negotiating or has just finished negotiating a separate agreement about the return to the workplace process, which may include more expansive telework opportunities and details about health and safety protocols. Contact your chapter for a status update.

  • Your supervisor may not yet know exactly what those agreements say about telework and they may be giving you incomplete or outdated information about the agency’s position on telework. Arm yourself with the right information from the contracts and agreements.

  • There is absolutely nothing to stop you from asking for the maximum amount of telework outlined in your contract or return to the workplace agreement. Depending on the agency, that could be up to three, four or five days a week of telework.

  • It’s not all about telework. NTEU is pursuing all manner of new and expanded workplace flexibilities to make it easier for you to balance your work and personal responsibilities.

Knowing your rights and the details of your agency’s telework programs is how you ensure you are treated fairly. You can check out your contract by logging in to NTEU will be aggressive in making sure these agreements are enforced properly and employees have access to all of the workplace rights and benefits they contain.

Thank you for your outstanding commitment and dedication to the job during the pandemic, continuing to serve the American people under difficult circumstances. NTEU is honored to represent you and fight for your rights.