DoD Sets New Telework Policy for Civilian Workers

Announced April 20, the instruction makes it the policy of the Department of Defense to authorize telework for the maximum number of positions "to the extent that mission readiness is not jeopardized."

The Department of Defense has announced a new policy to promote more teleworking across its workforce of more than 700,000 civilians. The DOD Instruction is dated April 4 and will expire April 4, 2022, unless it is reissued or cancelled before then.

The department's news release said the changes made to its prior telework policy were prompted by the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 and will help DoD achieve greater flexibility in managing its workforce.

"Telework is a powerful tool, one that helps DOD maximize the agility it needs to operate in all kinds of conditions, while promoting workforce efficiency and quality of life," said Paige Hinkle-Bowles, deputy assistant secretary of defense for civilian personnel policy. The instruction requires leaders of DoD units to promote telework within their respective components and to make every effort to overcome artificial barriers to its implementation.

The instruction states that it is now DoD policy for telework to be:

"a. Actively promoted and implemented throughout the DoD in support of the DoD commitment to workforce efficiency, emergency preparedness, and quality of life. Telework facilitates the accomplishment of work; can serve as an effective recruitment and retention strategy; enhance DoD efforts to employ and accommodate people with disabilities; and create cost savings by decreasing the need for office space and parking facilities, and by reducing transportation costs, including costs associated with payment of transit subsidies.

"b. Authorized for the maximum number of positions to the extent that mission readiness is not jeopardized.

"c. Used to the broadest extent possible by eligible employees on a regular and recurring basis, up to and including full-time telework, or a situational basis at an approved alternative worksite. Telework, however, is not an entitlement.

"d. Periodically exercised to ensure its effectiveness in continuing operations in the event of a crisis or national emergency (e.g., pandemic influenza).

"e. Used to help create employment and return-to-work opportunities for veterans, people with disabilities, and spouses of Service members and employees being relocated."

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