The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued an expanded plan for telework and remote work through a new FAQ page on its website, allowing eight days of telework per pay period.
The new guidance explains that remote workers are not required to report to the office on a regular basis, whereas teleworkers must report to the office for at least two days per biweekly pay period.
“Teleworkers may telework up to eight days per pay period based on the duties of the position and the amount of onsite activities that must be performed,” the guidance says. “The supervisor may require the employee to report to the office more frequently based on the needs of the agency. Employees performing similar functions must be treated fairly and equitably.”
The guidance also notes that remote workers will receive the locality pay rate associated with the location of their remote worksite.
USDA also notes that telework agreements are up to the supervisor’s discretion and can be altered based on an employee’s performance.
“Employees who have been teleworking during the pandemic will continue to be eligible for
telework, at least on a situational basis,” the guidance says. “Agencies may revoke a telework or remote work arrangement based on an employee’s performance if the employee’s remote status is contributing to performance problems that could otherwise be effectively addressed if the worker were not remote. Agencies may also decline to approve telework for employees with a documented history of misconduct connected to telework (e.g., misreporting work hours).”
USDA’s new policies come after the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a guide to telework and remote work for Federal agencies in November, to help agencies update their telework or remote work policies.