Telework Act of 2010: Model for Secure Telecommuting

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 enables and authorizes government agencies to allow workers to work from home. Motivated by the effect of severe snow storms and  blizzards that shut down the federal government last year, President Obama and his administration wanted a solution that would allow the federal government to continue operating, even during inclement weather, natural disasters or other emergencies.

The key requirements of the of the Telework Act  provide policy guidelines I think will be useful for all enterprises considering officially sanctioned telework (also called telecommuting) policies.

The head of each executive agency is required to:

  • establish a policy under which eligible agency employees may be authorized to telework; (2) determine employee eligibility to participate in telework; and (3) notify all employees of their eligibility to telework
  • ensure that telework does not diminish employee performance or agency operations
  • provide that an employee may not be authorized to telework if that employee’s performance does not comply with the terms of the agreement
  • prohibit from telework any agency employee whose official duties require, on a daily basis, direct handling of secure materials determined to be inappropriate for telework or on-site activity that cannot be handled remotely or at an alternate worksite
  • prohibit participation in telework by an employee who has been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than five days in any calendar year or for viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography on a government computer or while performing official government duties
  • ensure that telework policy is created that covers areas including continuation of operations, telework centers, technology, equipment, dependent care, and records management
  • issue guidelines to ensure the adequacy of information and security protections for information and information systems used while teleworking
  • maintain a central telework website that includes telework links, announcements, and guidance
  • pay necessary travel expenses for employees participating in a telework program in lieu of otherwise authorized travel or transportation expenses
  • evaluate and document cost savings or other efficiencies for the government provided through the telework program
  • research the utilization of telework by public and private sector entities that identify best practices and recommendations
  • review the outcomes associated with an increase in telework, including the effects of telework on energy consumption, job creation and availability, urban transportation patterns, and the ability to anticipate the dispersal of work during periods of emergency