Part 7 - Human Resources Administration And Management
Chapter 6 - Flexible Workplace Arrangements Program
Time and Attendance
Section 2 - Time and Attendance
Section 2 - Attendance and Leave
- Background. In a memo dated July 11,1994, the President directed the heads of each executive department and agency to establish a program that encourages and supports flexible family-friendly work arrangements. The President, in a memorandum dated June 21, 1996, directed all Federal agencies to expand flexible work arrangements to include telecommuting and satellite work locations.
The pilot project for the successful flexible workplace arrangements sponsored by the President's Council on Management Improvement demonstrated that alternate worksite arrangements offer the following benefits to agencies, employees, and society:
- Decreasing traffic, parking congestion, energy consumption, and air pollution;
- Accommodating employees who have temporary or continuing health problems;
- Extending greater employment opportunities to persons with disabilities who may be able to perform a job at home or at a nearby telecommuting center;
- Improving the quality or even the quantity of work by providing a distraction-free environment for accomplishing job assignments;
- Reducing office space requirements and enabling the sharing of facilities and equipment; and
- Improving employees' morale by giving them greater opportunities to satisfy work and family demands more efficiently.
- Purpose. This chapter establishes the Indian Health Service (IHS) Flexible Workplace Arrangements Program (FWAP). The FWAP applies to permanent part-time and full-time IHS civilian and PHS Commissioned Corps Officers employed by the IHS. This issuance prescribes the policies and procedures for approving and disapproving requests received from IHS employees to work at home or at a General Services Administration (GSA) established telecommuting center.
- Guidelines for Pilot Flexible Workplace Arrangements, sponsored by the President's Council on Management Improvement, Human Resources Committee, January 1990.
- Flexible Questions and Answers on Computer and Telephone Issues, prepared by the GSA at the request of the President's Council on Management Improvement, September 1992.
This policy applies to work performed at a site other than the employee's official duty station. As an example, the FWAP may be used to accommodate a temporary medical condition, continuing illness, or disability when the employee can be accommodated to perform the job at home or at a telecommuting center.
- Requirements for Participation in the FWAP. The following list outlines the requirements for participation in the FWAP:
- Employee participation in the FWAP is voluntary and subject to management approval. A period of participation in the FWAP may be terminated at any time either by request of the employee or at the decision of management in accordance with a Collective Bargaining agreement, if applicable.
- Only employees performing at an acceptable level based on the appropriate performance rating mechanism (an average of Level C for Commissioned Officers) may participate in a flexible workplace arrangement. Performance standards for participating employees must be consistent with those used for employees performing the same or similar tasks at the official duty station.
- An agency-employee agreement is required before an employee may participate in the FWAP on a long-term basis (for more than two consecutive workweeks). A sample agreement for civilian employees is shown in Manual Appendix 7-6-2-B. A sample agreement for Commissioned Officers is shown in Manual Appendix 7-6-2-C.
- An employee participating in the FWAP on a short-term basis, two consecutive workweeks or less, will not be required to complete an employee-agency agreement. In such instances, the supervisor must recommend in writing to the approving official that the work be performed at home.
- An employee participating in the FWAP on a long-term basis must work at least one day every two consecutive workweeks at the official worksite.
- The work schedule approved for an employee participating in the FWAP must be observed. Duty time may not be used for purposes other than official work. Although participation in the FWAP may provide employees more time to accomplish family responsibilities, the FWAP is not to be used by employees to care for young children or other dependents during the agreed upon scheduled hours of work.
- Employees participating in the FWAP may work a flexitime schedule or alternate work schedule if the schedule is consistent with the nature of the work being performed and the frequency of communication necessary with those at the official worksite or with work contacts in other locations.
- Supervisors must ensure that employees working at home or at a telecommuting center are readily accessible to management officials, co-workers, and customers.
- All applicable time and attendance, leave, and pay regulations must be observed by employees and managers when an employee participates in the FWAP.
- Suitable training/orientation is required and must be conducted for employees approved for participation in the program and their supervisors before an employee begins long-term participation in the FWAP.
- The Director, Division of Commissioned Personnel, must be notified whenever approval is given to a Commissioned Officer to participate in the FWAP on a long-term basis (more than two consecutive workweeks). The FWAP agreement between the agency and the Commissioned Officer must be sent to the Agency Commissioned Corps Liaison to be recorded as a supplement to the existing billet and to be placed in the officer's official personnel file (see Manual Appendix 7-6-2-B).
The IHS, an Operating Division (OPDIV) within the Department of Health and Human Services, has been delegated the authority to approve the following actions and requests:
- The agency supplemental plan for implementing the FWAP within the respective agencies;
- Exceptions to the provisions for the PHS agency supplemental plan; and
- Requests to participate in the FWAP.
- The Director or his/her designee is responsible for establishing overall policy and procedures for the IHS FWAP.
- The Director, Division of Human Resources (DHR), is responsible for:
- Developing necessary updates for the IHS FWAP and disseminating FWAP information to the IHS Area offices;
- Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the IHS FWAP.
- The DHO and Area Directors or their designees are responsible for:
- Ensuring compliance within their respective organizations with applicable government-wide, HHS, and IHS policies concerning flexible workplace arrangements;
- Identifying positions that are suitable for the FWAP;
- Identifying barriers to the implementation of the FWAP;
- Designating FWAP coordinators (one or more) for their respective Areas; and
- Ensuring that all labor management obligations are satisfied prior to implementation and maintained once the program is implemented.
- Within their respective organizational components, all IHS Area FWAP Coordinators are responsible for:
- Advising supervisors and employees concerning the development of an employee-management agreement and the specific procedures for implementing the FWAP in their respective organizations;
- Disseminating FWAP materials and information;
- Developing or obtaining appropriate training for employees who participate in the FWAP and their supervisors;
- Arranging, as appropriate, employee use of satellite work centers;
- Ensuring that employee-agency agreements and agency-GSA agreements are consistent with pertinent laws, regulations, and policies concerning hours of work, pay, and leave, and signing each agreement;
- Researching problem issues and questions that arise during employees' participation in the FWAP and providing technical advice within their respective organizations on FWAP policies and procedures and pertinent regulations; and
- Reviewing employee FWAP participation for compliance with legal, regulatory, and policy requirements.
- Second-line supervisors serve as the approving/disapproving officials for requests to participate in the FWAP and are responsible for:
- Reviewing employee requests to participate in the FWAP to ensure that employee participation is in accordance with pertinent laws, regulations, and policies concerning hours of work, pay, and leave; and
- Modifying the terms of employee participation in the FWAP or terminating the participation as necessary when it is in the interest of the agency.
- First-line supervisors are responsible for:
- Receiving and reviewing employee requests to participate in the FWAP;
- Preparing, with the assistance of the organizational component's FWAP Coordinator, as necessary, an employee-agency agreement for long-term (more than two consecutive workweeks) participation in the FWAP; and
- Arranging appropriate program training for the employee(s) and themselves before an employee begins approved participation in the FWAP.
7-6-2.5 IHS Area Office Supplemental Plans
IHS Area Offices and Headquarters may each develop supplemental plans for implementing the FWAP. The plans should contain a procedure for identifying those positions suitable or not suitable for the FWAP and must identify barriers to implementing the FWAP and take appropriate action.
Work suitable for the FWAP depends on job content rather than on job title, type of appointment, or work schedule. The FWAP, for example, is feasible for work that requires thinking and writing -- data analysis, reviewing grants or cases, and writing decisions or reports. The FWAP may possibly also be used as data entry, word processing, or programming. Telephone-intensive tasks such as setting up conferences, obtaining information, and following up on participates in a study are also functions which could lend themselves to being performed under the FWAP. Positions in the now concluded government-wide pilot program included those of writer/editor, scientist, investigator, psychologist, environmental engineer, budget analyst, and computer specialist.
Work may not be suitable for the FWAP if an employee needs to have extensive face-to-face contact with supervisors, other employees, organization customers, direct patient care, or the general public. Other factors which would hinder FWAP participation include a need for access to equipment or material that cannot be moved from the official work station, or a special need for an agency to duplicate the same level of confidentiality or security at the alternative workplace as exists at the employee's official work station.
7-6-2.6 Labor Management Relations
Before implementing the FWAP within an organization where an employee union has obtained exclusive recognition, managers must satisfy their obligation to negotiate in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute and the provisions of existing negotiated agreements covering bargaining unit employees.
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