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Chapter 6 - Telework Arrangement Program

Part 7 - Human Resources Administration And Management

Title Sub-Section
Introduction 7-6.1
    Purpose 7-6.1A
    Background 7-6.1B
    Indian Health Service Telework System 7-6.1C
    Scope 7-6.1D
    Policy 7-6.1E
    Authorities 7-6.1F
    Definitions 7-6.1G
Program Requirements 7-6.2
    Participation 7-6.2A
    Eligibility Requirements 7-6.2B
    Position Compatibility 7-6.2C
    Employee Performance Requirements 7-6.2D
    Employee Conduct Requirements 7-6.2E
    Background Investigation or Security Requirements 7-6.2F
    Organizational Impact Assessment 7-6.2G
    Telework Training Requirements 7-6.2H
    Recruiting and Retention 7-6.2I
    Filling IHS Positions as Full-time Telework Positions 7-6.2J
    Work Closures, Early Dismissals, Late Arrivals, and Unscheduled Telework 7-6.2K
Telework Arrangements 7-6.3A
    Regular or Recurring Telework 7-6.3A
    Episodic or Situational Telework 7-6.3B
    Unscheduled Telework 7-6.3C
    Reasonable Accommodation 7-6.3D
Program Operation 7-6.4
    Alternate Worksites 7-6.4A
    Official Duty Station Determinations 7-6.4B
    Family Issues or Dependent Care 7-6.4C
    Schedules, Hours of Work, Pay, and Leave 7-6.4D
    Conduct 7-6.4E
    Performance Management 7-6.4F
    On-The-Job Injuries or Occupational Illnesses 7-6.4G
    Liability 7-6.4H
    Alternate Officing 7-6.4I
    Equipment and Supplies 7-6.4J
    Use of Appropriated Funds 7-6.4K
    Information Technology 7-6.4L
    Information Security Controls 7-6.4M
    Continuity of Operations Plan 7-6.4N
Procedures for Establishing a Telework Agreement 7-6.5
    Telework Arrangement Program Eligibility Notification 7-6.5A
    Eligibility Determinations 7-6.5B
    Ineligibility Determinations 7-6.5C
    Appealing Ineligibility Determination 7-6.5D
    Employee Telework Arrangement Program Applications 7-6.5E
    Application Disapproved 7-6.5F
    Telework Arrangement Program Agreements 7-6.5G
    Regular or Recurring Telework Agreements 7-6.5H
    Episodic or Situational Telework Agreements 7-6.5I
    Unscheduled Telework Agreements 7-6.5J
    Pre-Existing FWAP Agreements 7-6.5JK
    Annual Review of Telework Agreements 7-6.5L
    Modifications and Terminations of TAP Agreements 7-6.5M
    Procedures for Recalling a Teleworker to the IHS Worksite 7-6.5N
Responsibilities 7-6.6
    Director, IHS 7-6.6A
    Director, Office of Human Resources 7-6.6B
    Indian Health Service TAP Coordinator 7-6.6C
    Area Directors 7-6.6D
    Director, Regional Human Resources Office(s) 7-6.6E
    Regional TAP Coordinators 7-6.6F
    Second-Line Supervisors 7-6.6G
    First-Line Supervisors 7-6.6H
    Employees or Officers or Teleworkers 7-6.6I
Labor Management Relations 7-6.7
Reporting and Compliance 7-6.8
    Compliance 7-6.8A
    Reporting 7-6.8B

Exhibit Description
Manual Exhibit 7-6-A Telework Arrangement Program Application
Manual Exhibit 7-6-B Telework Agreement
Manual Exhibit 7-6-C Telework Safety Checklist for At-Home Teleworkers
Manual Exhibit 7-6-D Telework Equipment Inventory
Manual Exhibit 7-6-E Indian Health Service Telework Arrangement Program Official Notification of Eligibility
Manual Exhibit 7-6-F Notification of Modification/Termination of Telework Agreement


Telework is a workplace flexibility that can assist the Indian Health Service (IHS) in maintaining continuity of operations and reducing management costs while improving Federal employees' ability to balance their work and life commitments.  While Federal telework programs are established primarily to meet Agency mission and operational needs, advances in telecommunications, the rising costs of office space, growing air pollution, traffic congestion and changing social needs have increased interest in telework arrangements.  Telework is a practical solution to many workplace challenges.

  1. Purpose.  The purpose of this chapter is to revise the current IHS Flexible Workplace Arrangement Program (FWAP) policy and provide implementing guidelines for carrying out the requirements of Section 359, Public Law (P.L.) 106-346 and P.L. 111-292.  These guidelines apply to telework programs throughout the IHS and establish a policy under which employees may be authorized to telework to the extent possible without diminishing operations and employee performance.
  2. Background.  The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides guidance and regulations that govern IHS telework programs.  The earliest OPM guidance, from P. L. 106-346, instructed Federal Agencies to establish and/or review telework policies to reduce and eliminate barriers inhibiting the use of telework.
  3. Additionally, P.L. 111-292, provides a framework for agencies to better leverage technology and to maximize the use of flexible work arrangements, which will aid in recruiting new Federal workers, retaining valuable talent and allow the Federal government to maintain productivity in situations affecting the operating status of the organization and emergency situations requiring the activation of Continuation of Operations Plans (COOP).  Telework is an arrangement established to facilitate the accomplishment of work.

  4. Indian Health Service Telework System.  The IHS actively promotes telework as a legitimate flexibility for managers and employees.  However, telework is not a guaranteed right for all employees.  Federal law requires agencies to establish telework programs, but does not give individual employees a legal right to telework.  Employee participation in telework is voluntary and must be approved on a case-by-case basis.

    In addition, the purpose of this policy is to promote the IHS as an employer of choice; improve the recruitment and retention of high-quality employees through enhancements to employees' quality of life; enhance the IHS's efforts to employ and accommodate people with disabilities; improve the IHS's ability to reduce operating costs related to real estate and energy consumption; improve environmental sustainability efforts by reducing employee commutes; and complement the COOP.

  5. Scope.  This policy applies to all employees, civil service, and United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps Officers of the IHS and is not intended to address telework arrangements for contractors.  If, at any time, the organization is operating under a COOP, pandemic health crisis, or other emergency affecting the status of the organization, that plan shall supersede this Telework Arrangement Program (TAP) policy.
  6. Policy.  This chapter establishes the policy, procedures, and responsibilities to authorize IHS employees to telework to the extent possible without diminishing operations and employee performance.
  7. Authorities.
    1. Public Law No. 106-346, Section 359, dated October 23, 2000
    2. Office of Personnel Management memorandum dated February 9, 2001, "Establishing Telecommuting Policies"
    3. Public Law No. 111-292, "Telework Enhancement Act of 2010," 5 United States Code (U.S.C.), 65, Section 6502
    4. Office of Personnel Management memorandum dated December 13, 2010
    5. Office of Personnel Management Guide to Telework in the Federal Government
    6. Publication CA-810, Rev. January 1999, "Injury Compensation for Federal Employees," U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
    7. Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, "Policies for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors," dated August 27, 2004
    8. Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-11-11, "Continued Implementation of Homeland Security Presidential Directive"
    9. Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, "Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors," dated February 3, 2011
    10. HHS Instruction 990-1.2, "Telework Program Policy"
    11. 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 531.605, "Official Duty Station"
    12. The Guide to Processing Personnel Actions, Chapter 23, "Change in Duty Station"
    13. Commissioned Corps Instruction CC313.01, "Telework"
    14. 5 U.S.C. Section 2105, "Employee"
  8. Definitions.
    1. Indian Health Service Worksite.  The IHS worksite is also known as the Employing Organization on official personnel documents and personnel orders.  The IHS worksite is the regular worksite for the employee's position of record; the physical address or place where the employee would regularly report to duty and perform work.  The IHS worksite is established in accordance with official organizational charts and structure and will not fluctuate based on the telework status of the employee.
    2. Alternate Worksite.  An alternate worksite may also be known as alternate duty station, telework site, telework location.  A designated and approved worksite, other than the IHS worksite, that supports productive work and provides an environment, connectivity, and security appropriate to the work effort, i.e., a specific area at a telecommuting center, within an employee's residence or at another approved location other than the IHS worksite.
    3. Approving Official.  The individual with the authority to take official action, including modifying, terminating, approving and denying all TAP related actions for employees within their purview.  Within the IHS, the Approving Official is two supervisory levels above the particular position/employee.
    4. Official Duty Station.  For USPHS Commissioned Corps Officers, according to CC313.01, the Officer's residence cannot be designated as the official duty station. For civil service employees, pursuant to the OPM definition and as set forth in 5 CFR Section 531.605, official duty station is the location (city or town, county, and State) where the employee regularly performs his or her official work duties. Generally, the official duty station does not change unless an employee is on a full-time, long distance, Telework Agreement that is not temporary (duration of 6 months or more). Designation of the official duty station must be determined on a case-by-case basis using the following considerations:
      1. The official duty station for an employee who is scheduled to report to the IHS worksite at least twice a bi-weekly pay period is the location of the IHS worksite for the employee's position.
      2. The official duty station for an employee who is not scheduled to report at least twice a biweekly pay period to the IHS worksite is the location of the approved alternate worksite, except in certain temporary duty situations.  (See 5 CFR Section 531.605 for exceptions.)
      3. The official duty station for an employee whose work location varies on a recurring basis (mobile work), and who does not report at least twice each biweekly pay period to the IHS worksite, is the IHS worksite, as long as the employee is performing work within the same geographic area (established for the purpose of a given pay entitlement) as the IHS worksite.
    5. Alternate Officing.  A work arrangement utilized when a teleworking employee has no dedicated or assigned workspace at the IHS worksite, but instead uses one of the following arrangements when working at that location:
      1. Desk Sharing.  An arrangement in which two or more employees share the use of a single workspace where each employee has a scheduled or designated day or time for use of the workspace.
      2. Hoteling.  Shared office space designed for use on an as-needed basis.  The space is centrally located at the IHS worksite and is available for use by reservation only.  The manner in which the office is equipped may vary but is normally minimally equipped with standard office technology including phone, computer docking station, fax machine, copier, printer, e-mail, Internet access, etc.
      3. Hot Desking.  Hot desking is also known as touchdown workstations.  Normally, a "bank" of non-dedicated workstations available on a first come, first served basis (typically drop-in).  These workstations are normally equipped with limited office technology that may include; phone, computer (or docking station), Internet access; and, may have access to a fax machine, copier, and printer services.
    6. Mobile Work.  Mobile work is characterized by regular travel to and work in customer or target (designated) worksites as opposed to the IHS worksite.  Typical mobile work may include duties consistent with site audits, inspections, investigations, property management, etc.  It is distinguishable from telework in that the work being done by the employee is specific to a target site or location.  An employee who performs mobile work can be engaged in telework if their position is deemed compatible; they meet the eligibility criteria for telework participation; and are authorized to do so by their approving official.
    7. Remote Work.  Remote work, not previously a component of the FWAP, is a term utilized to refer to the work arrangement in which the employee works full-time from their personal residence located beyond the commuting area of the IHS worksite.  Remote work is now encompassed by this policy as a full-time telework arrangement.
    8. Satellite Worker.  An IHS satellite worker's official duty station is another IHS facility that is not the same as the employee's IHS worksite aligned with the employing organization or location of the employee's position.  (For example:  an employee who works for an IHS Headquarters organization, but whose official duty station is an Area Office building; or an employee who works for an Area Office but whose official duty station is at a Health Center.)  However, a satellite worker can be engaged in telework, from their satellite location, if they meet the eligibility criteria for telework participation and are authorized to do so by their approving official.  The satellite location is the official duty station and establishes the basis for all pay and benefits.
    9. Telework.  Telework is also referred to as flexi-place, work at home, flexible workplace arrangement, and telecommuting.  Telework is a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs duties and responsibilities of such employee's position, and other authorized activities, from an approved alternate worksite other than the IHS worksite in accordance with the terms of an employee-employer agreement.  This definition includes what historically has been referred to as "remote work" but does not include:
      1. Any part of work that is performed while on official travel (travel regulations and policy take precedence over telework.)
      2. Work performed while commuting to and from work, except as stipulated in section 7-6.4D.
      3. Full-time mobile work, as defined.
      4. Work performed as a satellite worker not combined with telework.
    10. Regular or Recurring Telework.  Performing official duties, at an approved alternate worksite, on a regularly scheduled ongoing basis for a period of several months or longer.
    11. Episodic or Situational Telework.  Episodic or situational telework may also be referred to as ad-hoc telework.  Work performed at an approved alternate worksite without an ongoing or regular schedule, normally for special work assignments, includes unscheduled telework.
    12. Unscheduled Telework.  A specific form of episodic or situational telework where unique circumstances do not allow for advanced scheduling.  Unscheduled telework is only made available in response to official announcements by authorized officials regarding situations or events impacting the operating status of the organization or a component of the organization such as emergency or continuity events.
      1. Continuity Event.  Continuity events would include a national or local emergency or pandemic health crisis that results in activation of continuity plans.
      2. Emergency Events.  Emergency events would include inclement weather or other situations that may disrupt normal operations and lead to an offering of "unscheduled telework."


  1. Participation.  Participation in the Telework Arrangement Program is voluntary, except in emergencies.  Employees cannot be compelled to participate in telework, even if some or all of the duties of the position can be performed at an alternate worksite.  Participation is not a guaranteed right for employees, is not applicable for every position and must be approved on a case-by-case basis.
    1. All employees, both managerial and non-managerial, may be deemed "telework eligible" by meeting established program requirements in Sections B and C below, however participation is not an entitlement.
    2. All employees who are "telework eligible" are considered eligible to request participation in the TAP.  Decisions will be based upon sound business and performance management principles related to individual and organization performance, identified in Sections C through G below.
    3. No employee will be allowed to participate in the TAP if they do not complete the required training identified in Section H below prior to completing a TAP Agreement.
    4. A TAP Agreement outlining the specific telework details is required, regardless of the type, frequency or duration of telework.  No employee will be allowed to telework under any circumstance without a completed TAP Agreement.  The TAP Agreement is not a contract for continued employment nor does it alter the conditions of employment.  For procedures on establishing the TAP Agreement, refer to Section 7-6.5.
  2. Eligibility Requirements.  In order for an employee to be approved to participate in the TAP, he or she must first be determined to be "telework eligible" by surpassing the legal and regulatory aspects barring telework participation established in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, and meeting the criteria established in this policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
    1. Requirements of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.  As set forth in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 Section 6502(b)(4) states that telework participation would not apply, except in emergency situations, to any Agency employee whose official duties require on a daily basis - every work day:
      1. Direct handling of secure, sensitive, or classified materials determined to be inappropriate for telework, or
      2. on-site activity that cannot be handled remotely or at an alternate worksite.  Examples include, but are not limited to, positions that are responsible for providing hands on services for others, face-to-face personal contact in some administrative, medical, counseling, or similar services, hands-on contact with machinery, equipment, vehicles, etc.; or other physically present or site dependent activity such as those that support the provision of care or services.
    2. Sections 6502(a)(2)(A) and (B).  Employees are ineligible for telework, under any or all circumstances, for conduct resulting in the employee being officially disciplined for:
      1. Being absent without leave (AWOL) for more than five (5) days in any calendar year.
      2. Violations of subpart G of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch for viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography, including child pornography, on a Federal Government computer or while performing official Federal Government duties.
    3. Section 6502(b)(3) specifies that an employee may not be authorized to telework if the performance of that employee does not comply with the terms of the written agreement between the IHS manager and that employee.
  3. Position Compatibility.  Positions that are compatible with telework are those that have job functions or tasks that can be performed effectively outside the IHS worksite.  Decisions on whether a position is compatible with telework must be based on the duties of the position to be performed, rather than job series or position title.  Factors to be considered include:
    1. The portability of the work or the portion (tasks) to be performed at the alternate worksite.  Tasks or assignments cannot require extensive face-to-face collaboration with customers or peers and must be able to be completed without visiting the IHS worksite.
    2. The availability and security of information required to perform the portable duties at the alternate worksite, including whether the information can be physically removed from the IHS worksite either in hard copy or electronic format, or whether the information is available and accessible in a secure electronic environment away from the IHS worksite.
    3. The equipment requirements of the position, including whether special equipment is required to perform the specific tasks or assignments.
    4. Information technology and connectivity requirements of the position that are available (or can reasonably be made available) at the alternate worksite.
  4. Employee Performance Requirements.  Employees are ineligible to participate in telework if:
    1. They are on a performance improvement plan.
    2. Their last performance rating of record is not at the fully successful level or higher, i.e., Achieved Expected results level (AE), Fully Successful level (FS), or Commissioned Officers' Effectiveness Report (COER) equivalent of fully successful "3" or above.
    3. Their current performance level is not maintained at all times at the fully successful level or higher on all elements contained in their performance plan.
    4. The employee is unable to perform the duties of their position independently without frequent, on-site or in-person contact with co-workers and supervisors for guidance and assistance.
    5. The employee has been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than 5 days in any calendar year.
  5. Employee Conduct Requirements.  Employees are ineligible to participate in telework if:  The employee has been officially disciplined as a Federal employee or in other employment for misconduct where a clear link exists between the misconduct and the employee's trustworthiness and dependability to perform at the telework site can be established.  The employee will remain ineligible to participate for a minimum period of 1 year from the effective date of the discipline.  The supervisor will follow the IHS Telework Eligibility Notification guidelines which includes a plan for reassessing telework eligibility.  Immediate supervisors and Approving Officials must consult with their Servicing Employee Relations Specialist in these situations.
  6. Background Investigation or Security Requirements.  Employees are ineligible to participate in telework if:  The trust level or security requirements of the position and the existing background investigation or security clearance of the employee are not compatible with granting access to information or information systems appropriate for the duties to be performed at the alternate worksite (at the time the telework eligibility determination is made).
  7. Organizational Impact Assessment.  The supervisor and Approving Official are responsible for ensuring that telework does not diminish operations or employee performance.  In upholding these responsibilities, management must evaluate the organizational impact of each TAP application in a consistent manner.  Operating factors to be considered include:
    1. The impact on required staffing levels in the office.
    2. Other employee schedules (including other employee telework schedules).
    3. Whether the employee's absence from the IHS worksite would unduly interrupt office operations, e.g., frequent face-to-face interaction and collaboration with customers or peers on a daily basis for the portion of work that will be accomplished off-site.
    4. Costs associated with the implementation of the TAP Agreement.
  8. Telework Training Requirements.
    1. Interactive telework training is required prior to entering into a TAP Agreement.  Any employee who does not provide evidence of completion of the required training is not eligible to enter into a TAP Agreement or to telework.
    2. Interactive Telework Training - For Employees.  "Telework 101 for Employees" is the interactive telework training required and available through the HHS University Learning Management System.  Prior to entering into a written agreement to telework, a copy of the certification of completion must be attached to the Telework Agreement.
    3. Eligible Supervisors or Managers.  Supervisors or managers who are approved to apply to become teleworkers must complete the required "Telework 101 for Employees" prior to completing a TAP Agreement with management or beginning to telework.  A certificate of completion must be provided with the TAP Agreement.
    4. Interactive Telework Training for Immediate Supervisors and Approving Officials.  Telework training is required for the immediate supervisor and Approving Official of teleworkers prior to signing an agreement with an employee to telework.  A copy of the certificate of completion must be provided to the servicing TAP Coordinator.  The immediate supervisor and Approving Official will enter the month and year the training was completed on the Telework Agreement.  "Telework 101 for Managers" is required and is available through the HHS University Learning Management System.
    5. Remote or Employees with Existing Flexible Workplace Arrangement Program Agreements.  Remote workers or employees with FWAP Agreements who will be continuing to telework must provide evidence of completion of the required training prior to entering into a TAP Agreement.
  9. Recruitment and Retention.  All vacant positions will be assessed to determine whether there are duties that can be performed while teleworking, in order to utilize telework as a recruitment tool.  If a determination is made that the position is compatible with telework, the hiring official will provide information with the job requisition to indicate telework, a workplace flexibility option, may be available or other language applicable to the specific position.
  10. Filling IHS Positions as Full-Time Telework Positions.  Management may determine, in advance of recruiting a position, that the duties of the position may be performed from either the IHS worksite or an alternate worksite under a full-time TAP Agreement.  If this is the case, management will be responsible for seeking appropriate managerial approval and providing information to the servicing human resources (HR) office in order to ensure that the Job Opportunity Announcement contains language indicating, "The position is compatible with a telework arrangement, up to full-time, contingent upon the selectee meeting eligibility and participation criteria outlined in Part 7, Chapter 6, "Telework Arrangement Program," Indian Health Manual (IHM).  However, in these cases, while the position may have been deemed compatible for a regular or recurring TAP Agreement, management must:
    1. Remain aware that the nature of the TAP is voluntary and selectees cannot be required to telework and/or telework cannot be a "condition of employment."
    2. Remain aware that employees may elect not to participate in the TAP or may terminate their participation in the TAP program at any time, and will perform their duties from the IHS worksite for the position.
    3. Be prepared to explain to the selectee the process or plan for establishing and maintaining a telework arrangement, e.g., including any requirement for him or her to report to the IHS worksite to perform the duties of the position for a period of time in order to allow an assessment of their ability to perform the duties of the position, obtain proper security clearance, etc.
    4. Ensure that the employee's eligibility and TAP application are evaluated in the same manner as all other employees prior to allowing the employee to telework or entering into an agreement with the employee to telework.
  11. Work Closures, Early Dismissals, Late Arrivals, and Unscheduled Telework.  A variety of situations can affect the status of the organization requiring the announcement of work closures, early dismissals, late arrivals, unscheduled leave, and unscheduled telework.  In order for an eligible employee to participate in unscheduled telework the employee must have an approved telework request that includes unscheduled telework, and have a completed TAP Agreement.
    1. Employees who are scheduled to telework on the affected day, including remote workers, will be expected to perform work during their regular tour unless circumstances at their alternate worksite prohibit them from performing regular telework, i.e., electricity failure, flooding, etc.  If the employee is unable to telework on such a day (or part of a day) due to personal reasons, such as the unavailability of dependent care, school closings or personal business, and the telework site is operational, the employee will be required to request leave for the entire day or the portion of the day in which the employee is not teleworking.
    2. Teleworkers who are not scheduled to telework on the affected day will understand any requirements and reporting responsibilities to perform unscheduled telework (if eligible) which will be documented in the TAP Agreement.
    3. Employees who are required to telework during their regular tour of duty on a day when the status of the organizational component is affected are not entitled to receive overtime pay, credit hours, or compensatory time off for performing work during their regularly scheduled hours.


  1. Regular or Recurring Telework.  Regular or recurring telework occurs as part of a routine ongoing regular schedule in which the days of the week or pay period or month do not fluctuate.  Regular or recurring TAP Agreements can range from part-time to full-time; however, part-time schedules are the most common form with full-time being very rare.  Employees who are determined to be eligible for regular or recurring telework are normally eligible for episodic or situational telework, including unscheduled telework.
  2. Episodic or Situational Telework.  Episodic or situational telework occurs without a regular schedule; however it is requested and approved in advance of being performed.  Some examples where episodic or situational telework may be appropriate include:  Completing discrete portions of projects or work assignments, recovering from an illness or injury, during office renovation, and receiving reasonable accommodation.  This list is not all inclusive.  Eligibility for episodic or situational telework normally includes eligibility for unscheduled telework, but not regular or recurring telework.
  3. Unscheduled Telework.  Unscheduled telework serves as a means for the IHS to continue work operations and maintain productivity during an emergency event involving inclement weather or other emergency situations that may result in a disruption to normal office operations.  Unscheduled telework may only be approved on days when an official announcement has made it available for use and sufficient duties can be performed from the alternate worksite.  If there are not sufficient duties to comprise a full tour of duty, a combination of unscheduled telework and other available options must be requested and approved, i.e., unscheduled leave.  Unscheduled telework may not be approved for personal reasons or any other reason unrelated to an organizational emergency event.
  4. Reasonable Accommodation.  The flexible arrangements described as "telework" are governed by the telework laws, i.e., P. L. 106-346, § 359 (2000); P. L. 108-199, Division B, § 627 (2004); P. L. 108-447, Division B, § 622 (2004); and, most recently, P. L. 111-292 (Telework Enhancement Act of 2010), while reasonable accommodations are governed by Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 791 et seq., which was made applicable to Federal employees pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    While telework may enhance the ability to grant an employee's request for reasonable accommodation, it is important to distinguish between ordinary requests to telework, including those submitted from employees who are recovering from an illness or injury of a temporary nature and those requests that have reasonable accommodation as a component. All TAP applications that request telework as a reasonable accommodation must be handled in a manner consistent with IHS Circular No. 2004-06, "Policies and Procedures for Requesting Reasonable Accommodation for Individuals with Disabilities."

    Managers and supervisors must consult with the appropriate IHS Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity Office and the servicing HR offices (Employee Relations or Labor Relations) in order to understand their responsibilities under the various laws and to coordinate the appropriate response.

    A TAP Agreement must be completed to memorialize any arrangement wherein reasonable accommodation is a component.


  1. Alternate Worksites.  The IHS encourages a proactive approach by teleworkers to ensure safe and appropriate alternate worksites as well as safe work habits.  An IHS employee who is requesting to telework must identify an alternate worksite that supports productive work and provides an environment, connectivity, and security appropriate to the work of the employee.  All proposed alternate worksites must be approved by the immediate supervisor and Approving Official, and may include:
    1. Work-At-Home.  For all at-home work arrangements, the employee is required to designate one area in the employee's personal residence as the official work area that is suitable for the performance of official government business.  The government's potential exposure to liability is restricted to this official work area.  The area is specifically identified and described in the TAP Agreement.  Work-At-Home teleworkers shall maintain the official work area free of safety hazards and other dangers, and shall use and maintain IHS property, including files and remote access resources, in a safe and appropriate manner.  Manual Exhibit 7-6-C, "Telework Safety Checklist for At-Home Teleworkers," shall be completed as part of the worker's TAP Agreement.
    2. Telework Center.  The use of a telework center is normally on a fee-for-use basis and requires the IHS to complete all activities for the procurement of a lease for such space.  Authorized telework centers provide unique benefits that working from home or other locations typically do not provide such as: office space with freedom from the possible distractions of home life, on-site technical support, and access to a wide array of up-to-date equipment, i.e., telephone lines and high-speed Internet access, fax machines, printers, copiers, and audio and video conferencing capabilities.
    3. Work at other Alternate Locations.  Any request to telework at an alternate worksite other than the employee's primary residence or an authorized telework center should be extensively reviewed by the Approving Official who must ensure all appropriate IHS officials are consulted, e.g., Contracting, Finance, OIT, Property, etc., prior to approval.
    4. Conducting Meetings at Alternate Worksites.  Face-to-face meetings with customers will not be conducted at any alternate worksite unless specifically authorized by the immediate supervisor in advance.  Under no circumstances, will face-to-face meetings with customers be conducted at the residence of an employee.
    5. Changing the Alternate Worksite.  If an employee proposes to use some other site as the alternate duty station (other than that approved in the TAP Agreement), either permanently or on an isolated occasion, the employee must submit a written request for a modification of the telework arrangement found at Manual Exhibit 7-6-F, "Modification/Termination of Telework Agreement," and receive approval, in advance of the occasion.  For liability purposes, it is important that the TAP modification or termination request be forwarded to the servicing Telework Coordinator for retention.
    6. Ensuring Safety at the Alternate Worksite.  If requested, the employee must permit periodic inspections of the alternate worksite during the employee's normal working hours, to ensure proper maintenance of IHS-owned property and alternate worksite conformance with safety standards and other specifications in this policy.  The employee will be given at least 24 hours advance notice of such inspection unless the inspection is a result of an investigation of an on-the-job injury occurring at the alternate worksite.
  2. Official Duty Station Determinations.  The official duty station determination for each civil service employee shall be consistent with the guidance set forth in Section 531.605, Title 5, CFR and this chapter.  Each determination will be on a case-by-case basis and is subject only to OPM review and oversight.  Generally, telework does not change the official duty station unless an employee teleworks full-time (100%) and lives in a different city, county, or State than where the IHS worksite is located.  If the employee does not report to his or her IHS worksite at least twice per bi-weekly pay period and is not on a short-term, temporary agreement of 6 months or less, the official duty station must be changed to the location of the alternate worksite.
    1. Changing the Official Duty Station.  Since telework is a voluntary program, any TAP request that is approved and results in a determination that their official duty station designation must be changed from the IHS worksite to the alternate worksite, the action will be officially taken as an "employee requested action."  (See item #5 below for official procedures on changing the official duty station.)
    2. Official Duty Station Outside the Commuting Area of the IHS Worksite.  Employees requesting designation of their alternate worksite as their official duty station which is outside the commuting area of the IHS worksite will not be entitled to receive relocation expenses.  Included are situations where TAP Agreements are established and also where TAP Agreements are terminated or modified by either the employee or management resulting in the return of the employee to the IHS worksite and the subsequent adjustment to their official duty station on official personnel records.
    3. Compensation or Benefits Based on Official Duty Station.  Employees are compensated based on the location of the official duty station; therefore, changes in an employee's official duty station from the IHS worksite to the alternate worksite may impact the locality pay of the employee.  The immediate supervisor must ensure the employee is aware of any impact to the employee's benefits or pay that will result from the change of duty station.
    4. Reimbursement for Official Business Travel.  Under applicable travel regulations, employees are entitled to reimbursement for official business travel to the IHS worksite when the employee teleworks full-time from a location outside of the local commuting area and the alternate worksite has been designated as the official duty station.
    5. Human Resources Processing of Change in Official Duty Station.  The management official will initiate a Personnel Action Request (PAR) and provide a copy of the TAP Agreement executed between the employee and the management official as an electronic attachment to the PAR.  The Servicing HR Office Director will ensure the action is carried out in accordance with applicable rules and regulations and that a Standard Form (SF) 50, "Notification of Personnel Action," is generated to record an official change in duty station.  The SF-50 will contain the remarks "Action at Employee Request.  Telework Arrangement Program Agreement executed (date)."  The official duty station is designated on the SF-50, "Notification of Personnel Action," specifically in blocks #38 and #39, of civilian employees, as the city or town, county and State only.  The documentation to support the action will be retained in the Official Personnel File.
  3. Family Issues or Dependent Care.  Teleworking is expected to help employees balance the demands of their work and family lives through a decrease in time spent commuting between work and home.  Telework cannot be used to conduct personal business or to provide dependent care.  During the established tour of duty, teleworkers must ensure that appropriate child care, elder care, and any other dependent care arrangements are made so that their ability to complete work assignments is not impeded.
    1. If the situation arises where the employee must attend to a dependent at the telework site during scheduled duty hours, the employee must notify the supervisor in advance and request approval for unscheduled leave.
    2. It is important for employee's to understand their responsibilities to ensure appropriate arrangements are made for dependent care - as repeated requests for unscheduled leave for dependent care could be grounds for managers to terminate participation in the TAP.
  4. Schedules, Hours of Work, Pay, and Leave.
    1. Establishing Telework Schedules.  In general, supervisors have the authority, within policy parameters, to establish work schedules including standard (fixed) and alternate work schedules, i.e., compressed and flexible, that meet their office needs; are consistent with the nature of the work being performed and are consistent with the frequency of communication necessary with those at the original worksite or with customers in other locations.
    2. Availability.  The employee's availability should be equal to being in the office, i.e., accessible via email, instant messaging or phone with minimal delay. Telework that impacts the organization in a negative manner is not acceptable.
    3. Hours of Work.  Teleworkers must be accessible during regular duty hours to the supervisor and other management officials, co-workers, and customers and will not engage in any non-governmental activities while in official duty status at the alternate worksite.
      1. Reporting requirements are the same for teleworkers as for office employees.
      2. Employees are not allowed to leave the approved alternate worksite to take care of personal business, i.e., errands, shopping, picking children up from school, doctor's appointments, etc., without requesting and receiving approval of their leave.  Failure to request and obtain leave approval in advance will result in the employee being placed in AWOL status. Additionally, the Federal government will assume no liability for such misconduct.
      3. Employees may not "flex" on-duty and off-duty during his or her tour of duty, making up such time by working later than the established end of the regular workday, while working at the alternate duty station.  The entire workday must be completed without interruption except for established purposes (lunch period) or approved leave.
    4. Commuting Time as Hours of Work.  Commuting from home to work and from work to home is not hours of work and is not compensable, except:
      1. A Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) non-exempt employee may be compensated for commuting time if he or she is officially directed to perform work while commuting (e.g., productive work of a significant nature that is an integral and indispensable part of the employee's principal activities).
      2. A FLSA-exempt employee's commuting time may be hours of work if he or she is officially directed to perform work while commuting.
    5. Pay.  All pay will be in accordance with current rules and regulations, including payment of night and Sunday differential and apply to employees on TAP Agreements in the same manner as they apply to a traditional office setting.
    6. Overtime.  Overtime will not be performed or compensated without proper advance approval by the immediate supervisor.
    7. Employees Receiving Transit Subsidy.  Employees who receive a transit subsidy paid by the employer must reduce the transit subsidy amount which they claim or accept to account for days worked at the alternate worksite in the same manner as reductions in subsidy amount for days of leave, travel, etc.  Federal law requires that transit subsidy funds be paid only for days on which public transit is used to travel to and from an employee's official duty station.
    8. Leave.  All pertinent absence and leave policies and regulations apply to employees on TAP Agreements in the same manner as apply to a traditional office setting. Failure to follow proper leave requesting procedures for planned or unplanned periods of unavailability will result in the employee being charged AWOL and may result in the termination of the TAP Agreement.
    9. Employer Generated trips to the IHS worksite on Telework Days
      1. Employees working at an alternate worksite may be required to report to the IHS worksite, by their supervisors under special circumstances, to attend meetings, training, conferences or other events that cannot be satisfied by other alternative methods, i.e., teleconference, video-conference, etc., which are temporary in nature.
      2. There may be circumstances that occur that cause the temporary suspension of participation in the TAP for some or all employees for more extensive periods of time, i.e., employer organization exigencies, reasonable work related needs of the employee's division or department, or an emergency or disaster that impacts the alternate worksite, the IHS worksite, etc.  Any such temporary suspension of the telework arrangement will be kept to as short a duration as reasonably feasible.
      3. For procedures on recalling a teleworker to the IHS Worksite see Section 7-6.5N.
    10. Employee Generated Trips to the IHS Worksite on a Scheduled Telework Day.  For circumstances, not employer generated, where the employee deems it necessary to return to the IHS worksite on a scheduled telework day, e.g., to retrieve documents or files, attend customer meetings, etc., employees must request approval from their immediate supervisor in advance of reporting to the IHS worksite.  If the trip is approved and occurs during the regularly scheduled tour of duty, the time spent travelling may be considered hours of work and should be calculated in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations.  If the trip requires travel outside of the regularly scheduled tour of duty, overtime may be incurred and must be requested and authorized in advance.  There is no entitlement to reimbursement for mileage or other travel related expenses unless the employee works remotely on a full-time TAP agreement.
  5. Conduct.  Teleworking employees shall adhere to the Standards of Conduct for Executive Branch Employees and other supplemental standards, as issued, while working at the alternate worksite.
  6. Performance Management.  Work performed at the alternate work site will be evaluated by the same performance standards and procedures that apply at the IHS worksite and will not differ between teleworkers and other employees performing similar or identical duties.
    1. Supervisors and employees should fully discuss and understand performance expectations in the initial phase of establishing a TAP Agreement.
    2. The supervisor may request regular reports from teleworkers on the status of work products in order to evaluate performance if those same reports are requested and required of employees who do not telework.
  7. On-The-Job Injuries or Occupational Illnesses.
    1. Civil Service employees are covered under the Federal Employee's Compensation Act, if injured in the course of performing official duties at the alternate worksite.
    2. United States PHS Commissioned Corps Officers who are injured in the course of performing official duties at the alternate worksite are entitled to medical care and compensation in the same manner as other USPHS Commissioned Corps Officers injured in the course of performing official duties at the IHS worksite.
    3. The required report of the injury should be submitted immediately to ensure the opportunity to conduct an investigation of the injury and the alternate worksite, as the supervisor deems appropriate.  However, all rules and regulations prescribed by the Department of Labor and USPHS continue to apply.
  8. Liability.  The IHS will not be liable for damages to an employee's personal or real property during the course of performance of official duties or while IHS equipment is in use at the alternate worksite, except to the extent the IHS is held liable by the Federal Tort Claims Act or the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act.
  9. Alternate Officing.  Alternate officing should be considered as a means of taking advantage of potential space savings in cases where an employee telecommutes on a regular or recurring basis.  Alternate officing requirements will be understood and documented in the TAP Agreement.  Although employees may not be required to participate in alternate officing at the onset of telework, changing operational needs may warrant participation at a later date resulting in the modification of the TAP Agreement.
  10. Equipment and Supplies.
    1. Equipment Requirements and Responsibilities.  All equipment requirements and responsibilities will be considered on a case-by-case basis and be identified in the TAP Agreement.  Employees will not be supplied equipment to duplicate workstations at both the alternate worksite and the IHS worksite.
    2. Employee Provided Equipment.  Employees may provide agreed upon equipment for use at the alternate worksite, in lieu of Government Furnished Equipment (GFE).  However, the government will not assume any liability or repair such equipment.
    3. Government-Furnished Equipment.  If GFE is necessary for the performance of the duties at the alternate worksite, GFE may be loaned to the employee for telework use if; the GFE is available or if it is determined that funds can be made available to purchase new equipment; and the security of the GFE at the alternate worksite can be reasonably assured.  The use of GFE by anyone other than the employee, i.e., family members, friends, is strictly prohibited.
      1. The GFE may include equipment necessary to establish an effective work environment at the alternate worksite.  For example, some employees may need assistive technologies as reasonable accommodation for disability.
      2. All equipment required for teleworkers will be properly documented by completion of the Manual Exhibit 7-6-D "Telework Equipment Inventory," which will become a part of the employee's TAP Agreement.
    4. Supplies.  The employee will be provided supplies necessary for the performance of their official government duties at the alternate worksite.  Employees will not be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for supplies unless approved in advance by their supervisor.  Employees will not be provided supplies for personal equipment or personal use.
  11. Use of Appropriated Funds.
    1. Consistent with the applicable guidance, the IHS may use appropriated funds to support employees who telework on a routine basis, when the purpose is for official Government business only.  However, these decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the frequency of telework, job requirements, business need and funding availability.
    2. The employer will not assume responsibility for any operating costs which result from the employee's use of their personal residence as the alternate worksite.
    3. Telework requirements include reimbursement for business-related long distance phone calls over the employee's personal phone.  These calls must be approved by the supervisor, as required by the General Services Administration regulations.  Costs such as these should be included when evaluating a TAP application.
  12. Information Technology.
    1. Indian Health Service-provided computers and equipment.
      1. Employees who telework on a regular and recurring basis will be issued one laptop computer for use at both the IHS worksite and any alternate worksite.  Docking stations, monitors and appropriate cabling will be provided to teleworkers needing to provision a home work station.  Other information technology (IT) related equipment may be issued at management discretion, depending on the particular duties of the employee.
      2. Indian Health Service employees may not, under any circumstances, allow any unauthorized personnel (including family members or friends) to use an IHS-provided computer.
      3. For purposes of episodic telework, including unscheduled or emergency telework, employees who do not have a government-furnished laptop will be able to use any computer with an Internet browser and connection to access a secure remote desktop where they will be able to conduct most of their normal business, such as email and access to personal and shared network folders.  Employees requiring such access on an urgent basis will be assisted by their local IT support staff.
      4. Employees have a continuing responsibility to safeguard Government property and are responsible for the care, security, and effective utilization of the Government property, including any computers or related equipment they use to perform official duties. (See 5 CFR §§ 2635.101(b)(9), 2635.704(a), and 2635.705).  Employees may be financially liable for the property if it is stolen, damaged, lost, or destroyed as a result of negligence, improper use, or other willful actions.

        Indian Health Service IT support staff will not provide equipment installation outside an IHS worksite.  Teleworkers will be provided with installation instructions and all required software will be installed at an IHS worksite (or by remote control) by IHS IT support staff.  Teleworkers will be expected to plug in cables, add paper and ink or toner and perform basic user maintenance on their own at the appropriate alternate worksite.

      5. Management retains the option, on a case-by-case basis, to provide an employee a printer or other peripheral equipment, depending on job requirement, business need, and funding availability.
      6. Issuance of equipment such as cellular phones, Smartphones, or other mobile devices is based on job requirements.  Employees whose jobs require such equipment must request it in accordance with 8-17 IHM, "Agency-Issued Cellular Telephones, Blackberry®, Smartphones, and Personal Digital Assistant Devices."
    2. Non-IHS-provided IT Equipment.  Teleworkers may use non-IHS provided peripheral devices such as printers.  Teleworkers using non-IHS provided equipment are responsible for its service and maintenance and all consumables, such as toner, ink, or paper for printers.
    3. Information Technology Support for Telework.
      1. Indian Health Service IT support staff may only provide basic connectivity and driver installation support for the use of non-IHS peripheral devices.
      2. Indian Health Service IT support will not troubleshoot or repair non-IHS provided equipment.
      3. Indian Health Service IT support will not enable configuration of IHS network-connected equipment to communicate with devices outside the IHS network (such as a printer on a home wireless network).
      4. The IHS retains ownership and control of all IHS-provided IT hardware, software, and peripherals and is responsible for maintaining, providing support for and repairing the equipment regardless of whether it is used in an IHS worksite or at an appropriate alternate worksite.  Information Technology support for IHS-provided equipment is provided by IHS IT employees or authorized contractors.
      5. When an IT issue cannot be resolved remotely, employees working at alternate worksites may be directed by their local IT support staff to bring their IHS-provided devices to the nearest IHS worksite, or to ship the product to a location where local support and/or replacement parts can be dispatched.  The IHS will not provide on-site IT support at alternate worksites.
      6. Support for teleworkers using telework centers or similar facilities are dependent on whether the teleworker is using telework center supplied computers or using an IHS-provided computer. Teleworkers using telework center supplied computers must obtain support from the telework center.  However, teleworkers using IHS-provided equipment must contact the IHS IT support staff for assistance.
    4. Internet Connectivity for Teleworkers.
      1. Teleworkers whose positions require access to IHS electronic files or business applications are expected to personally provide Internet service.  Indian Health Service organizations retain the option, on a case-by-case basis, to pay for an employee's Internet service, depending on job requirements, business case and funding availability.  Indian Health Service employees may not, under any circumstances, allow any unauthorized personnel (including family members or friends) to use an IHS-provided Internet connection.  To enable maximum productivity, a persistent broadband Internet connection such as cable or other broadband connection is required for all teleworkers.  Dial-up and tethering, e.g., via Smartphone, is not acceptable as a regular telework communications solution.
      2. If high-speed Internet service is not available and lack of remote access would adversely impact an employee's productivity, alternative options, including the use of telework centers, should be explored with the local IT manager and management, as appropriate.
  13. Information Security Controls.  Information Technology security requirements defined in Part 8, Chapter 12, "Information Technology Security," IHM, as well as Part 8, Chapter 8, "IT Security for Remote Access," IHM are critical to the safety or security of the IHS IT systems and data, and apply to all teleworkers.  Teleworkers are responsible for reading, understanding and complying with these policies.  These policies are available through the IHM website.

    The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and User Guide for use of the IHS Virtual Private Network (VPN) are located at:
    Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)


    User Guide for use of the IHS Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    1. Any IHS-provided IT device or electronic media discovered lost or stolen must be immediately reported by the teleworker to the appropriate Information System Security Officer, the local IT manager, and other designated personnel, as stipulated in Part 8, Chapter 9, "Establishing an Incident Response Capability," IHM and the IHS "Standard Operating Procedure for Incident Reporting":
    2. Only IHS employees and authorized contractors are allowed to use IHS-provided computers, an IHS VPN connection, or an IHS-provided Internet connection.  Indian Health Service employees may not, under any circumstances, allow any unauthorized personnel (including family members or friends) to use an IHS-provided computer, an IHS VPN connection, or an IHS-provided Internet connection to connect to the secure network of the IHS.  The employee must ensure that all GFE is used only by the employee and in accordance with the guidance issued in Part 8, Chapter 6, "Limited Personal Use of IT Resources," IHM.
    3. All remote access connections into the IHS network will automatically terminate after a period of inactivity.  Inactivity is defined as no mouse movement or clicks or keyboard keys pressed within a set period.  Teleworkers should save work frequently to minimize impact of remote connection loss due to inactivity or otherwise.
    4. Teleworkers shall adhere to IHS policy for handling of sensitive and confidential documents and Government records.  Physical documents of a sensitive nature shall not be removed from IHS facilities without the express approval of the immediate supervisor.  Sensitive documents shall not be printed or stored at non-IHS locations.  Electronic copies of IHS documents may only be stored on encrypted media as stipulated here.
  14. Continuity of Operations Plan.  The IHS is fully dedicated to leverage its telework capabilities to augment, when feasible, its COOP.  However, the use of telework shall be situation specific in accordance with the IHS COOP, due to the nature of IHS's mission; certain functions must be performed at dedicated continuity facilities.  Furthermore, the nature of the continuity event may preclude the ability to use telework.  During any period that IHS is operating under an activated COOP, that COOP plan supersedes this chapter.


  1. Telework Arrangement Program Eligibility Notification.  Manual Exhibit 7-6-E, "Indian Health Service Telework Arrangement Program Official Notification of Eligibility," will be utilized IHS-wide to notify employees of their eligibility to participate in the IHS TAP. Eligibility for participation will be based on the criteria established in Section 7-6.2
    1. Current IHS Employees.  All current IHS employees will receive official notification of the determination regarding their eligibility to request participation in the TAP upon implementation of the TAP policy.  There will be no reassessment required unless the conditions identified below in items 3 or 4 (below) exist.
    2. New Employees and Transfers.  Employees who are new to the Federal government; employees who are reinstated; and employees who change positions, whether by transfer from within the IHS, within a department or from another agency; will receive the Telework Eligibility Notification no later than 30 days after entering the position.
    3. Change in Duties of Current Position.
      1. If an employee's position is re-classified, management will re-assess the employee's eligibility to participate in the IHS TAP.  Management must provide the employee a Telework Eligibility Notification within 30 days of the reclassification.
      2. If the employee believes the duties of their position have changed and their eligibility to participate in the TAP should be reassessed, he or she may make such a request in writing to their immediate supervisor.  Decisions based on such requests should be rendered by the Approving Official within 30 calendar days through the issuance of the Notification of Telework Eligibility.
  2. Eligibility Determinations.  Employees who are deemed eligible to participate in the TAP may submit an IHS TAP application if they are interested in pursuing a telework arrangement.  Manual Exhibit 7-6-A, "Telework Arrangement Program Application," will be utilized organization-wide by eligible employees to request participation in the TAP, for all types of telework.
  3. Ineligibility Determinations.
    1. If the employee is deemed temporarily ineligible to participate in the TAP, he or she will be notified of the basis for the ineligible determination; the timeframe under which a subsequent eligibility determination will be made; and any action the employee can take to improve their chances of being found eligible upon reassessment.
    2. Some employees may be permanently barred from participation due to legal or regulatory criteria established in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.  If the employee is deemed permanently ineligible to participate in the TAP, he or she will be notified of the basis for the ineligible determination and the permanent nature of the determination.
    3. Some positions may not be compatible with telework resulting in ineligible determinations.  Unless conditions warrant, there is no requirement for subsequent eligibility assessments.
  4. Appealing Ineligibility Determinations.  Employees who disagree with the determination that they are ineligible to request participation to telework may utilize the appropriate grievance procedure for appealing such a determination.
  5. Employee Telework Arrangement Program Applications.
    1. Eligible Employees.  All employees, both managerial and non-managerial, who have received official notification of their eligibility and who are interested in participating in the TAP must complete and submit Manual Exhibit 7-6-A, "Telework Arrangement Program Application," to their immediate supervisor.
    2. Recommending Supervisors.  In preparing a recommendation to the Approving Official, the immediate supervisor will re-establish the employee's eligibility to participate in the TAP program, due to the potential that time may have lapsed since the initial eligibility determination was made.  The TAP application will be evaluated to determine if the request can be carried out without diminishing the performance of the organization or the employee in conjunction with the operating factors identified in 7-6.2G.
    3. Approving Official.  The Approving Official will review the employee's TAP application package and the immediate supervisor's recommendation, to provide a written decision within 30 calendar days of receipt of the application, unless an agreement is reached between the Approving Official and the employee in advance to extend the timeframe.
  6. Application Disapproved.
    1. If an employee's application to participate in the TAP is disapproved:  The written decision will contain:
      1. The Approving Official's explanation for the decision.
      2. When the employee may reapply.
      3. (If applicable) What actions the employee could take to improve his or her chance of approval.
    2. Affected employees may appeal decisions to deny participation through the appropriate grievance procedures.
  7. Telework Arrangement Program Agreements.
    1. Manual Exhibit 7-6-B, "Telework Arrangement Program Agreement" will be utilized, organization-wide, to establish the terms and conditions of participation in the TAP.
    2. A single TAP Agreement can be established for all three types of telework (if the employee is eligible for all types).
    3. The TAP Agreement will be completed within 30 calendar days of the approval of the TAP application - contingent upon the employee completing the required training.
  8. Regular or Recurring Telework Agreements.  Employees will commence teleworking within 30 days of signing the TAP Agreement for regular or recurring telework, unless, by mutual agreement, there is an agreed upon extension to the timeframe.
  9. Episodic or Situational Telework Agreements.  Employees who have a TAP Agreement in place covering episodic or situational telework are eligible to perform episodic or situational telework when the need arises, with supervisory approval.  When employees identify work projects or tasks or have needs to perform episodic or situational telework, they will submit Attachment 1 of the TAP Agreement, Episodic/Situational Telework Request, in advance, to request approval for each episodic or situational telework occasion.  This document will serve as documentation for time and attendance records and reporting purposes.  The employee will utilize Attachment 2 of the TAP Agreement, Report of Episodic/Situational Telework, each time episodic/situational telework is performed.  In order to ensure timely reporting, Attachment 2 will be completed and submitted in two week increments that coincide with the submission of payroll data for civilian employees.  This document will serve as documentation for reporting purposes.
  10. Unscheduled Telework Agreements.  Employees who have a TAP Agreement in place authorizing unscheduled telework are eligible to perform unscheduled telework when the circumstances arise, with supervisory approval.  The procedures the employee will be expected to follow in regards to requesting approval to work unscheduled telework should be outlined in the TAP Agreement.  When establishing the procedures to follow, both parties should keep in mind the conditions that trigger the decision to make unscheduled telework available, can vary from inclement weather up to a continuity or pandemic event.  The employee will submit Attachment 3 of the TAP Agreement, Report of Unscheduled Telework, each time unscheduled telework is performed.  This document will serve as documentation for time and attendance records and reporting purposes.
  11. Pre-Existing FWAP Agreements.  All pre-existing FWAP Agreements must be brought into conformance with this policy.  Additionally, all employees who perform work for the IHS in a manner described as "remote work" must be placed on a TAP agreement.
  12. Annual Review of Telework Agreements.  Telework arrangements or agreements will be reviewed at least annually at the same time the employee's year end performance evaluation is conducted.
  13. Modifications and Terminations of TAP Agreements.  Telework Agreements may be modified or terminated in response to a management or employee request and should be carried out through the IHS Telework "Modification/Termination of Telework Agreement" form, (Manual Exhibit 7-6-F) the guidelines in this policy and any applicable negotiated collective bargaining agreement. All timeframes applicable to executing a TAP Agreement for approved modification requests are the same as identified above in Sections C, D, F, and G.
    1. Employee Requested Modifications or Termination.  Employees may request to modify their TAP Agreement or may terminate their telework arrangement at any time, without cause.  They are, however, expected to give sufficient notice (at least 14 calendar days) when terminating an arrangement so that necessary accommodations can be made for their return to the IHS worksite.
    2. Employee Requested Modifications.  The immediate supervisor will review the modification request and prepare a recommendation to the Approving Official who serves as the deciding official.  A decision will be rendered within 30 calendar days of receipt of the employee's request, unless an extension of the timeframe is mutually agreed upon between the employee and the Approving Official.
      1. If the employees request to modify the telework arrangement is approved, a new TAP Agreement must be executed between the supervisor and the employee.
      2. If the modification request is denied, the Approving Official's decision will provide the employee the reason(s) for the denial.  Employees may appeal the denial of the modification request through the applicable grievance procedure.
    3. Employee Requested Terminations.  Employees who terminate their participation in the TAP should understand that they must reapply to the TAP and should not expect automatic reinstatement of the prior arrangement.  The decision will be based on the criteria established within this policy and any collective bargaining agreement.
    4. Management Initiated Modifications or Terminations.  There are a variety of reasons and circumstances that could result in a management initiated modification or termination of a TAP Agreement in addition to circumstances that would require management to recall an employee to the IHS worksite on days the employee is scheduled to telework.  The circumstance will dictate whether or not advance notice is possible or practicable.  For Bargaining Unit Employees, Modifications/Terminations are deemed changes in working conditions and may have alternate procedures stipulated in applicable Collective Bargaining Agreements that may apply.  It is important that management officials consult with their servicing HR specialist prior to initiating such activities.
      1. In all cases, management initiated modifications or terminations of a TAP Agreement constitute neither a disciplinary nor an adverse action.  However, if the facts and circumstances supporting the change constitute cause for proposing discipline or adverse action, it is understood that the disciplinary action is an action that may be undertaken by management, independent of the modification or termination of the TAP Agreement.
      2. Modifications or terminations of existing TAP Agreements will be made by the Approving Official for valid business reasons and those related to employee eligibility.  Examples include (but are not limited to): the employee no longer meets the eligibility criteria; the employee fails to meet the terms and conditions of the TAP Agreement; the TAP Agreement no longer supports the mission of the organization; change in work requirements or operations; the employee has not demonstrated an ability to work alone without on-site supervision, etc.
      3. When feasible, the employee will be provided a minimum 10 day advance notice, the reasons for the modification or termination of a TAP Agreement, and the effective date; except advance notice is not required where:
        1. Otherwise specified in Collective Bargaining Agreements.
        2. Work-related circumstances require otherwise, e.g., emergency situations (see Section M below, "Recalling a Teleworker to the IHS Worksite.")
        3. Management determines that the teleworker is not meeting criteria related to maintaining performance levels at the fully successful level or higher.
        4. The employee breached information security protocol.
        5. Employees who disagree with the decision may present their challenge through the applicable grievance procedure.
    5. Automatic Termination of TAP Agreements.  All TAP Agreements will be automatically terminated without any requirement for formal notification any time an employee accepts a new position.  Participation in the TAP is terminated upon the effective date of the action that places them in the new position.  The employee will be allowed to reapply when they have been notified that they are eligible to participate in the new position.
  14. Procedures for Recalling a Teleworker to the IHS Worksite.
    1. Employees working at an alternate worksite may be required to report to the IHS worksite, by their supervisors under special circumstances, to attend meetings, training, conferences or other events that cannot be satisfied by other alternative methods, i.e., teleconference, video-conference, etc., which are temporary in nature.
    2. If conditions allow advanced notification, the employee will be provided notice 24 hours in advance of the need to report to the IHS worksite, the reason for the recall and the expected duration of the temporary suspension, if known.
    3. For occurrences not known in advance, once the employee is contacted, he or she must return to the office within his or her normal commute time, but must, absent extenuating circumstances, be at the IHS worksite within no more than two hours after being contacted to report.
    4. Full-time teleworkers working outside the commuting distance of the IHS worksite are covered by travel regulations and should be provided advanced notice commensurate with scheduling and approval of official travel.
    5. At the conclusion of the circumstances which caused the suspension of the program or participation, employees will generally be reinstated automatically without the need for re-application.  If modifications are required as a result, management will initiate such modifications in accordance with procedures contained in Section 7-6.5M.


  1. Director, IHS.  The Director, IHS, designated the Director, Office of Human Resources (OHR) as the IHS Telework Managing Officer.
  2. Director, Office of Human Resources.  The Director, OHR is administratively responsible for the IHS Telework Arrangement Program.  The Director, OHR in his or her capacity as the IHS Telework Managing Officer shall:
    1. Develop necessary updates for the IHS TAP, 7-6 IHM.
    2. Be in charge of policy development and implementation related to IHS telework programs.
    3. Serve as an advisor for IHS leadership.
    4. Be a resource for managers and employees.
    5. Be the primary point of contact for the OPM on telework matters.
    6. Incorporate the TAP into the IHS COOP.
    7. Plan for a pandemic health crisis.
    8. Monitor and evaluate the IHS TAP.
    9. Designate an IHS TAP Coordinator, within the Division of Workforce Relations and Policy, to provide guidance, manage and track telework, and serve as a liaison to the Department on telework matters.
  3. Indian Health Service TAP Coordinator.  The IHS TAP Coordinator shall:
    1. Serve as the primary point of contact for all IHS telework matters and initiatives.
    2. Periodically review the 7-6 IHM to ensure consistency with changes to authorizing statutes and regulatory requirements.
    3. Serve as a resource for IHS Headquarters employees, managers, and Regional TAP Coordinators.
    4. Perform program assessment and identify program improvement opportunities.
  4. Area Directors.  Area Directors or their designees shall:
    1. Ensure compliance within their respective organizations with applicable IHS policies concerning telework arrangements.
    2. Identify and strive to remove barriers to the implementation of the TAP.
    3. Incorporate telework into the Area COOP and plans for a pandemic health crisis.
  5. Director, Regional Human Resources Office(s).  The Director, Regional Human Resources Office(s) shall:
    1. Designate a Regional TAP Coordinator within the Regional Human Resources Office to provide guidance within the Region on the IHS TAP, provide program education, manage, and track telework, and serve as a liaison to the IHS TAP Coordinator.
    2. Ensure that all collective bargaining obligations on telework policies, including TAP Agreements, are fulfilled.
  6. Regional TAP Coordinators.  Regional TAP Coordinators (within their respective organizational components), shall:
    1. Provide guidance and training to supervisors responsible for making decisions related to program participation and provide additional assistance as needed.
    2. Disseminate TAP materials and information.
    3. Advise employees concerning all aspects of the IHS TAP program.
    4. Arrange, as appropriate, employee use of telework centers.
    5. Ensure that all Civil Service employee TAP Agreements are consistent with pertinent laws, regulations, policies, and ensure each agreement is signed.
    6. Coordinate with the appropriate USPHS Commissioned Corps Liaison any requests or agreements to telework involving a USPHS Commissioned Corps Officer.
    7. Maintain all telework records and files.
    8. Record and report all telework activity as requested (including recording activity in any electronic database utilized by the organization).
    9. Collaborate with supervisors, HR Specialists, and Labor Relations Specialists on telework arrangements for employees represented by a bargaining unit within their respective Areas or Regions.
  7. Second-Line Supervisors.  Second-line supervisors shall:
    1. Be responsible for the overall management of telework in their work unit.
    2. Serve as the Approving Official for all TAP related actions within their respective line of authority.
    3. Ensure consistency in the treatment of employees in their units.
    4. Authorize the use of Government-owned equipment and the expenditure of funds to support telework.
    5. Monitor employee participation.
    6. Modify the terms of employee participation in the TAP or terminate the participation as necessary when it is in the interest of the IHS or required in accordance with 7-6 IHM.
  8. First-Line Supervisors.  First-line supervisors shall:
    1. Assess each position for telework compatibility and make appropriate recommendations to the Approving Official.
    2. Assess employee requests to participate in the TAP and make the appropriate recommendation to the Approving Official, ensuring that employee participation is in accordance with pertinent laws, regulations, and policies.
    3. Ensure that teleworkers have adequate workspace, equipment, privacy, etc., upon their return to the IHS worksite on non-telework days, e.g., alternate officing accommodations are available and sufficient to the duties to be performed.
    4. Monitor employee productivity and quality ensuring that only those employees who continue to meet eligibility criteria are permitted to continue their telework arrangements and initiate appropriate notification and action to the Approving Official when termination or modification of the TAP Agreement is necessary.
    5. Prepare, with the assistance of the servicing TAP Coordinator, an employee or IHS agreement for participation in the TAP.
    6. Maintain an overall awareness of office operations in order to avoid or address any potential disruptions resulting from telework arrangements.
    7. Complete an interactive telework training course prior to acting on any telework request.
    8. Evaluate all employees (teleworkers and non-teleworkers) consistent with established performance expectations.
    9. Treat all teleworking and non-teleworking employees the same in regards to acts involving managerial discretion, including but not limited to distribution of assignments, training opportunities, reassignment, promotions, recognition or awards, reduction-in-grade, retention, and removal of employees.
    10. Coordinate all telework activity with the servicing TAP Coordinator; and ensure all original TAP documents are submitted to the servicing TAP Coordinator for program reporting and maintenance.
    11. Participate in activities related to TAP assessment and improvements, including program surveys, data collection, etc.
  9. Employees or Officers or Teleworkers.  Employees or Officers or Teleworkers shall:
    1. Submit a written request to participate in the TAP, if eligible.
    2. Participate in the completion of the TAP Agreement, including the Telework Safety Checklist (for home-based teleworkers).
    3. Participate in required training prior to entering into a TAP Agreement.
    4. Adhere to the terms and conditions of the TAP Agreement, including procedures related to requesting leave, obtaining approval prior to performing any overtime and adhering to the work schedule.
    5. Engage in official duties only while teleworking at the alternate worksite.
    6. Adhere to the Standards of Conduct for Executive Branch Employees and to supplemental standards, as issued, while working at the alternate worksite.
    7. Notify their immediate supervisor of any conditions that arise at the alternate worksite that adversely affects his or her ability to telework.
    8. Follow standard security procedures when removing government records from the official duty station.
    9. Apply approved safeguards to protect Government records from unauthorized disclosure or damage and comply with the provisions set forth in the Privacy Act of 1974, Pub. L. 93-579, Title 5, U.S.C., Section 55a, while teleworking.
    10. Plan the work to be performed on telework days to ensure continued individual productivity and accountability and ensure that telework supports the work of the team and does not result in diminished individual, group or organizational performance.
    11. Be responsive and flexible to the needs of the IHS worksite and be available, upon reasonable notice, to report to the IHS worksite, on a telework day when the need arises.
    12. Ensure the availability of all required services, i.e., phone, Internet, etc., at the alternate worksite.
    13. Provide for all operating costs, home maintenance and any other incidental costs (e.g., utilities) associated with the use of the home for business purpose.
    14. Maintain the alternate worksite free from interruptions, safety hazards, and other dangers.
    15. Make any requests to terminate or alter the conditions of a telework arrangement in writing to his or her immediate supervisor, in advance.
    16. Utilize appropriate IHS systems or processes which allow for appropriate tracking of telework data including days worked and employee data or opinions regarding telework.
    17. Comply with IHS policies and with any additional requirements spelled out in the TAP Agreement.


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.


  1. Compliance.  Compliance with the policy will be carried out in a number of ways identified throughout this policy.  A review of the TAP agreement annually, performance evaluations, and any other agreed upon procedures will be the means and metrics for evaluating the impact of telework on the individual and/or organization.
  2. Reporting.  In accordance with HHS requirements, the IHS shall maintain records related to the administration of the Telework program, which includes:
    1. The total number of employees participating in the program.
    2. The number and percentage of employees who are eligible to Telework.
    3. The number and percentage of eligible employees who Telework and the number of days per pay period.
    4. The method of gathering data.
    5. The reasons for positive or negative participation variation as it relates to overall Agency goals.
    6. An explanation of whether or not the IHS met goals; and if not, what actions are being taken to identify and eliminate barriers to maximizing Telework opportunities.
    7. An assessment of progress in reaching Telework participation rates and other goals relating to Telework, such as the impact of Telework on:
      1. Emergency readiness
      2. Energy use
      3. Recruitment and retention
      4. Performance productivity
      5. Employee attitudes and opinions regarding Telework
    8. Best practices in Telework programs.