DOE, union agree on flexiplace program

klunney@govexec.com

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson pledged to promote telecommuting in a memo to department employees last week.

Telecommuting, or flexiplace, as it is known in many federal offices, is one of a growing number of alternative work schedule options being offered to government employees. Richardson's endorsement of the concept comes amidst labor negotiations between DOE and the National Treasury Employees Union. While the two sides have agreed to language regarding telecommuting, the full labor-management agreement is still in negotiations.

The telecommuting language allows employees to work off-site, usually at home, for up to one day a week, provided they maintain a high-level of work performance. Managers and supervisors cannot participate in the current program.

NTEU officials praised Richardson's endorsement of telecommuting, noting that the agency has taken "a major and welcome step forward" in its relationship with employees. But Alan E. Knight, executive vice president of NTEU Chapter 213, was also quick to point out that the agreement won't be "legally binding" until the two sides sign a final contract. Richardson's endorsement could get lost in the shuffle of subsequent administrations, Knight said. NTEU represents more than 2,000 DOE headquarters employees.

Criteria for eligibility to participate in the DOE telecommuting program include:

  • The employee has to be with the agency at least one year.
  • Work performance must not be below a Level 2 of the performance evaluation system.
  • The employee must not have received any disciplinary action in the last six months.
  • The work must be conducive to telecommuting-for example, tasks that involve thinking and writing.

NTEU Chapter 228 Vice President Don Freeburn said evaluations of a flexiplace pilot program currently in at DOE place showed an increase in employee morale and an improvement in overall employee work performance when telecommuting is permitted.

Knight said that many federal managers have not been open to the idea of telecommuting, but Richardson's endorsement could carry a lot of weight with DOE supervisors.

"What makes the secretary's actions significant is that he is instructing DOE managers to get with the program, and his backing will help make the program a success," Knight said.

"Employers cannot attract, retain, and motivate an effective work force if they are not responsive to quality of work life issues," Richardson said in his memo.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.