New USDA teleworking rule in effect, but extensions possible
February 6, 2018
Agriculture Department employees received notices Feb. 5 that the telework directive requiring them to be in the office four days per week was now in effect, but employees with "extenuating circumstances" may discuss the situation with their supervisors who have authority to approve additional telework days.
An earlier memo stating the telework restrictions was delayed until March 5 was intended to give employees additional time to update their transit benefits and submit the new telework agreements, the notices said.
"We ask that employees and supervisors make every effort to comply with the new directive in full no later than the start of Pay Period 4 on Feb. 19, 2018," the memo said.
Employees also were asked to complete a Telework Agreement form by Feb. 12 and have it signed by a supervisor. Employees eligible to telework but opt out of it under the new restrictions also must complete the form.
The Obama administration encouraged USDA employees to telework and used the program as a recruitment tool. But the Trump administration decided employees need to spend more time in the office to coordinate better with other workers and to provide better service to the public.