In light of the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19 and in accordance with a memorandum issued by the Office of Management and Budget on March 12, 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) is authorizing maximum telework flexibilities for several populations of federal employees across the DOE complex, as outlined below. DOE is required to ensure its National Essential Functions, Primary Mission Essential Functions, and Mission Essential Functions, as defined in DOE Order 150.1A, Continuity Programs, is maintained. In all situations, employees must obtain approval from their respective Head of Departmental Element prior to teleworking. In order to be prepared, employees should take laptops, work phones, RSA tokens, and PIV cards home on a nightly basis.
Maximum telework flexibility is authorized for employees within the populations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify as being higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 and CDC-identified special populations including pregnant women. These CDC-identified populations include older adults and individuals who have chronic health conditions, such as high-blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or compromised immune systems. DOE will not require certification by a medical professional for the above conditions and will accept self-identification by an employee who is in one of these populations.
If an employee who is in one of the above CDC-identified populations and is telework ready (i.e., has a signed situational telework agreement in place), the employee is expected to telework. If an employee who is in one of the above populations and is not in a telework eligible position, Weather and Sick Leave (WSL) is authorized as long as an employee remains healthy.
Maximum telework flexibility is authorized for employees to accommodate state and local responses to the outbreak, including, but not limited to school closings. When Federal office buildings are open, DOE’s telework program allows employees with a child present in the home to telework during a pandemic. Employees must account for work and non-work during the day and, if applicable, take appropriate leave (paid or unpaid) to account for the time spent away from normal work-related duties (e.g., to care for a child or dependent).
If an employee is not a telework participant, but is in a telework eligible position, annual leave or other unpaid or paid time off can be used (e.g., compensatory time, credit hours).
When appropriate, DOE will provide updated guidance on this policy.
For additional information, please refer to the Department’s policy for Weather and Safety Leave, DOE’s Flex Desk Reference and OPM's COVID-19 website, which provides questions and answers on many HR topics, including telework, sick leave, and weather and safety leave.