|Guidance Issued on Return to Federal Buildings|
Guidance Issued on Return to Federal Buildings
Last week, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released guidance for agencies on returning employees to the office.
The guidance makes it clear that federal employees should not be called to return to the workplace until agencies finalize their re-entry and post-entry planning, update their COVID-19 workplace safety plans, satisfy all bargaining requirements and provide employees with ample notice. OMB suggested 30 days advanced notice for employees returning to work, but that number may vary. Agencies must submit their final plans by July 19.
“Frontline employees have multiple questions and concerns about how the government intends to reopen all federal buildings and when some employees may be called back to their worksite,” said National President Tony Reardon. “However, this guidance from the administration represents a solid start to the long process of making sure there will be improvements in safety protocols at the workplace and favorable updates to employees’ work schedules and conditions.”
As agencies plan for a post-pandemic workplace, telework and flexible work schedules remain an option, according to the administration. Employees who have been teleworking during the pandemic generally will remain eligible for telework, the guidance reads. This is an important distinction that will allow telework programs to be expanded wherever possible.
NTEU has started the process of opening discussions with represented agencies about how workplaces should be changed in preparation for the transition from maximum telework to the re-entry phase.