National Grievance Regarding Ongoing Telework Violations

NTEU has filed a national institutional grievance against HHS for ongoing violations of Article 26 of the parties’ Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) committed by the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

In March 2016, OMHA and ASPR issued a directive to employees requiring them to document and report their work performed on telework days. ASPR also directed employees to sign a “telework expectations” form prior to participating in the telework program.

Sometimes the best apology is changed behaviorNTEU alleges that the directives issued by OMHA and ASPR violate Article 26 of the CBA, the HHS Telework Policy, and the Telework Enhancement Act. Under law, policy, and contract, teleworking employees and non-teleworking employees must be treated the same for purposes of work requirements. There is nothing under law, policy, or contract that permits OMHA and ASPR to require teleworking employees to report their work each telework day. Additionally, there is nothing in Article 26 of the CBA that requires employees to sign a “telework expectations” document prior to beginning telework. The CBA clearly sets forth the eligibility requirements and expectations for teleworkers and ASPR’s use of a “telework expectations” form that was never negotiated by the parties is a violation of the CBA.

As a remedy, NTEU has requested that OMHA and ASPR rescind the directives requiring teleworkers to document and report their work on telework days; rescind the “telework expectations” document issued by ASPR; comply with the terms of Article 26 of the CBA, the HHS telework policy and the Telework Enhancement Act; make employees whole; and grant any other remedies that may be deemed appropriate under law, rule, and regulation.

I welcome and encourage your comments and questions about this national grievance.