Andy Faile sent out more guidance yesterday afternoon to Patents employees. Patents, CIO, and CFO management have been communicating with us about the information they are sending out to employees.
Additional information and clarification:
- Currently, the USPTO is under voluntary telework for telework-ready employees to the maximum amount
- The definition of telework eligible employees has been expanded. If you are not sure about your telework eligibility status, you should contact your supervisor. Do not assume that if you were considered telework ineligible previousbly that you are still considered telework ineligible. For example, probationary patent examiners are now considered telework eligible for the situation
- If you received an email requiring you to take telework training, you must take the training. You are not required to sign the ad hoc/situational telework agreement. During the time telework is voluntary, you cannot telework without a signed telework agreement. Taking the training and signing a telework agreement makes you ready to telework during the time period that telework is voluntary
- If the Agency mandates telework without telework agreements, all employees who have work that can be done remotely and who are not barred by the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 from telework would be required to telework full time unless they are taking leave or have no work that can be performed remotely. Leave can include annual leave, compensatory time, credit hours, leave without pay (LWOP), or sick leave, as appropriate. All leave would need to be requested in advance as is required currently. If employees are directed to telework, they may wish to sign the "ad hoc" telework agreement provided by the office so that they can benefit from terms covering the end of the mandatory telework once the threat subsides and we return to normal operations.
- Childcare - many people have asked us about childcare and telework, especially with school closures. Expansion of the IFP time has been made for Patents, now 4:30 am to 11:59 pm, Monday-Friday (please see Andy Faile email sent 3/17/2020 at about 3:46pm). You are allowed to work while a child or an elderly adult is at your telework worksite. However, you cannot claim work hours when you are caring the child or elderly adult. You must take leave (annual, compensatory time, credit hours, or LWOP) or mid-day flex (IFP schedule only) when you care for the child or elderly adult. Sick leave can't be used for the care of healthy individuals.
- Part time employees - there has been some confusion as to how many hours part time employees are permitted to work. Part time employees are allowed to work the number of hours they have been approved to do. These are often referred to as the number of hours you are scheduled for. All of these hours can be worked as telework hours if you have a telework agreement or have now taken the training and signed an ad hoc/situational telework agreement. The other portions of the part time agreement are in effect. These include but are not limited to: asking your supervisor if you wish to work more hours than you are scheduled for, not working more than 64 hours two biweeks in a row and the limitations on earning overtime, credit hours and compensatory time. You can't earn overtime, credit hours, or compensatory time based solely on the overtime chart. You can only earn overtime or compensatory time if you work more than 40 hours in a week or more than 8 hours in a day and are authorized to work overtime. You can find the part time agreement on www.popa.org.
- Alexandria campus - the childcare center and gym are closed until further notice. The Jazzman, Einstein Bagels, and Freshii are closed. The cafeteria is being evaluated day-to-day. Local restaurants that are still open are moving to take-out and delivery only. The USPTO buildings are not open to the public. Only badged employees and contractors may enter. This means family members and other guests of employees will not be allowed to enter.
- Printer and Monitors - many people have been asking about hooking up printers and/or monitors to the laptop at the alternate worksite. POPA has been told guidance will be coming out.
Popa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have read every email sent to us and provided suggestions/concerns to management. Conditions are changing daily. The most important thing is that employees take care of themselves and their families.