What is Telework Enhancement Act Pilot Program (TEAPP) and what is the status of TEAPP?
Many employees think TEAPP allows them to work any place in the US. That is not correct. Patents Hoteling Program (PHP) allows an employee to work anywhere in the United States but there is a twice biweekly reporting requirement. This requirement is mandated by Office of PersonnelManagement (OPM). This requirement can’t be waived as there are travel regulations administered by General Services Administration (GSA) which require the Federal Government to reimburse employees for the cost of travel for trips more than 50 miles from their duty station.
TEAPP is a pilot program which allows USPTO employees to sign a waiver of the travel regulations and their duty station is changed to their approved alternate worksite (usually their residence). Employees then have to pay for their own travel back to the office as required by management with the limits on the number of trips required each year. It is a Congressional program with oversight by GSA. It was originally due to expire December 31, 2017.
Congress approved a three-year extension of the pilot program in August 2018. The extension is due to expire on December 31, 2020. The time period from, December 31, 2017 until August 2018 was covered by the TEAPP Gap Agreement.
Currently, TEAPP is still an on-going program but there are no longer has any slots available for our employees as slots are capped at 35% of POPA-covered employees eligible to participate in full-time telework (e.g., participate in PHP). POPA is currently discussing additional slots for TEAPP for our employees with management.