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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 1, 2022

New: Coast Guard expands telework program

By Kathy Murray, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard just updated the telework policy to offer military members – if eligible – more flexibility. The new policy essentially doubles the amount of time military members can work off-site. 

As a military member, if your supervisor approves you for telework, you’ll need to work at your permanent duty station at least four days a month. Commands can require additional days on site if necessary for certain roles or to achieve organizational goals.

“At any time, most of our military members are engaged in hands-on activities and shoulder-to-shoulder leadership,” said Rear Adm. Brian Penoyer, Assistant Commandant for Human Resources. “But a member who isn’t required on-site shouldn’t be there just because that’s how we’ve always done things. The nature of work is changing, and the Coast Guard is changing, too.”

With supervisor approval, civilians can still telework up to eight days per pay period - reporting to the workspace two days per pay period. Civilians wishing to spend less time in the office will need to apply for the service’s new remote work program

Both the new remote work policy and updated telework policy are part of the commandant’s plan to build a workforce ready for the future. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Coast Guard employees have been able to create new processes and leverage better technologies to help offset the need to be physically present in the office. The experience helped the service feel comfortable making the step to expand telework and institute remote work permanently.  

Employees and members are reminded that both remote work and telework options are a benefit, not an entitlement. This means that your supervisor will consider factors such as your performance, your suitability, the nature of the work you do, along with organizational goals, missions, and needs.

For civilian employees, the updated policy introduces a temporary exception to reporting requirements for employees recovering from an injury or medical condition.

The policy updates also include worker guidelines on everything from good office environment to conducting meetings and how to notify bosses when you’ll be away from the computer.

Employees are also able to telework episodically, such as for inclement weather. The off-site time is considered situational telework.

“This policy change is vital to keep the Coast Guard competitive as an employer of choice,” said Capt. Monique Roebuck, office chief of Military Personnel Policy. “This update, in conjunction with the new remote work policy, offers our members more flexibility and will help us recruit and retain great people.”

If you currently telework

You’ll need to complete a new telework agreement in the next three months, since all teleworking agreements will be cancelled with the introduction of remote work. Moving forward, all telework agreements will be reviewed annually on or before Oct. 1. 

Want to start teleworking?

The best place to start is with your supervisor, who will assess whether your job can be done effectively off-site. Supervisors will make their decision based on several factors, including your suitability for telework, along with organizational goals, missions, and needs. 

You’ll also need to meet the requirements listed below.

Civilian applicants considering telework must:

  • Have attained a “Meets” or “Achieved Expectations” summary rating for current and previous year’s civilian performance appraisals and meet the other eligibility criteria listed in the Instruction. 
  • Get supervisor approval. Your supervisor will consider your role’s suitability for telework, as well as organizational goals, missions, and needs.
  • Complete safety and security checklists.
  • Successfully complete telework training.
  • For bargaining unit employees, refer to any applicable negotiated agreements for additional requirements.

Military applicants must: 

  • Have earned no marks below four (4) on the current and previous year’s Enlisted Employee Review (EER) or Officer Evaluation Report (OER). Enlisted military members also need a satisfactory conduct mark for current and previous period.
  • Get supervisor approval. 
  • Complete safety and security checklists.
  • Successfully complete telework training.

If I’m a supervisor, what do I need to know?
Supervisors can find guidance on appropriate considerations for approving, denying, or terminating a telework agreement from CG-122. For supervisors of bargaining unit employees, you must also refer to any applicable negotiated agreements for additional requirements. 

As you consider an employee’s request, you’re encouraged to view telework as a recruiting tool - not just for your unit, but for the Coast Guard as a whole. Telework is also a great way to help retain a valued employee who doesn’t need to be on-site every single day. 

Telework also helps the federal government’s efforts to mitigate climate change by limiting federal employees’ commute and reducing commuting-based carbon emissions,” according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s 2021 Climate Action Plan.