Statewide Telework Policy - 0181

(New: 10/2021)

Intended Audience

This policy applies to all state of California agencies, departments, boards, commissions, and offices (departments). Departments are responsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions of this policy.


The purpose of this policy is to provide the structure needed for effective telework programs to benefit the state of California and its employees.  Each department shall establish a written policy specific to the department’s business needs in accordance with this statewide policy.  Departments shall establish uniform expectations for performance management and for communication within distributed teams as a foundation for a successful telework program.

The terms ‘telework,’ ‘teleworking,’ and ‘telecommuting’ refer to work flexibility arrangements established between the department management and the employee where the employee performs the duties and responsibilities of their position from a location other than the office.

Note:  Definitions for terms are at the end of the policy.


An effective telework program must provide a benefit to the state, as well as employees, and should generate savings or at least be cost neutral. Department's telework programs are expected to:

  • Encourage participation of eligible employees
  • Reduce required state office space
  • Improve employee retention and recruitment
  • Maintain or improve employee productivity
  • Reduce state environmental impacts, such as traffic congestion
  • Maintain or improve customer service


The statewide telework program is established pursuant to Government Code sections 14200-14203. Existing law requires every state department to incorporate telecommuting as a work option.

For bargaining units (BUs) with an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), if the MOU contains telework language that is in conflict with this policy, the MOU language shall be controlling.

General Provisions

Department Management shall:

  • Ensure that teleworking arrangements conform with applicable laws, rules, regulations, policies, and collective bargaining agreements.
  • Compensate telework employees in accordance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations, and policies, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
  • Evaluate employee performance in accordance with existing performance management laws, rules, regulations, policies, standards, expectations, and measures.

Departments should incorporate telework into their continuity of operations plans.

Policy Directives

Departments shall:

  1. Establish or revise their telework program and supporting policy within twelve months of the issuance of Management Memo 21-08 for compliance.
    1. The policy shall include:
      1. The applicable criteria for an employee’s participation in the department’s telework program.  Not all positions or job classifications may be appropriate for telework arrangements and departments have the discretion to determine an employee’s participation in telework.  All employees in positions designated by management as eligible shall be qualified to participate in telework and are authorized to participate to the fullest extent possible without diminished individual or organizational performance.
      2. The process of how employees will be notified of their eligibility and approval for telework consistent with bargaining unit agreements.
      3. The financial responsibility of the department with respect to telework program costs.
      4. The technology and security responsibilities of the department and the employee including setting forth appropriate measures to protect confidential information, for both electronic and paper records, that may be taken from the office to alternate work locations.
      5. Expectations to supervisors/managers on advising employees that they will continue to be assessed using existing performance standards, expectations, and measures.
      6. Clear communication that teleworking employees will be eligible for the same opportunities as employees not participating in telework, including assignments, development opportunities, promotions, and awards/recognition.
      7. Information on the procedure to request modification or termination of telework agreement.
      8. The goals of the department’s telework program in addition to the statewide policy goals.
    2. The telework program shall:
      1. Consider telework for all possible positions in which telework can promote effective and efficient business operations.

        The following guidance may be used to determine what functions may be appropriate for telework:
        • Activities that do not require physical presence, including, but not limited to, analysis, data entry, telephoning, writing and editing, design and virtual service delivery.
        • Responsibilities that do not require public presence.
        • Activities where data is not sensitive or confidential or where an information security risk assessment and resulting security approach is in place for telework access to sensitive or confidential data.
      2. Consider at a minimum the following factors when determining which positions may be eligible for a telework arrangement:
        • Nature of work performed.
        • Efficiency of work processes.
        • Effectiveness of existing project teams.
        • Impact on ability to provide quality customer service.
        • Utilization of office space or space savings.
        • Technology readiness of department such as equipment, infrastructure, and support.
        • Impact to employee retention.
      3. Establish a Telework Coordinator.

        Designate a department Telework Coordinator who will be responsible for the following:
        • Retaining approved Telework Agreement forms for each employee.
        • Reviewing Telework Agreements for compliance with telework program.
        • Serving as primary point of contact for employees who have questions or concerns about the telework program.
        • Developing or assisting with departmental policy, guidelines, and implementation.
        • Serving as an advisor for department leadership regarding telework.
        • Serving as a resource for supervisors with telework issues and concerns.
        • Assisting with completion and reporting of metrics to ascertain effectiveness of telework program.
        • Serving as point of contact for the Department of General Services regarding telework program and its effectiveness.
      4. Establish department-specific technology policies and/or guidelines which shall include, but not be limited to:
        • Sufficient internet bandwidth required to perform duties.
        • Standards and expectations for communication and collaboration tools.
        • Security requirements for state-owned and for employee-owned computing devices (if allowing teleworkers to use them).
        • Physical and electronic data protection.
        • Asset Management.
  2. Document the arrangement with each teleworking employee utilizing the Telework Agreement form (Standard Form 200 – Telework Agreement).  The Telework Agreement provides the framework for the general expectations between management and the employee.  The Telework Agreement must be completed and acknowledged by both parties prior to implementation.  In order to ensure standard application across all departments, departments may not modify the form.  Departments may choose to recreate the form electronically to aid with workflow and/or data collection.
  3. Ensure methods are established for performance management for all staff eligible to work.
  4. Prohibit ongoing informal telework arrangements.  Incidental telework may be permitted at the department’s discretion.  Emergency telework arrangements due to unforeseen circumstances may be entered into at the department’s discretion.
  5. Implement a standard process to allow employees to check out state-issued equipment for telework use, including computer equipment required for the job and ergonomic equipment.
    1. Have a process to reliably track state-owned assets before allowing employees to check out equipment.
    2. Ensure that appropriate security measures have been taken, including encryption of any storage devices or media.
  6. Designate teleworkers as either Remote-centered or Office-centered.  A teleworker is considered Remote-centered if they work fifty percent or more of their time from an alternate work location.  A teleworker is considered Office-centered if they work more than fifty percent from the office.
  7. Optimize the use of state office resources by providing equipment for a single dedicated workstation for teleworking employees.  Remote-centered teleworkers shall have their dedicated work station at their designated alternate work location.  Remote-centered teleworkers shall use a shared workstation when working in the office.  Office-centered teleworkers shall have a dedicated work station in the office and utilize their own equipment or department provided mobile equipment for teleworking at their designated alternate work location.
  8. Ensure that the employee has the necessary tools to be successful in their job.

Department Management shall:

  1. Determine that the employee can effectively perform the job duties of the position while teleworking.
  2. Review employee Telework Agreements at least annually to ensure the agreement continues to meet business needs.
  3. Retain the authority to disapprove an employee’s selection of a particular alternate work location if management determines the location is not business appropriate.
  4. Treat teleworking employees the same as an employee working in the office with respect to performance management, conduct, training, and promotional opportunities.
  5. Revise or cancel an employee’s Telework Agreement, if it is determined by management that:
    1. The telework arrangement results in a reduction in performance, does not enable training, oversight, or any other supervision deemed necessary.
    2. The agreement no longer supports operational needs due to funding or services being shifted.
  6. Endeavor to provide 30 days’ notice to the employee in the event of a revision or termination of a Telework Agreement.

Employees shall:

  1. Be responsible for maintaining their workstation at their alternate work location and for maintaining and returning equipment as outlined in the Telework Agreement.
  2. Ensure that alternate work location is free from distractions.
  3. Secure needed internet service prior to the start of a telework arrangement.
  4. Observe departmental policy for overtime.  Overtime compensation shall be consistent with the department’s overtime policy.  A Telework Agreement does not amend compensation or time reporting requirements.
  5. Use state-owned hardware, software, internet, email, and other forms of state-owned communication media in a manner consistent with the state’s information security and privacy policies and standards that are prescribed in the State Administrative Manual (SAM) Chapter 5300 and the corresponding State Information Management Manual (SIMM).
  6. Agree to follow their department’s Acceptable Use Policy.
  7. Complete their annual Information Security and Privacy Awareness training.
  8. Ensure dependent care and other personal responsibilities do not adversely affect an employee’s normal work duties or professionalism.
  9. Participate in all studies, inquiries, reports, and analyses relating to the telework program.

Equipment Cost

The employee can use their own equipment, including their own computing device, with departmental approval.  Where an employee is not providing their own equipment, the department shall provide appropriate equipment for a single dedicated work station required to perform job functions including:

  • Computing equipment.
  • Telephone service.
    • If an employee needs a work number, they should be provided a single phone number that can be used at an alternate work location and office location.
  • Ergonomic equipment as appropriate per department’s ergonomic policy such as chair, sit/stand device, or headset.
  • Office supplies such as paper, pens, etc.
  • Delivery of items that are not easily moved to the work station at the alternate work location.

Business expenses shall be evaluated in accordance with existing applicable policies, laws and standards.  Other business expenses may include, but are not limited to, printers, scanners, and other office supplies.

Maintenance of state-owned equipment is managed the same as in the office.

Reporting Requirements

DGS will survey departments to measure the results of adopting telework programs.  Departments shall provide reporting to DGS no later than twelve months from the issuance of Management Memo 21-08.  At a minimum, departments shall report:

  • Number of employees eligible to participate.
  • Number of employees participating in telework.
  • Average number of days teleworking per employee.
  • Office space saved as a result of teleworking.
  • Additional costs and/or savings associated with implementation of telework.
  • Number of shared work stations.
  • Measures used to determine productivity.
  • Reduction in vehicle commute miles traveled.


The alternate work location is an extension of the department’s workplace only when used for work.  All existing workplace health and safety rules, as well as all existing employment laws, rules, and policies, apply the same as they would for staff reporting to the office.

The state of California is not responsible for any injuries to family members, visitors, or other guests at the employee’s alternate work location.  The teleworking employee shall not have any business guests at a residence designated as an alternate work location.

The teleworking employee is solely responsible for any tax implications and insurance requirements, and compliance with state and local laws and ordinances when the alternate work location is a residence.


Remote-centered telework:  A teleworker is considered Remote-centered if they work fifty percent or more of their time from an alternate work location.  Remote-centered teleworkers shall have their dedicated work station located at their designated alternate work location.  Remote-centered teleworkers shall use shared space when working in the office.

Office-centered telework:  A teleworker is considered Office-centered if they work more than fifty percent from the office.  Office-centered teleworkers maintain a dedicated work station in the office and utilize their own equipment or department provided mobile equipment for teleworking at their designated alternate work location.

Alternate work location:  The term alternate work location refers to the approved work location other than the office.  Alternate work location could be an employee’s residence or other approved site.

Shared space:  Shared space is a work area that is used on an individual basis by multiple people.  Alternatives may include hoteling or shared cubicles.

Dependent care:  The term dependent care refers to the support and nurturing of persons who cannot meet their own needs, such as children, functionally impaired adults, or the elderly.

Emergency telework:  Emergency telework occurs due to unforeseen circumstances, such as inclement weather, a declared State of Emergency or closure of government buildings.  In an emergency, departments may choose to temporarily modify formal agreements and policy as appropriate.

Office:  The term office refers to the location, state building, or official worksite that would be the employee’s work location if not teleworking.

Incidental telework:  The term refers to an unplanned situation causing an employee to request and receive supervisorial approval to work from an alternate work location.

Informal telework:  Informal telework arrangements are those without a formal documented Telework Agreement.

Distributed teams:  A distributed team is comprised of employees where at least one member is not co-located with other members.

Telework:  The terms ‘telework,’ ‘teleworking,’ ‘telecommute,’ and ‘telecommuting’ are defined as a work flexibility arrangement established between the department management and the employee under which the employee performs the duties and responsibilities of the employee’s position, and other authorized activities, from an approved location other than the office.  In practice, telework is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform work, during any part of regular, paid hours, at an approved alternate work location.

Telework Agreement:  The Telework Agreement is a formal document prepared and signed by the teleworker and supervisor.  The Telework Agreement provides the framework for the discussion about the general expectations that need to take place between the supervisor and the employee in order to work effectively.

Work station:  The term work station refers to the desk or place where the employee completes work.


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