Civilian Flexible Work Guidance
The Civilian Flexible Work Program, allows managers, when feasible, to authorize civilian employees to alter, on a temporary or permanent basis:
- their work schedule;
- the number of hours they work; or
- the location in which they work;
The program assists public service employees and managers with understanding accountabilities, available options, impacts and key considerations of the current and potential future work environments. The program continues to assist employees and managers with navigating the remote work posture during COVID-19. In conjunction with applicable collective agreements, it will be updated as we transition to the post-pandemic environment and as direction from Treasury Board Secretariat is issued.
As per the joint direction from the Deputy Minister and Chief of the Defence Staff, the Assistant Deputy Minister (Human Resources-Civilian) (ADM [HR-Civ]) has issued a directive to managers on managing a varied and flexible civilian workforce. It introduced a mandatory agreement form for civilian employees and incorporates options for flexible work hours and flexible work locations.
To initiate a Flexible Work Agreement:
- Employees must submit the request for manager’s approval using the mandatory form (PDF version).
- Managers will review and respond to the request within 30 calendar days of receiving the forms from an employee.
- Managers will submit approved requests to the Flexible Work Program positional mailbox.
- The Section 34 manager will ensure the employee’s work schedule is accurately reflected in the Phoenix pay system.
Agreements remain in effect until such time as operational requirements or the employees work arrangements, or the program changes. If such changes occur, an amended form must be submitted by the employee to their manager for approval. Managers are recommended to review their employees’ agreements at mid-year and year-end performance reviews at a minimum.
NOTE: Civilian employees without a flexible work agreement who currently work with any of the arrangements outlined below must submit the form to their manager for approval by August 31, 2021.
Flexible work options
All flexible work agreements must respect operational feasibility, applicable provisions of collective agreement clauses, Treasury Board policy and the Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment. For all flexible work options listed below, managers should continuously assess the eligibility of their unit’s positions. Therefore, as personal circumstances and operational requirements evolve, amendments to a position’s eligibility for flexible work options may also change. Managers will ensure that sufficient time is allowed to amend an existing agreement and that suitable options are presented to the employee.
Compressed work week
Employees complete their weekly hours of work in a period other than five (5) full days as per their applicable collective agreement, provided that over the designated period the employee works an average of their standard hours. The number of hours worked each day will determine the number of days off in any given period.
Flexible work schedule
Employees can request to work flexible hours within a day of work in accordance with the provision of their collective agreement. They will complete their normal work day in a consistent manner throughout the period for which the flexible hours have been approved.
Flexible work place
Public service employees may be able to perform the duties of their position in an alternate location outside of their unit’s designated workplace for part or all of their scheduled work week.
All decisions on the location of positions must be made using existing legislation, policy, collective agreements, financial and human resources authorities and budgets. Where alternate workplaces are possible, specific determining factors will be assessed by the manager in discussion with employees. Factors include employee well-being and productivity, team productivity, position requirements, and operational feasibility. Managers can consult their Labour Relations advisor (accessible only on the National Defence network) for questions related to specific working arrangements for employees.
Employees report to the designated workplace on-site each day to conduct their work, in accordance with the provision of their collective agreement.
Working virtuallyFootnote *
Employees carry out all of their work duties remotely; this arrangement requires an approved Flexible Work Agreement. With this type of arrangement, travel to the nearest designated workplace may be occasionally necessary in order to access the necessary workplace equipment associated with their position. Frequency of travel requirements will vary regionally. Managers of civilian employees will work with the employee’s local designated workplace units to support timely access to the necessary equipment. Employees are also responsible for establishing and maintaining a work environment free of interruptions and distractions and that adequately safeguards the enterprise information.
Employees perform a combination of onsite and virtual work, either according to a set schedule or on an ad hoc basis, and as outlined in their Flexible Work Agreement. The employee’s agreement should reflect the current working arrangement and employees and managers will need to review both virtual and on-site work considerations.
Roles and responsibilities
Employees have a responsibility to:
- Initiate the agreement, and submit the request for manager’s approval using the mandatory form (PDF version).
- Be prepared to consider alternate options that may be a better fit given the nature of their work, or address anticipated work challenges associated with flexible work options.
- Understand and respect their applicable collective agreements, their terms and conditions of employment, their security, health and safety, and information management responsibilities.
- Comply with the schedule as approved.
Managers of civilian employees have a responsibility to:
- Understand and regularly re-evaluate their work unit’s tasks and positions, and the implications for remote work to its success, including access to equipment.
- Set and regularly communicate expectations and updates concerning what positions are eligible to work remotely as well as the positions’ respective scheduling and responsiveness requirements
- Review and respond to all Flexible Work Agreement requests within 30 calendar days of receiving the forms from an employee.
- Be prepared to propose different flexibility options that may be a better fit given the nature of the work, or which might better address anticipated work challenges associated with particular options.
- Submit approved requests to the Flexible Work Program positional mailbox.
- Ensure the employee’s work schedule is accurately reflected in the Phoenix pay system.
- Ensure that any schedule changes are submitted for action in the Phoenix pay system or by calling HR Connect RH at 1-833-747-6363. Please note military managers must submit their employees’ schedule through the Human Resource Services and Support (HRSS) portal Human Resource Services and Support (accessible only on the National Defence network), where it will be processed by a timekeeper.
- Communicate with employees their responsibilities with respect to security, health and safety, information management, and required equipment.
- Discuss any issues or suggested amendments related to the agreement with employees in a timely manner.
Collective agreements and benefits
Employees are responsible for understanding and respecting their applicable collective agreements, their terms and conditions of employment. Employees are invited to familiarize themselves with their applicable collective agreements, as there are multiple articles which allow for a wide variety of leave options and benefits.
Reducing hours of work
In the event that a change in tenure (to part-time or full-time) is required, employees and managers are responsible for consulting their applicable collective agreements for part-time employment definitions and associated employee entitlements, and for complying with the specific terms and conditions of employment for all public servants
Ensure that all parties involved in flexible work are positioned for success through learning.
Security considerations do not permit employees to work in public spaces and require that in-person business meetings not take place in the telework space.
Protected B information must be encrypted and if physical in nature, appropriately marked and stored in the appropriate manner (i.e. locked container).
Any security issues must immediately be reported to your Information System Security Officer (ISSO) and Unit Security Supervisor (USS).
More information regarding security can be found in the following guides:
- DND/CAF Security Guide for Virtual Work during the COVID-19 Response
- Security Never Takes A Break – Vigilance!
Access to DND equipment is restricted to authorized personnel only. Employees cannot take any DND IT equipment other than a tablet or laptop home with them unless preapproved. If the equipment is damaged or lost, the employee may be required to reimburse the Crown should they be found negligent.
DND-issued equipment cannot be connected to any personal equipment. More information on the use of personal peripherals on DWAN equipment while working virtually can be found here.
The provision and set-up of ergonomic equipment at home is evaluated on a case by case basis. For more guidance, refer to The Defence Team’s approach to ergonomic or support equipment for telework.
Information management (IM) and technology (IT)
Employees are responsible for proper recordkeeping as required by the Guidebook for departments on easing of restrictions: Guidance for Information Management and Technology.
In cases where the manager has approved a work arrangement whereby the employee’s personal equipment is used, information that relates to an institutional matter and are of business value are subject to the Access to Information Act.
Health and safety
It is the employee’s responsibility to establish and maintain a healthy and safe workspace. If an injury takes place while teleworking at the designated workspace, the employee must follow the standard process for reporting a workplace accident/injury and immediately follow up with their manager for appropriate action. More information can be found here (accessible only on the National Defence network). The Remote Work Hazards Checklist and Aide Memoire can be found here (PDF version) (accessible only on the National Defence network) to ensure your virtual workspace is safe.
Also, employees who are injured in the course of their duties may be entitled to compensation as per the Government Employees Compensation Act.
Mobile work expenses are the employee’s responsibility. Home office expenses can be claimed on personal taxes when an employee works from home for a duration that is more than 50% of the time (3 days/week). The tax form is available on the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website and employees should consult CRA for further direction or advice. Employees may be able to retrieve small portable equipment and office supplies from their workplace with their manager’s permission.
- HR Connect at 1-833-747-6363
- HR Go App
- Defence Team News
- Defence Team COVID-19 Information Page
- Canadian Human Rights Act
- Directive on Performance Management
- Public Service Staff Relations Act
- Relocation Directive (Treasury Board)
- Security Policy (Treasury Board)
- Canada Labour Code, Part II and associated Regulations
- Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- National Joint Council Occupational Health and Safety Directive
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