This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-05-1055R
entitled 'Agency Telework Methodologies: Departments of Commerce, 
Justice, State, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities 
and Exchange Commission' which was released on September 28, 2005. 

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September 27, 2005: 

The Honorable Frank R. Wolf: 
Subcommittee on Science, the Departments of State, Justice, and 
Commerce, and Related Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Agency Telework Methodologies: Departments of Commerce, 
Justice, State, the Small Business Administration, and the Securities 
and Exchange Commission: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

Telecommuting, or telework--meaning work that is performed at an 
employee's home or at a work location other than a traditional office-
-has gained widespread attention over the past decade in both the 
public and private sectors, offering a variety of potential benefits to 
employers, employees, and society. On July 29, 2005, we briefed your 
office on the results of our review of telework methodologies at the 
Departments of Commerce (DOC), Justice (DOJ), State, the Small Business 
Administration (SBA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 
This report transmits the information provided during that briefing. 
(See enclosure.) Specifically, you had asked us to provide information 
on and analysis of the methodology that each of the five agencies used 
to define employees eligible to telecommute, the methods each agency 
used to make telecommuting opportunities available to eligible 
employees and what those opportunities are, and how each agency defines 
and measures telecommuting participation rates. 


The Fiscal Year 2005 Appropriations Act for the Departments of 
Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies[Footnote 
1] required the five agencies--DOC, DOJ, State, SBA, and SEC--to 
certify that telecommuting opportunities were made available to 100 
percent of the eligible workforce. Of the total amounts appropriated to 
each agency, $5 million was to be available only upon such 
certification. The legislation further required that each of those 
agencies provide the House and Senate: 

Committees on Appropriations with quarterly reports on the status of 
their telecommuting programs, including the number of employees 
eligible for, and participating in, such programs. You asked us to 
provide information on and analysis of the five agencies' telework 
programs to help the subcommittee in its review of these legislatively 
required certifications and quarterly reports. 

Results in Brief: 

We found that at DOC, DOJ, and State, groups of employees are not 
eligible to telework because of their positions, while SEC and SBA make 
all positions eligible. For example, at State, employees are excluded 
if they have to handle classified information in their positions. All 
five agencies exclude individual employees from teleworking on the 
basis of other criteria, such as employee performance. However, when 
the agencies recently reported the total number of employees who are 
eligible to telework, they did not subtract the number of individuals 
who were excluded on the basis of these criteria. 

All five agencies used at least some active methods to make telework 
opportunities available to employees who were eligible. These methods 
ranged from sending each eligible employee an individual notification 
to sending all employees a broadcast message from the agency head. We 
could not confirm, however, whether all of the units in two of the 
agencies did more than post telework information on their internal Web 

None of the agencies could report the actual number of employees who 
telework and how often they do so because none had fully implemented 
the capability to track this through their time and attendance systems, 
although DOC and DOJ are implementing such a system. Instead, DOJ has 
reported the number of participants based on a survey of supervisors 
who are expected to track teleworkers; the other four agencies have 
reported the number of participants based on the number of employees 
with signed telework agreements in place. At DOC, however, these 
agreements do not include ad hoc teleworkers because they are not 
required to have telework agreements. 

Some of the agencies had additional initiatives under way. For example, 
SBA and DOC required that employees be trained before participating. 
SEC and DOJ officials said that the agencies were currently working to 
address managerial resistance to participation by providing supervisors 
and managers with awareness training to help them see how telework can 

Because of the lack of consistency among the five agencies with regard 
to how they determine eligibility to telework, make opportunities 
available, and measure employee participation, Congress should 
determine ways to promote more consistent definitions and measures 
related to telework. In addition, Congress should continue to consider 
ways to encourage agencies to promote telework. 

Scope and Methodology: 

The presentation we prepared (see enclosure) was based on our review 
and analysis of the Fiscal Year 2005 Appropriations Act's legislative 
requirements, agency documentation, other official documents, and 
statements by agency officials. For our presentation, we obtained and 
reviewed each agency's telework policy as well as the certifications 
and quarterly telework status reports submitted to the appropriations 
committees, as required by law. We also interviewed the telework 
coordinators at each of the five agencies. We did not independently 
verify the information provided by the agencies. 

We conducted our work from May through July 2005 in accordance with 
generally accepted government auditing standards. We provided the five 
agencies with a draft of the information included in the enclosure and 
incorporated their comments as appropriate. 

We will make copies of this report available to other interested 
parties upon request. The report is also available at no charge on the 
GAO Web site at 

If you or your staff have any questions or need additional information 
about this report, please contact me at (202) 512-6510 or at Contact points for our Offices of Congressional 
Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this 
report. Key contributors to this report were William Doherty, Assistant 
Director; Joyce Corry; and Sonya Phillips. 

Sincerely yours,

Signed by: 

Eileen R. Larence: 
Director, Homeland Security and Justice: 


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[1] Pub. L. No. 108-447, Division B, Section 622