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DOA Telework Expense Payment Policy

Introduction

In accordance with Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) " Policy Number 161 - Telecommuting," a teleworker performs their duties from an alternate work location which may or may not be their personal residence. Teleworkers may, or may not, be required to work from a remote or alternate location as a condition of employment. Teleworkers are defined as employees who work at a remote or alternate location a minimum of one day per week or 32 hours per month while intermittent teleworkers work at a remote or alternate location less than this threshold. This policy governs the payment of expenses supporting telework arrangements for all teleworkers or intermittent teleworkers.

Policy

When certain expenses are necessary to perform the requirements of the employee's position from an alternate location, agencies may pay for allowable telework expenses either through a direct bill to the agency or reimbursement to the employee.

In determining what telework expenses are justifiable, agencies must consider the nature of the work responsibilities documented in the Employee Work Profile (EWP) and the telework agreement (e.g., telework as a working condition, telework frequency, proportion of business versus personal use, etc.). Agency-paid telework costs must be consistent with the employee's work requirements and telework agreements. Different work profiles and different telework arrangements may produce different expense justifications.

Voluntary teleworking is viewed primarily as a personal convenience; and the savings in employee commuting time and costs generally render financial reimbursement unnecessary.

Telework Expenses

The following telework expenses are allowable (i.e., agency-paid) for teleworkers and intermittent teleworkers subject to the justification criteria outlined in this policy:

The following telework expenses are prohibited:

These lists of allowable and prohibited expenses may not be all inclusive. Agencies are encouraged to consult with the Department of Accounts, Director of General Accounting to discuss the justification for other costs. Agencies may establish more restrictive policies for the payment of telework expenses.

Documentation Requirements

Telework expenses may be paid directly by the agency to the service provider or reimbursed to the employee subject to the following:

  1. The employee telework arrangement must be supported by a written, signed and dated agreement describing the terms and conditions for the telework agreement as required pursuant to DHRM "Policy Number 161 - Telecommuting".
  2. The telework arrangement must adhere to all applicable policies and standards issued by other State agencies such as the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, DHRM and DOA.
  3. The justification for payment of teleworking expenses must be supported by a documented business case with appropriate consideration to the justification criteria outlined in this policy and approved by the agency fiscal officer.
  4. Payments or reimbursements must be supported by the original invoice from the equipment, supply and/or connectivity provider and should be pro-rated for any partial month service.
  5. Agencies must have in place adequate controls to ensure that Commonwealth-owned/issued assets, such as PC's, laptops, communication devices and other similar items, that are issued to employees are adequately protected. An example of appropriate controls would be an employee termination check-list to record the return of such assets and cancellation of any future agency-paid phone and internet connectivity expenses.

Income Reporting Requirements

Cell phone connectivity costs paid directly by the agency or reimbursed to the employee are generally considered to be a taxable fringe benefit according to guidance provided in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "Taxable Fringe Benefit Guide Publication 15-B". Accordingly, agencies must generally report such connectivity costs as taxable income to the employee. Under IRS regulations, agencies requiring employees to submit detailed documentation supporting business versus personal use of employer-paid cell phone service and who require the employee to pay the proportional costs of personal use may exclude such employer-paid cell phone connectivity costs from taxable income.

Internet connectivity costs paid directly by the agency that are used with any equipment or reimbursed to the employee are generally considered by the IRS to be a taxable fringe benefit. Accordingly, agencies must report such connectivity costs as taxable income to the employee. Under IRS regulations, the documentation rules governing cell phones outlined above do not apply to internet connectivity costs as there is no practical way to account for, or limit, the use of the internet connectivity provided directly to the employee's home or alternate work location. Air cards and associated monthly service fees paid by agencies for Commonwealth-owned/issued laptops is not considered a taxable fringe benefit to the employees who use this connectivity product.

Connectivity allowances are considered by the IRS to be a taxable fringe benefit. Agencies must report such allowances as taxable income to the employee.