VA Needs to Better Track Teleworking Employees

Creative Lab/

The department needs to ensure employees are still processing claims in a timely and accurate manner, GAO said.

The Veterans Benefits Administration needs to do a better job recording the hours its employees telework, an oversight agency said.

VBA needs to better record when its 5,200 eligible employees telework and assess the effect it has on their performance processing disability claims for veterans, Government Accountability Office concluded in a report.

Starting in March 2017, the Veterans Affairs Department required its components to record telework hours for each pay period. But according to the report, the agency didn't change much in their processes to reflect that new requirement, with no official change in VA's agencywide policy and minimal communication to employees.  

The watchdog found that nearly half of the employees with regularly scheduled plans to telework did not have any telework hours recorded in VA's time and attendance system as of April 2017.

"GAO was unable to determine the impact of telework on disability claims processing because VBA does not have complete or reliable data on employees' telework hours," the report stated.

GAO made several recommendations to the VA, including that the agency should update its policies to state that telework hours should be officially recorded in the VA's system, that it should communicate to regional office employees that they need to record their telework hours in the system and that it should develop a process to monitor whether employees' telework hours are being recorded accurately.

The VA said it would comply with the recommendations.