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MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, OFFICE OF DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT POLICY AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WOMEN’S BUREAU

PURPOSE

The purpose of this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is to establish an understanding between the Women's Bureau (WB) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) to expand and promote the use of flexible workplace strategies. In carrying out this MOA, WB and ODEP, as full and equal partners, will jointly organize and host a one-day Workplace Flexibility Roundtable Forum. At the forum, subject matter experts will share best practices and research, and identify knowledge gaps on workplace flexibility. Subject matter experts will be composed of workplace flexibility and disability experts from Federal and State agencies, disability organizations, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. WB and ODEP will not ask the experts to come to a consensus on their recommendations. The agencies will disseminate these recommendations on best practices to employers nationwide via their Web sites and other outreach tools. WB and ODEP will also develop materials and publications to assist in subsequent outreach and education efforts in this area. This collaboration will create a universal design to support the implementation of workplace flexibility strategies around place, time, and job tasks. The latter strategy is usually not addressed in the work-life balance/workplace flexibility policies and practices of employers.

This document defines the roles and responsibilities of both agencies for coordinating the development of policies and practices to inform various employment stakeholders, including but not limited to, the workforce development system, employers, and service providers — to implement a coordinated, interagency initiative to improve opportunities for people with disabilities and others with complex employment needs.

AUTHORITY

For ODEP, the authority to enter into this MOA is authorized in accordance with 29 U.S.C. 557b (ODEP organic statute).

For the WB, the authority to enter into this MOA is Public Law No. 259, 66th Congress (H.R. 13229), enacted June 5, 1920 (WB organic statute).

BACKGROUND

ODEP, established in 2001, provides "national leadership on disability employment policy by developing and influencing the use of evidence-based disability employment policies, building collaborative partnerships, and delivering authoritative and credible data on employment of people with disabilities." ODEP also provides national leadership to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities while striving to eliminate barriers to employment. ODEP supports the creation of expanded work options (including workplace flexibility policies and practices) and meaningful employment, promotes economic opportunities and independence, encourages self-determination, and supports inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities.

ODEP has implemented numerous studies and grant initiatives to identify best practices and emerging models of excellence that can result in improved employment using a universal design approach to employment strategies. One of ODEP's evidence-based workplace flexibility strategies focuses on building flexibility around the job tasks rather than the traditional approach of building flexibility around a schedule or the location of work tasks. ODEP calls this strategy "Customized Employment." These workplace flexibility models are especially appropriate for mature workers, youth at risk, homeless women veterans, caregivers, people with limited English proficiency (many of which are domestic workers), and ex-offenders, as well as others with complex barriers to employment who require flexible approaches to enter and maintain employment.

WB, established in 1920, formulates standards and policies to promote the welfare of wage-earning women and improve women's working conditions. Workplace flexibility is one of the four priorities of the agency.

Creating a flexible workplace can improve the recruitment, retention, productivity, performance, morale, and commitment of employees. It also can decrease turnover and absenteeism, extend employer business hours, ensure coverage during peak hours without overstaffing, assist in retaining older workers' skills and experience, and offer options in lieu of layoffs. Common flexible work options include: flextime; compressed work weeks; part-time work; job sharing; telecommuting; personal days; paid-time-off banks; leaves of absence; emergency flexibility; reporting late; vacation buying, borrowing, sharing; and day-at-a-time vacation; floating holidays; shift flexibility; and no-meeting days/hours.

ELEMENTS OF COLLABORATION

WB and ODEP will collaborate to expand the understanding and use of workplace flexibility strategies for employees with complex needs, including people with disabilities. In this regard, WB and ODEP will co-host a one-day Workplace Flexibility Roundtable Forum. WB and ODEP will each pay their own share of costs necessary to sponsor the event The Forum will create a framework for addressing universal workplace flexibility needs and inform future Workplace Flexibility Forums hosted by the WB. Forum attendees will not be asked to come to a consensus with their recommendations.

The elements of collaboration are:

  • WB and ODEP will work together to create a roadmap of actions that can be undertaken at the Federal, State, and local levels to expand the understanding of, and access to, best practices in workplace flexibility. The agencies will also address gaps in knowledge common to employers.
  • WB and ODEP will agree on disability and workplace flexibility subject matter experts (SMEs) to attend the Workplace Flexibility Forums.
  • WB and ODEP will identify the various resource agencies and organizations to gather the research and resources for the WB's Web site.
  • WB and ODEP will develop curricula for a toolkit on workplace flexibility.
  • WB and ODEP will agree to have at least one (1) disability subject matter expert attend all the Workplace Flexibility Forums.

DURATION OF AGREEMENT

This MOA is effective upon the date of the last signature below and shall remain in effect for three years after that date. The MOA may be terminated by mutual agreement of both parties or by either party upon 30 days' written notice.

MODIFICATION PROCEDURES

Either party to this agreement may propose a modification to this MOA at any time. All proposed modifications will be in writing and will become effective upon the date of the written agreement between the parties.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Any disputes arising under this agreement will be resolved informally by designated agency content persons.

EFFECT OF AGREEMENT:

This agreement is an internal Government agreement and is not intended to confer any right upon any private person.

This agreement does not itself authorize the expenditure or reimbursement of any funds. Nothing in this agreement obligates the parties to spend appropriations or enter into any contract or other obligations.

Nothing in this agreement shall be interpreted as limiting, superseding, or otherwise affecting either agency's normal operations or decisions in carrying of its statutory or regulatory duties. This agreement does not limit or restrict the parties from participating in similar activities or arrangements with other entities.

The agreement will be executed in full compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974.

AGENCY CONTACTS

ODEP Project Coordinators:

WB Project Coordinators

Christopher Button
Supervisory Policy Advisor
Workforce Systems Policy Team The
Office of Disability Employment Policy
(202) 693-4924
(202) 693-4924
button.christopher@dol.gov

Karen Furia
National Office Coordinator
The Women's Bureau
(202) 693-6710
furia.karen@dol.gov

Carol Boyer
Policy Advisor
Office of Disability Employment Policy
(202) 693-7883 (202) 693-6710
boyer.carol@dol.gov

Michael Williams
Economist
The Women's Bureau
(202) 693-6710
williams.michael@dol.gov

AUTHORIZING SIGNATURES AND DATES

________________________
Kathy Martinez
Assistant Secretary
Office of Disability Employment Policy
U.S. Department of Labor
_________________________
Date

__________________________
Sara Manzano-Díaz
Director
The Women's Bureau
U.S. Department of Labor
___________________________
Date