Frequently Asked Questions: Working at NIH

If I am a non-emergency Tier II employee, am I permitted to telework for part of the day in the event of a closure, delayed arrival, or early dismissal?

Yes, Tier II employees who are scheduled to telework or who request ad hoc telework in the event of a closure, delayed arrival, or early dismissal may telework for part of the day with permission from their supervisor. Hours teleworked and hours worked at the worksite for the day should add up to your established tour of duty. Tier II employees must submit an ad hoc request in ITAS for the use of unscheduled telework before the close of the pay period.

If I am on an approved adhoc telework agreement what is the expectation for me to prepare for an unscheduled telework day?

As a Tier II employee on an approved adhoc telework agreement, you should prepare for impending closures by bringing home your laptop and any important documents you may need to telework for the entire workday. This will allow you to telework even if you lose internet connectivity. Failure to prepare for an emergency situation is not an excuse to not telework.

When NIH announces that offices are closed, does this mean that I will automatically receive excused absence (administrative leave)?

When NIH offices are closed, Tier I employees are required to arrive at their worksite for their tour of duty on time unless otherwise directed by their supervisor. Tier II employees whose written telework agreements stipulate that they will telework during office closures are required to telework or request unscheduled leave. Tier III employees prohibited from working due to the closure, delayed arrival, or early dismissal will be granted excused absense.

What are supervisors required to do to prepare employees to telework or be telework-ready?

Supervisors should clearly communicate their expectations for teleworkers during an emergency situation. Employees and supervisors should have discussions concerning possible issues that may prevent an employee from teleworking during an emergency closure or dismissal. Furthermore, supervisors are strongly encouraged to allow their employees to telework routinely to ensure there are no equipment or connectivity issues.

Under OPM’s new Federal Office Closure Announcement, will I be required to telework?

If OPM issues a “Federal Office Closed” announcement and you are covered under a written telework agreement and approved for ad hoc telework, you are required to telework on the effective day of the announcement, as required by the written telework agreement. If you are not covered under a written telework agreement, you will not be required to telework and will be granted excused absence. If you are covered under an ad hoc telework agreement and do not telework, you have the option to request unscheduled leave.

Can I be forced to sign a telework agreement in lieu of receiving an excused absence when Federal offices are closed?

No. Your supervisor cannot coerce you to sign a telework agreement to avoid providing excused absence on a day when Federal offices are closed.

Is telework voluntary?

Telework is voluntary, but a written agreement that outlines expectations is required before an employee can participate in telework.

If I am an employee working outside the Washington, DC area (e.g. Frederick, Baltimore, etc.) should I follow the Washington, DC area dismissal procedures?

No. You should consult the following for dismissal and closure procedures:

  • Baltimore, MD – Follow instructions provided by the Baltimore Federal Executive Board Inclement Weather Advisory or local Baltimore radio and television stations

  • Frederick, MD – Follow instructions provided by the Fort Detrick Inclement Weather (Public Affairs Office); call Ft. Detrick 301-619-7611 or toll free 1-800-256-7621, “press *8, 37611#”; TDD 301-619-2293; or tune in to local radio station WFRE 99.9FM

  • Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Follow instructions provided on the NIEHS homepage; the Junctionweb site; or call the NIEHS Voice Response System at 919-541-1919.

  • Hamilton, Montana – Follow instructions provided at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories web site; contact the RML Hotline at 406-375-9675, or tune into the local radio station KLYQ 1240 AM in Hamilton.

What is the geographic area affected by the Washington, DC Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures?

This dismissal procedure applies to NIH employees with worksites located inside the Washington Capital Beltway and all NIH facilities in Montgomery County.

What are competencies?

Competencies are the knowledge, skills, abilities, and behaviors that contribute to individual and organizational performance.  Knowledge is information developed or learned through experience, study or investigation.  Skill is the result of repeatedly applying knowledge or ability.  Ability is an innate potential to perform mental and physical actions or tasks.  Behavior is the observable reaction of an individual to a certain situation.  The target proficiency level for each competency will vary based on an individual’s position and the organization’s needs.

In Onboarding Manager, after I click “Review & Submit”, a new window opens with a PDF copy of the form, however, there is no sign or submit buttons displayed. How should I submit my forms?

In order for the sign and submit buttons to display at the bottom of the form, you must ensure that your web browser and Adobe settings are set to display the PDF copy of the form in the same window.  You can check your settings by following the steps below:

Internet Explorer

  • Open a browser window and click on Tools
  • Click Internet Options
  • Click Advance
  • Click Browsing
  • Verify that “Reuse Windows” is unchecked


  • Open an Adobe window and click on Edit
  • Click Preferences
  • Click Internet
  • Verify that “Display PDF in Browser” is checked

If you still encounter issues after verifying that your browser and Adobe settings are set properly, contact your HR Contact for assistance.

Do I need to print out my completed forms from Onboarding Manager? How do I do this?

Only certain forms should be printed and brought to orientation.  Refer to the Invitation email that you received for a list of forms that will need to be printed and turned in at New Employee Orientation.  To print forms, hover over the form and click on the “Print” icon.

Do I need to notify someone when I have completed and/or submitted my assigned forms using Onboarding Manager?

Yes.  Notify your HR Contact once you have completed the OF-306, and again when you have completed the remaining assigned forms.  

I have finished the questionnaire in Onboarding Manager, but on the Assignments page it indicates one of my forms is “Incomplete”. How do I complete the missing information?

If you have a form in “Incomplete” status, you have not fully completed the questionnaire.  By clicking on the “Incomplete” or “Complete Questionnaire” links, you are taken back to the portion of the questionnaire which needs to be completed.  Once you have completed this, click on the Assignments link to return back to the forms page.

Do I need to sign the OF-306 Declaration of Federal Employment form twice?

Yes.  The process of the OF-306 is different from the rest of the forms.  Once you have completed the OF-306 and signed/submitted it the first time, notify your HR Contact.  Your HR Contact will review the form and send it back to you.  Print the OF-306 and bring it to orientation to sign the form a second time as the appointee.

I was locked out of my account in the Onboarding Manager system. What do I do?

If you are locked out of your account, contact the HR contact who sent you the forms. They will unlock your account, and then you may login using your original username/password or reset your password. 

I forgot my password to the Onboarding Manager system. How do I retrieve this information?

If you forgot your password, enter your username and then click on the "Forgot Password" link.  You will be asked to answer the secret question that you created when you first set up your account.  A Confirmation page will load saying that your password was successfully retrieved and you will receive an email with a temporary password.  You will need to login with this temporary password and then set up a new password.

I forgot my username to the Onboarding Manager system, how do I retrieve this information?

After you verify your credentials, you will receive an email with the subject line “Welcome to Onboarding Manager”, which will contain your username.  If you forgot your username, you should contact your HR Contact to have your username emailed to you. 

When I attempt to log into Onboarding Manager, it says that my user ID does not exist. What should I do?

Verify that you are accessing the New Hire Login page.  You will see "Welcome to Onboarding Manager - New Hire Access" at the top of the page.  If you are still unable to access the system, notify your HR Contact.

What do I do if my legal name is listed incorrectly in Onboarding Manager?

Upon initial login, you will be asked to verify your legal name and social security number. Once you have verified these fields, they become uneditable.  You will need to contact the HR Contact listed in the “Onboarding Invitation” email in order to have your full legal name and/or social security number updated in the system.

Are employees on Maxiflex entitled to night differential?

If an employee voluntarily works before 6 a.m. or after 6 p.m. while on a Maxiflex Work Schedule, they are not entitled to night differential.

How do core hours impact an employee’s leave?

Core hours impact an employees’ leave in several ways. Employees may find that they do not need to take as much leave on Maxiflex because they are able to work additional hours throughout the pay period. Conversely, an employee may not simply record one hour of leave on a day that they have a core hour from 10 am – 11 am. Because an employee must always work or take leave in 2 hour increments, they must take two hours of leave. If an employee will be out of the office for an extended period of time, i.e. a full week, a Leave Approving Official may request that the employee record 8 hours of leave per day.

How do core hours impact an employee’s work schedule under Maxiflex?

During core hours, an employee must be working or on leave. They can be working in the office or at an approved telework location, but they cannot be flexing their schedule to be off. This means that if an employee was previously on a Compressed Work Schedule in which they had Tuesdays off but they are now on Maxiflex and the office has core hours on Tuesdays, the employee must work or be on leave during those core hours.

I tried switching an employee to the Maxiflex Work Schedule but received an error message. What happened?

Ensure that there are core hours established for the employee’s SAC. If not, establish core hours and then try again.

If the employee’s SAC does have core hours established, make sure the hours listed in the Biweekly Distribution of Biweekly Basic Work Requirements at the bottom of the Tour of Duty page have been cleared out prior to going to the employee’s timecard on the “Timecard” tab and clearing it out as well.

How do timekeepers / administrative officers set up an organization's core hours?

Please review the quick reference guide on this topic.