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Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Service

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New Staff Orientation: Timekeeping & Travel

Staff Orientation: Overview | Administrative Expectations | Required Training | Security | Timekeeping & Travel

The information here on timekeeping, tours of duty, telework, and travel primarily apply to VA employees. IPA and WOC employees should contact their outside employer to determine what is required by their institution's applicable policies.

Tours of Duty

VA-paid staff are assigned a Tour of Duty to specify when they are expected to be available for work. Unless on an approved leave, travel, or ad hoc telework status, VA-paid personnel are expected to be at their assigned duty station during their tour. The assigned duty station can be on site at the Minneapolis VA, or at an approved remote location for those employees approved for permanent scheduled telework.

Tours of duty are subject to approval by the immediate supervisor. To arrange temporary or permanent changes to your tour, email the Research timekeepers (

Personnel who are not at their assigned duty station during their tour may be marked AWOL and will not be paid for those hours, in addition to any further disciplinary action.

Leave Policies and Procedures

Timekeeping and leave requests are handled in the VA Time and Attendance System (VATAS). This system is only available from the VA intranet. Personnel paid by VA are expected to enter all leave requests into VATAS prior to taking leave. VA employees should obtain their supervisor's approval before taking leave or planned sick time. If you have any questions or need assistance with time or leave, email the Research timekeepers (

If the VATAS system is not accessed regularly, your VATAS account will be disabled. You can request that your account be re-enabled by emailing the Research timekeepers ( If your account is disabled due to inactivity, you should not take any leave or sick time. Personnel taking leave without approval may be marked AWOL and will not be paid for those hours, in addition to any further disciplinary action.

Remote Work (Telework)

While VA-paid research employees may be eligible for telework, permission to do so requires a satisfactory performance rating, supervisor approval, and HR approval of a telework request. Telework, if approved, may be regularly scheduled or ad-hoc. Each instance of ad-hoc telework requires supervisor's approval, and notification to research timekeepers to ensure telework is entered correctly in VATAS. For full details, please refer to the Research Service Telework Policy.

Official Travel

If traveling for VA business, such as attending a research conference or serving on a grant review panel, be sure to consult the Leave & Travel for Professional Activities FAQ and review the Travel Algorithm for guidance prior to your trip. For assistance in initiating a VA travel request, contact Employee Travel (Room 4G-101) well in advance of your planned trip.