House to agencies: Tell us about telework

In an effort to identify roadblocks to teleworking, several House members will send agencies a survey asking about their telework policies.

The survey seeks to determine what can be done to overcome barriers to working outside the office.

The survey asks for agencies' definition of telework and how they determine employee eligibility. It also asks how agencies tell employees they are eligible for it, according to a letter from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“We’re trying to see if there is something we can do to help,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), chairman of the committee’s Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia Subcommittee. “Between the environment, the traffic situation and the threat of terrorist attacks, we have a convergence of crises here that makes telework more important than ever.”

In 2000, Congress required executive agencies to establish telework policies. The law was designed to promote flexibility among employees and managers, reduce office space needs, and make government employment more attractive. It was also intended to allow the government to continue operations in the event of an outbreak of disease or attack on Washington.

However, only 19 percent of eligible employees participated in federal telework programs in 2004, the letter states.

The questionnaire was sent to 25 agencies by Davis, committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), ranking member Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and the subcommittee’s ranking member, Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas).

They want agencies to respond by May 29.

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