NTEU endorses legislation to push telework

The country’s largest independent federal labor union, the National Treasury Employees Union, has endorsed legislation that would require all agencies to establish written telework policies and punish those that fail to adhere to it.

In testimony submitted to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Federal Workforce Subcommittee, NTEU President Colleen Kelley expressed support for the Telework Improvement Act of 2007, whose chief sponsor is subcommittee Chairman Danny Davis (D-Ill.). Davis said Nov. 6 that he plans to introduce the bill this week.

“The merits and effectiveness of telework are real,” Kelley said. “Its overall success directly correlates to management’s openness, or resistance, to its proper implementation.”

Kelley also voiced support for language in the legislation that would require agencies to implement telework training programs for all employees and managers and, for all but the smallest agencies, name a full-time telework managing officer to serve as a resource for employees and managers.

The bill also would require Congress to maintain oversight of federal telework programs and the Office of Personnel Management to submit an annual report evaluating each agency’s telework policies and assign grades based on the extent of telework participation among employees.

“Telework can bring about increased productivity due to the uninterrupted time for employees to plan work, reduce tension levels by eliminating difficult commutes and improve quality of life due to time saved not commuting,” Kelley said. “That in turn improves employees’ quality of life.”

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