Senate appropriators look to boost telework

Federal telework proponents are cheering Senate appropriators for approving a measure yesterday aimed at boosting government telecommuting.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on May 15 approved the Telework Enhancement Act of 2008 as an amendment to its Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill. The amendment proposed by Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) mirrors the Telework Enhancement Act of 2007 which lawmakers have been considering since last March. A similar bill has been making its way through the House since last November.

The amendment approved May 15 by Senate appropriators  would require all executive branch agencies to institute a telework policy, provide training and require a written agreement establishing a clear policy between the employee and agency.

In a statement Stevens said that while supplemental appropriations were usually reserved for defense funding, sky-rocketing gas prices required that the issue be addressed immediately.

Telework proponents argue that enhancing federal telework will cut down on car emissions and pollution, make the government more efficient and boost recruitment and retention.

“This is a very positive sign in the continuing effort to secure comprehensive federal telework legislation this year,” said Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. “In so many ways, including increased employee morale and productivity, telework is a proven benefit to federal workers, their agencies and their communities.”

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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