House approves bill to expand telework

The House has passed a measure intended to significantly expand telework in the federal government.


The Telework Improvements Act would require agencies to develop telework programs that allow eligible employees to telework for at least 20 percent of their working hours every two weeks.


Under the legislation passed June 3, agencies also would have to designate a senior-level employee as a telework managing officer and incorporate teleworking into their continuity-of-operations planning. In addition, the bill would require the comptroller general, the head of Government Accountability Office, to submit an annual report to Congress that would evaluate agency progress on their telework programs.


A counterpart bill in the Senate, the Telework Enhancement Act (S. 1000), has won the approval of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.


Advocates of expanded telework programs welcomed the House action.


 "There is abundant evidence that telework programs have a wide range of positive impacts on employees, their agencies and their communities," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. "It is simply old-fashioned and outdated to think that employees cannot and will not be productive if they are not at a work site other than their office."


Kelley said the involvement of a senior-level manager, as required by the House measure, would help agencies overcome the opposition of telework among frontline managers, who fear a loss of control over employees working from remote locations. 

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