Telework bill moves forward in House

Telework Improvements Act unanimously approved by House Federal Workforce subcommittee

Spring may have come to Washington, but the February blizzards that hit the region remained fresh in the minds of the members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Federal Workforce Subcommittee, which March 24 unanimously approved a bill to improve teleworking in executive agencies.

The Telework Improvements Act of 2009 (H.R. 1722) would require agencies to develop a telework program that allows employees to telework at least 20 percent of the hours worked in every two administrative workweeks. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Jim Moran (D-Va.) and subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.).

COOP amendment passed

The subcommittee also unanimously adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Connolly that directs agencies to incorporate telework into their Continuity of Operations Plans in coordination with the General Services Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Office of Personnel Management. The amendment would ensure that agencies are prepared to use telework as a component of emergency management if federal operations are interrupted by a natural disaster, terrorist attack or other emergency.

“We already knew that telework is an essential part of federal recruitment and retention efforts, and that we can do much better than the current 6.6 percent telework rate for the federal workforce,” Connolly said. “The snowstorms in February reminded us that telework serves an important security function as well: in the event of severe weather or terrorist attack, our Continuity of Operations Plans must include telework.”

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