Senate passes compromise telework bill

Eligible federal employees could telework at least 20 percent of the hours they work each 2-week period

Telework proponents this week lauded Senate passage of a compromise federal teleworking bill. The Senate passed the bill Sept. 30 with an amendment on unanimous consent.

Under the Telework Improvements Act of 2010 (H.R. 1722), agencies will have 180 days to determine the eligibility of all employees to telework and to establish policies for eligible employees. After an employee is deemed eligible, he or she must enter into a written telework arrangement with the agency. Eligible feds could telework at least 20 percent of the hours they work each two-week period.

H.R. 1722 also requires agencies to incorporate telework into their continuity-of-operations plans, allowing them to head off the effects of events such as the blizzards that struck the Washington, D.C., area this year. The bill also orders the Office of Personnel Management to expand telework training opportunities for employees and managers. The House now has to act on the compromise.

“Employing telework on a governmentwide scale constitutes a significant culture shift in the federal workforce,” said Federal Managers Association National President Patricia Niehaus, whose organization supports the bill.

Niehaus said the change will require “an increased investment in managerial training to maintain employee engagement, monitor performance and promote cooperation when face-to-face.”

“This is a very welcome development,” said National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley, who applauded the bill’s training provision. “The more managers and employees understand telework, the more the advantages become clear."


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Reader comments

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 Vincent San Diego, CA

This is excellent news. This will force managers who still operate using the 19th-century mentality of if I can't see you then you can't possibly be working to adapt to the 21st-century workplace. As to "eligibility" being the operative part of the requirement, I would expect the new policy to apply a minimum criteria. Just telling managers "you decide" would be the same as not having not passed the act.

Tue, Oct 5, 2010

Great News! Some Managers just seem to feel out of control when employees aren't in the office even if the employee is productive. The attitude seems to be "I'm in charge and I want them here to see I'm in charge"

Tue, Oct 5, 2010 LK USA

ELIGIBLE is the keyword here...if your supervisor determines you INELIGIBLE just because they don't want you to are still screwed!!

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 rt

Does this mean that employees of an agency with Duty station or workplace of DC can move to north carolina and receive costs to return for some meetings and still receive the dc metro locality pay? If telework results in lower costs of locality pay this is good.

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