The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) urged the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a July 15 letter to keep telework policies in place, and argued that reducing allowed telework could be a factor in many employees deciding to leave the department.

In recent labor negotiations, HHS has attempted to change its policy so personnel would be required to report into the office at least four days a week. NTEU cited the results of its survey of 1,600 bargaining unit employees at HHS, which found that five out of six said reducing telework “would be a factor in deciding to leave HHS.”

“If management continues to cut telework, HHS and the FDA will lose some of our most valued and experienced civil servants – and this is not something the agency and taxpayers can afford to happen,” wrote Anthony Reardon, national president of NTEU.

NTEU’s survey also found that 54 percent of respondents have been teleworking for at least five years, two-thirds of teleworkers do so for two or three days per week, and “more than half” said reducing telework would lead to increased costs and reduced productivity.

The letter also included written responses from the survey that supported NTEU’s assertions on telework’s importance.

“A lot of colleagues work from different states, and they will leave the job if they have to relocate their families here,” one comment stated.

The letter urged HHS and FDA to keep the current policies on telework, and return to the table for negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement with NTEU.


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MeriTalk Staff