Three members of Congress representing big Federal government employee districts introduced legislation today that would protect telework availability for Federal employees.
The Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act – sponsored by Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., John Sarbanes, D-Md., and Jennifer Wexton, D-Va. – would prohibit Federal agencies from making across-the-board cuts to telework availability. The bill also would require agencies to notify Congress of any plans to restrict telework, and offer justification for those plans.
The House members introduced the legislation amidst dueling concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus and cuts to telework programs by several Federal agencies. The Report on the Status of Telework in the Federal Government, issued last year, showed slight decreases in federal telework in recent years.
“Telework is not only a crucial part of every federal agency’s continuity of operations plan, but has shown to improve employee morale, engagement, and retention,” said Rep. Wexton. Reps. Connolly and Sarbanes endorsed telework as a tool to ensure government operations remain uninterrupted in the event of a public health emergency.
The legislation also would direct the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish guidance for agencies on how to collect information on telework, and cost savings generated by the practice.