Bill promoting federal teleworking goes to Obama

November 18, 2010 By JIM ABRAMS , Associated Press

(AP) -- The bureaucratic halls of Washington could get a little quieter under legislation that encourages federal agencies to let more employees work from home.

The bill, passed by the House on Thursday and sent to President for his signature, instructs each federal agency to come up with policies to promote telecommuting. The goal is to significantly increase the 5 percent of the federal workforce now engaged in some level of teleworking. The vote was 254-152.

"It creates a nimbleness on the part of the with respect to how the workforce operates," said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., the lead sponsor. He and other supporters said it would increase productivity, improve morale, help the government recruit the best people, reduce traffic congestion and make the environment cleaner.

The legislation directs the Office of Personnel Management to come up with teleworking guidelines and requires agencies to establish policies within six months under which employees may be authorized to telework.

Agencies must designate a telework managing officer and must seek to better integrate teleworking into Continuity of Operations Planning, procedures for keeping the government operating during emergencies.

Republicans, who overwhelmingly voted against the measure, complained about the $28 million implementation cost over five years. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said it would "make it easier for federal employees who already had it much better than the rest of the country to avoid the office."

But supporters said it would save the government millions by reducing needed office space and improving productivity. They cited estimates that telecommuting saved the government $30 million a day last winter when the capital region was paralyzed by a snowstorm.

The bill is H.R. 1722.

Explore further: D.C. ranked No.1 for teleworking potential

More information: Congress:


Related Stories

D.C. ranked No.1 for teleworking potential

April 5, 2006

The nation's capital was ranked "Best City For Teleworking" according to a recent nationwide study. It was followed by Boston, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco respectively, rounding off the top five in the extra-large ...

White House launches open government initiative

May 21, 2009

The White House invited ordinary Americans on Thursday to contribute ideas on making government more open and unveiled a new website where raw federal data will be put online for public use.

Landmark health bill passes House on close vote

November 8, 2009

(AP) -- The Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed far-reaching health care legislation, handing President Barack Obama a hard-won victory on his chief domestic priority though the road ahead in the Senate promises ...

Recommended for you

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Nov 28, 2010
This means workers will be able to leave for work later and go home earlier all in the name of efficiency. Reading the bill it allows 8 hours every two weeks to be claimed as telecommuting...hummm one day every two weeks, kinda sounds like an extra vacation day if you ask me. There are six different versions of this beast here http://thomas.loc....R.1722: read for yourself and you decide.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.