House Approves Telework Legislation; Next Stop White House


11/18/10: With the vote by the House of Representatives today (254 in favor; 152 opposed) to approve federal telework legislation, NTEU is very pleased to report that we have achieved a major victory in our long fight for more comprehensive and effective telework policies across the federal government. The bill previously passed the Senate and will next go to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. The passage of this legislation is an important step forward for federal employees, their agencies and the public.

When this legislation becomes law, federal taxpayers will save money as agencies increase productivity and reduce overhead costs of excessive space; local taxpayers will save on road construction, pollution abatement, and commuting costs; and federal employees will have greater flexibility and will be able to make better use of their time.

NTEU has been the leading advocate for expanded telework opportunities among federal workers and supported H.R. 1722, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Reps. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Gerald Connolly (D-Va.). NTEU would like to thank these members for their strong support of and leadership on this important measure.

Once signed into law, a federal agency will have 180 days to establish a telework policy, determine employee eligibility and notify all eligible employees. Agencies must also provide interactive training programs for teleworkers and their managers; include telework in business continuity plans; designate a senior official as telework managing officer; and provide yearly progress reports to the Office of Personnel Management.

Additionally, a pilot program will be created for trademark attorneys at the Patent and Trademark Office that reduces the number of days employees who telework from outside the commuting area are required to come into the office.

With this structure in place, NTEU is confident more and more managers will learn the value of telework and accept it as an important tool to help accomplish their agency’s mission. And as we move forward, the built-in success of these programs will establish telework as an effective tool to increase productivity and create more telework opportunities throughout the federal government.

NTEU has been a leader in negotiating telework programs across government agencies. This law will bolster those efforts and will give us greater bargaining clout in expanding our telework efforts.

In this challenging environment, the passage of this pro-federal employee legislation is an important achievement.