U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) today applauded final Congressional passage of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.
"Our bill will reduce traffic and pollution by allowing federal employees to stay off the road and complete their duties from home via telework," said Senator Akaka. "It will save the government money on office space and help recruit and retain top-notch employees that keep our country running strong. Senator Voinovich and I have worked together for years to give the federal government the tools it needs to keep functioning during emergencies, and to make it an employer of choice. Today we have one more accomplishment to add to our list."
"I am pleased the House has joined the Senate in recognizing the importance of providing workplace flexibilities for federal employees. The federal government must acknowledge that the next generation of employees will have different expectations of what it means to go to work," said Senator Voinovich. "Advancements in technology mean employees will expect to be able to work at any time from any place, as evidenced by the thousands of federal employees who worked from home during last winter's snowstorms in Washington, D.C. This bill will expand telework programs for federal employees and ensure the government keeps running during weather events or emergencies."
Senators Akaka and Voinovich lead the Senate Federal Workforce subcommittee. They sponsored the Telework Enhancement Act in the Senate and guided it to Senate passage earlier this year. Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD) sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, which passed it today by a vote of 254-152. The legislation is now ready for President Barack Obama's signature.
The legislation makes federal employees presumptively eligible to telework, giving agencies discretion to make mission-specific exceptions to that presumption. It will require all agencies to:
* establish telework policies in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management,
* designate a Telework Managing Officer,
* ensure that telework is part of the agency's continuity of operations planning,
* establish policies to preserve certain records created while teleworking, and
* work with the Office of Management and Budget, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish security guidelines.
The bill would also allow agencies, with the approval of the General Services Administration, to create travel expense test programs to accommodate teleworking employees, and includes language to expand an existing telework pilot program within the Patent and Trademark Office.