Today there was an interesting development out of the House of Representative here in the U.S. today around teleworking. The House passed a truly bi-partisan bill titled H.R.1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2009, which has a number of changes for the federal government agencies around teleworking and telecommuting. Should this bill become law, the various agencies throughout the U.S. government would have new responsibilities for its own operations
What are some of the policy changes in the bill?
- agencies to allow telework-eligible employees to work from a remote location at least 20 percent of the time
- mandate more training for managers and supervisors on handling employees working from outside the office.
- require agencies to include telework and flexible scheduling in emergency plans.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va) spoke on the floor in support of the legislation, "The federal government should be leading the way in developing an e-workforce and enhancing the use of the technologies of the 21st century to seamlessly link employees and employers'¦ The designation of a senior employee at each agency as a telework managing officer responsible for implementing the bill's requirements is a key provision to allow eligible employees to telework to the maximum extent possible
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va) authored an amendment around business continuity and referenced five key policy areas addressed with the legislation (many of which I have addressed on this blog already and wholly support) - decreased dependence on foreign oil and oil in general, reduced congestion, better air quality/environmental improvements, recruitment and retention of talent, and business continuity.
These are all great policy points and I am sure that if the act becomes law (and my reading of the sausage making in Washington on this issue leaves me optimistic that will occur as there is a similar bill making its way through the Senate), the government is going to realize these and other benefits. Great to see both sides of the aisle embracing and supporting such a beneficial policy change.