President directs agencies to expand access to work flexibilities
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jun 23, 2014
President Obama issued a memorandum directing departments and agencies to expand access to a range of workplace flexibilities and work-life programs.
The June 23 directive, he said, is aimed at ensuring "that the federal workforce is engaged and empowered to deliver exceptional and efficient service to the American public while meeting family and other needs at home."
The memo directs agencies to make available "to the maximum extent practicable" a range of flexibilities, including part-time employment and job-sharing; alternative work schedules; telework; break times and private spaces for nursing mothers; and a number of leave flexibilities for employee and family care, bereavement and adoption, among other personal and family issues. Other flexibilities listed include leave transfer programs and leave banks; bone marrow and organ donor leave; and leave policies related to domestic violence and sexual assault.
The memo also encourages agency heads to increase the availability and use of work-life programs such as dependent care programs—including on-site child care, child-care subsidies, emergency child-care, and elder care; as well as employee assistance programs such as counseling, resources and referrals; worksite health and wellness programs and others.
“Providing employees with more flexible work arrangements is just common sense," American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. said in response to the memo. "Employees will be more productive and happier in their jobs, while employers will have an easier time recruiting and retaining quality workers.”
Cox said that some of the union's councils have faced "enormous resistance from managers to proposals that would expand the use of flexible work schedules, particularly telework."
"With the White House demonstrating leadership in this area, hopefully the walls will begin to crack and federal workplaces will begin to embrace these flexibilities," Cox said.