President directs agencies to expand access to work flexibilities

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.

Reader comments

Tue, Jun 24, 2014

I have been working from home for over 20 years. I was one of the first from my department to do so and I fought really hard to be able to. I have many health problems and if I cannot work from home, then I would have to go on disability which does not pay the bills. I understand that some who telework do not do their jobs but there are also many people in my division who do not work from home are not doing their jobs and have no intent on doing their jobs. People are people regardless and it doesn't matter where they work.

Tue, Jun 24, 2014

Creating babies, not even our parents would baby us like this.

Tue, Jun 24, 2014

This President is taking away our professionalism. Work was to dress appropriately, work in a businesslike manner. He is making babies out of the Federal Worker. Not even our parents believed in babying their children so they would grow to be real men and women. Is he a man or a mouse?

Tue, Jun 24, 2014 RTP, NC

These negative comments is the reason why the gov't is behind when it comes to work flexibilities. Industry has been doing this for years successfully. I telework and quite frankly I get more done working at home than I do at work due to all the in-office interruptions. Get your minds out of the stone ages.

Tue, Jun 24, 2014

Some jobs can be done at home without distractions. I say let people telework and if work is getting done. If work is not getting done don't let them telework.

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