Federal Employees News Digest

National Capital Region leaders push to continue telework

Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., are urging the Trump administration to keep telework policies in place for federal workers, more than a fifth of whom live in the National Capital Region.

“While of course any essential employee should continue to report to work, we know that a continued federal telework policy will help save lives by allowing more of our region’s 360,000 federal employees to work from home,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote in an April 23 letter to Michael J. Rigas, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management.

“This is a hard balancing act between ensuring the continuation of critical government functions and ensuring the safety and well-being of employees,” they wrote.

While many feds have been able to work remotely, the government’s expansion of telework has been stymied by the Trump administration's early decisions to shutter agency programs, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said.

"Sadly, this administration tried to roll back" progress accomplished in agency telework made during the Obama years, Connolly said on April 23. "When this pandemic hit, we were actually less well equipped in telework than we had been several years ago," he said.

"Telework is the essence of agency continuity of operation planning. If you need to work remotely for any reason, you have to have a telework program in place," he said during a recent webinar. "It's not a matter of whim. It's a structured program; it usually is in place for two or more days a week, it's carefully monitored and there are rules about what you have to do."

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