Feds reopening plans endanger National Capital Region, senators say
- By FederalSoup Staff
- Jul 10, 2020
Senators from Maryland and Virginia have voiced their opposition to the federal government’s plan to require agency workers in the National Capital Region to return to their workplaces.
In a letter to Office of Personnel Management Director Michael Rigas and Office of Management and Budget acting Director Russell Vought, the lawmakers advocated for clearer guidelines to better protect federal workers and an extension of agency telework programs. The July 9 letter was sent by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
With the number of cases climbing nationally and many local workers still without access to childcare, “ordering these workers back into the office makes it needlessly harder for them to balance work and family obligations during the pandemic,” the lawmakers said.
The Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia governments, the senators reminded the agency heads, are continuing their telework policies and limiting office capacity for public-sector workers.
Plus, they said, the Opening Up America guidance, which only supports maximum telework for high-risk workers, may erase the progress agencies have made combatting the virus.
“Your current guidance is endangering the health and safety of federal workers and everyone in our region. And since 85 percent of federal employees work outside of our region, it endangers the entire country,” the lawmakers said.
The federal government, they said, should “issue clearer guidance directing agencies to continue maximizing telework throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Read the full letter here.