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Workforce

Bipartisan Senate bill extends federal telework for duration of the pandemic

A bipartisan Senate bill would extend full-time agency telework, requiring federal agencies to let eligible employees work from home during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Pandemic Federal Telework Act of 2020 is designed to support telework for any federal job that can be done remotely, while providing management and tech support for teleworking employees.

The bill requires special training for federal managers who supervise teleworking employees and also amends the Modernizing Government Technology Act to stipulate that the Technology Modernization Fund can be used for projects designed to support telework.

Additionally, the bill would require the development of a plan to cope with future pandemics and makes the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for determining a public health state of emergency.

Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) are sponsoring the legislation. Lankford and Sinema are the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, which has oversight of the federal workforce. Lankford and Van Hollen are on the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which includes funding for the Office of Personnel Management.

"The federal government should lead by example and slow the spread of coronavirus by continuing to ensure employees are teleworking," Sinema said in a statement.

Reader comments

Sun, Aug 16, 2020

Finally, the leaders of our country realize that telework saves lives during the pandemic and moves our country forward in the age of technology! headaches

Thu, Aug 13, 2020

This is so important but please add cancelling the optimization calculation that determines a federal employee's time in the office that determines their right to retain office space. This needs to be suspended for the length of the pandemic-needed teleworking or employees are forced to come back at risk to themselves and their families.

Thu, Aug 13, 2020

YES, this would be great! Our managers dion’t know how to deal with telework , don’t like telework and they don’t trust the employees that they have worked with for numerous years!

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