There is big news in the world of telework – the House passed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (H.R. 1722) this past Thursday, November 18.
This means that rules within the private sector are about to change. The bill passed with a 254 to 152 vote, and now is on its way to President Obama. So how exactly, will the bill affect federal employees?
The bill can be broken down into a few key factors:
First, each agency will have to implement an overall continuance-of-operations program. This needs to be done for everyday work days as well as emergency situations – like last year’s snowstorm that shut down Washington for days. Then, agencies must determine the eligibility to telework of their employees. Those who are eligible must then take part in a telework training program to learn the rules for working remotely.
Not only will employees be able to work remotely from home, they will also be able to work from telework centers. Agencies, in collaborations with the General Services Administration, must work on the creation and implementation of policies on these centers, along with travel, technology, equipment and dependent care conditions. There will also be work on cybersecurity measures, and new position – Telework managing officer – will need to be appointed in all agencies.
Reports will be done frequently by Office of Personnel Management and the Government Accountability Office to evaluate the progress of telework programs. OPM will launch a website dedicated to telework with resources for teleworking employees.
President Obama now has the private sector waiting for his signature on the bill.