H.R. 1722: Telework Improvement Act of 2010

H.R. 1722

Telework Improvement Act of 2010

Sponsor
Rep. John P. Sarbanes

Date
July 13, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 1722 is expected to be considered under a closed rule on July 14, 2010, which will provide one hour of debate and one Republican motion to recommit.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) on March 25, 2009.

 

Bill Summary

H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvement Act of 2010, improves teleworking in executive agencies by implementing a telework program that enables employees to telework at least 20 percent of the hours worked in every 2 administrative workweeks. 

The bill requires the head of each agency to establish a policy under which employees shall be permitted to telework to the maximum extent possible without diminishing employee performance or the operations of each agency. 

This measure exempts teleworking for employees whose duties and responsibilities include:

  • required daily access to classified information;
  • required daily in-person contact with members of the public or the use of equipment at the employee's regular place of employment; or
  • performance is otherwise infeasible away from employee's regular place of employment.

In addition, it prevents the temporary denial of permission for an employee to telework if, in the judgment of the agency head:

  • the employee is needed to respond to an emergency;
  • the employee requires additional training;
  • denial is necessary to achieve goals and objectives of programs administered by the agency.

The bill requires, in the event that denial of permission for an employee to telework is considered necessary, the Telework Managing Officer of the agency shall log and report such denial to:

  • the Chief Human Capital Officer of such agency; or
  • absent a Chief Human Capital Officer, the head of such agency;
  • the Office of Personnel Management.

H.R. 1722 requires agencies to provide training to teleworkers and to ensure that no distinction is made between teleworkers and non-teleworkers for performance appraisal, training, and other specific purposes.

This measure also directs the Office of Personnel Management to determine telework regulations, provide teleworking assistance and guidance to agencies, and to maintain a telework database and establish various research and reporting requirements.

The General Services Administration, in coordination with OMB and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, shall prescribe regulations, 120 days after this legislation is enacted, to ensure adequate information and security protections for information and information systems affected by teleworking.  Such regulations should be consistent with information security policies.

This bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to maintain a central, publicly available telework website that includes regulations relating to teleworking and a confidential hotline to contact the Office of Personnel Management to report any abuse.

H.R. 1722 requests that each agency designate an officer to function in the capacity as a Teleworking Managing Officer to serve as a resource for supervisors, managers, and employees to ensure that all employees are notified of grievance procedures for telework disputes.  It also requires GAO to establish procedures for evaluating each agency's telework policy and employee participation, evaluate agency compliance, and report annually to specific congressional committees on agency telework policies, participation and practices. 

Background

Teleworking provides workers with the ability to perform their duties and responsibilities from home or an alternative work site removed from their regular place of employment. 

The Office of Personnel Management estimated that the government lost $71 million worth of productivity each day it remained closed during this winter's week-long snow storm.  This estimate was reduced from a projected loss of $100 million per day due to evidence that suggested that nearly 30 percent of federal workers were already teleworking during the storm.

Cost

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1722 would increase the administrative costs to federal agencies by $2 million in 2010 and by $30 million over the 2010-2015 periods, subject to appropriations.  This legislation would also impact direct spending by agencies not funded by annual appropriations, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Bonneville Power Administration, which is subject to PAYGO procedures.  However, CBO estimates a net increase in spending for telework programs for those agencies would not be significant.