H.R. Senate Amendment to 1722: Telework Enhancement Act of 2010

H.R. Senate

Telework Enhancement Act of 2010

Sponsor
Rep. John P. Sarbanes

Date
November 18, 2010 (111th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 1722 is expected to be considered on the House floor on Thursday, November 18, 2010 under a closed rule, providing suspension authority through the legislative day of November 19, 2010.  This legislation was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) on March 25, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1722, the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 would requires the head of each federal agency to establish a policy under which employees would be permitted to telework. The bill would not permit a federal employee to telework if the employee has done the following

  • The employee has been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than five days in any calendar year; and
  • The employee has been disciplined for violations of the standards of ethical conduct for employees of the executive branch for viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography, including child pornography, on a federal government computer or while performing an official function.

The bill would also not permit federal employees to telework if their duties and responsibilities include the following:

  • Daily access to classified information;
  • 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.

H.R. 1722 would require of each executive agency to ensure that each employee has successfully completed an interactive telework training program before that employee enters into a written agreement with an agency to telework, unless determined unnecessary by the head of the agency.

The Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, would be required to prescribe regulations, 180 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.  Additionally, this bill would require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to develop telework policies and to maintain a central, publicly available telework website that includes regulations relating to teleworking.

Lastly, the legislation would require the OPM to submit a report to Congress evaluating the level of participation by employees of each agency no more than 180 days after enactment.

Background

The House approved a similar bill, H.R. 1722, the Telework Improvements Act of 2010 by a vote of 290—131 on July 14, 2010.  The Senate made slight modifications to the original House approved bill.  The Senate removed House approved language that would have barred participation in teleworking activities by federal employees with seriously delinquent tax debts.  The Senate also removed a provision that would have required agency heads to certify that their teleworking programs would save money.

Possible Member Concerns:  Some members may be concerned that this bill could increase the administrative costs to federal agencies by $2 million in 2010 and by $30 million over the 2010-2015 periods.

Cost

There is currently no cost estimate provided for this particular bill, however, Congressional Budget Office estimates suggest that adopting the previous and similar house bill, H.R. 1722, the Teleworking Improvement Act, would increase the administrative costs to federal agencies by $2 million in 2010 and by $30 million over the 2010-2015 periods

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.