First the (hopefully) good news: On 15 July the House of Representatives passed HR 1722, the Federal Telework Improvements Act. If finally enacted, the bipartisan bill would:
- Instruct the Office of Personnel Management to develop a uniform, government-wide telework policy for federal employees;
- Strengthen the federal government’s capacity to effectively integrate telework into Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP);
- Designate one person as a Telework Managing Officer within every agency;
- Provide telework training and education to both employees and supervisors [Note: the government apparently has developed some training materials for this; you can get a copy of their book for $99 if you’re a government person, $149 if you’re not. On the other hand you can buy a copy of Managing Telework from Amazon for $40 and change.];
- Require the Office of Personnel Management to compile government-wide data on telework; and
- Require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to evaluate agency compliance and produce an annual report to Congress that is publicly available on the internet.
The Senate, although it has a version similar to HR 1722, has yet to approve the bill and time is short before the summer recess. Final approval by the Senate and signing by the President would finally put some teeth into the decades-old plan to seriously increase the amount of teleworking performed by federal employees. The telework-tracking provision of the bill would also enable much more accurate estimation of the environmental impacts of telework.
If you support telework and wish to give a boost to its extension to a much larger group of people, please let your local representatives know about the possibilities.
Now for the bad news: last week the Senate dropped all pretense of passing an energy/global warming bill. Continue reading Good news and bad news from DC