Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and John Sarbanes, D-Md. – both of whom represent districts with large Federal employee populations – have reintroduced legislation that the members of Congress said will “strengthen and expand the federal government’s telework programs by capitalizing on lessons learned” during the coronavirus pandemic when many Federal agencies had most employees working from remote locations.

The legislation’s provisions appear to be aimed at generating further gains for telework across the Federal government.

They said the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act would further define telework, develop stats on cost and other telework performance metrics, and require Federal agency heads to report to Congress within 30 days with any plans they have to reduce telework access “for any reason.”

The bill would give the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) authority to develop standards “for the collection and use of federal agency data to expand telework,” develop supervisor and manager training on telework, and publish telework management guidance to agencies.

Federal agencies would be required to report to OPM annually on “goals and priorities to expand telework access,” track cost savings, train supervisors on how to manage teleworking employees, and review and update existing telework guidance.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, federal agencies must continue to invest in strategies and practices that worked,” Rep. Connolly said.

“Congress must ensure that the federal government has the tools it needs to compete with the private sector for top talent,” he continued. “The reform included in the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act is critical to strengthening federal telework programs in a way that both captures some of the telework gains we made amid the pandemic while also ensuring federal telework is deployed appropriately. This bill will help attract top talent to federal service –  regardless of their location.”

“Federal employee telework has been tested and proven during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Sarbanes.

“The flexibility of this program heightened work productivity, improved employee retention, and delivered high-quality government service for the American people,” he said. “Building on the success of the Telework Enhancement Act, which Congressman Connolly and I passed in 2010 and laid the foundation for federal telework policies, the Telework Metrics and Cost Savings Act will create a stronger future for the federal workforce.”

A similar bill filed by Rep. Connolly in 2020 did not make it out of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.