Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., James Lankford, R-Okla., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., have introduced legislation that would require Federal agencies to maximize telework for Federal employees for the length of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Maximizing telework is a no brainer – it keeps employees on the job while also keeping them safe and healthy and reduces the spread of the virus in our communities,” Sen. Van Hollen said in a press release. “This is the best way to keep workers safe so they can continue providing vital services to the American people during this difficult time.”

The Pandemic Federal Telework Act of 2020 would allow the head of each agency to “permit eligible employees with respect to the agency to telework on a full-time basis during the covered period.” It also directs agency heads to plan for future public health emergencies and to maximize telework during those times as well.

Learn more about flexible funding vehicles like TMF in this issue brief.

Additionally, the legislation would clarify that the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) may be utilized for modernizing activities to facilitate telework. Text of the legislation does not include any changes to TMF funding levels or repayment provisions.

“Last week, I chaired a subcommittee hearing to learn best practices and valuable insights from the private sector who have utilized telework both before and during the pandemic,” Sen. Lankford said. “Their insight was incredibly valuable as the Federal government continues to function with many Federal employees in full-time telework status. I look forward to utilizing what we’ve learned and recommended to increase the availability and security of federal teleworking through this crisis and when we are finally past this crisis.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.