H. R. 1722
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 25, 2009
Mr. Sarbanes (for himself, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Connolly of Virginia, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Moran of Virginia, and Mr. Ruppersberger) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
To improve teleworking in executive agencies by developing a telework program that allows employees to telework at least 20 percent of the hours worked in every 2 administrative workweeks, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Telework Improvements Act of
Part III of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 63 the following:
6502. Governmentwide telework requirement.
6504. Telework Managing Officer.
6505. Evaluating telework in agencies.
6506. Continuity of operations.
For purposes of this chapter—
the term agency means an Executive agency (as defined by section 105), except as provided in section 6506(c);
the term telework or teleworking refers to a work arrangement under which an employee regularly performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee’s position, and other authorized activities, from home or another worksite removed from the employee’s regular place of employment;
the term continuity of operations, as used with respect to an agency, refers to measures designed to ensure that functions essential to the mission of the agency can continue to be performed during a wide range of emergencies, including localized acts of nature, accidents, public health emergencies, and technological or attack-related emergencies; and
the term Telework Managing Officer, as used with respect to an agency, refers to the Telework Managing Officer of such agency, designated under section 6504.
Governmentwide telework requirement
As soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this chapter, the head of each agency shall establish a policy under which employees shall be authorized to telework, subject to paragraph (2) and subsection (b).
The policy of each agency under this subsection—
shall be in conformance with regulations which the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall, as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of this chapter and in coordination with the General Services Administration, prescribe for purposes of this subsection; and
shall ensure that employees are authorized to telework—
to the maximum extent possible; and
without diminishing employee performance or agency operations.
Provisions relating to certain circumstances
Nothing in subsection (a) shall be considered—
to require the head of an agency to authorize teleworking in the case of an employee whose duties and responsibilities—
require daily access to classified information;
require daily face-to-face contact with members of the public or other persons, or the use of equipment, at the employee’s regular place of employment; or
are such that their performance from a site removed from the employee’s regular place of employment is otherwise infeasible; or
to prevent 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; or
the denial is necessary, for a specific or ascertainable period of time, to achieve goals and objectives of programs administered by the agency.
Responsibilities of the agency TMO
In the event that denial of permission for an employee to telework is considered necessary by reason of circumstances described in paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection (b), the Telework Managing Officer of the agency involved shall log and report such denial to—
the Chief Human Capital Officer of such agency; or
if the agency does not have a Chief Human Capital Officer, the head of such agency; and
the Office of Personnel Management.
Inclusion in annual report
The Office of Personnel Management shall transmit a summary of any denials of permission to telework (as received under paragraph (1)) to the Comptroller General for inclusion in the annual report required under section 6505(b).
Rule of construction
Nothing in this chapter shall—
be considered to require any employee to telework; or
prevent an agency from permitting an employee to telework as part of a continuity of operations plan.
In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter—
the head of each agency shall ensure that—
appropriate training is provided to supervisors and managers and to all employees who are authorized to telework—
prior to the start of any telework arrangement; and
following the start of any telework arrangement,
no distinction is made between teleworkers and nonteleworkers for purposes of—
periodic appraisals of job performance of employees;
training, rewarding, reassigning, promoting, reducing in grade, retaining, or removing employees;
work requirements; or
other acts involving managerial discretion; and
in determining what constitutes diminished performance in the case of an employee who teleworks, the agency shall consult the performance management guidelines of the Office of Personnel Management;
the Office of Personnel Management, in coordination with the General Services Administration, shall provide advice, assistance, and any necessary training to agencies, including with respect to—
questions of eligibility to telework, such as considerations relating to employee performance; and
making telework part of the agency’s goals, including those of individual supervisors and managers;
the General Services Administration, in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, shall prescribe regulations, within 120 days after the date of the enactment of this chapter, to ensure the adequacy of information and security protections for information and information systems used in, or otherwise affected by, teleworking; such regulations shall be consistent with information security policies and guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and shall, at a minimum, include requirements necessary—
to control access to agency information and information systems;
to protect agency information (including personally identifiable information) and information systems;
to limit the introduction of vulnerabilities;
to protect information systems not under the control of the agency that are used for teleworking; and
to safeguard wireless and other telecommunications capabilities that are used for teleworking; and
the Office of Personnel Management shall—
maintain a central, publicly available telework website, to be jointly controlled and funded by the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management;
include on the website under subparagraph (A)—
any regulations relating to telework, and any other information, the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management consider appropriate;
a confidential hotline and e-mail address which may be used to contact the Office of Personnel Management in order to report any abuse of agency telework programs or agreements; and
a copy of the most recent report available under section 6505(b); and
provide a summary of any reports of abuse, received by the Office of Personnel Management (whether under subparagraph (B)(ii) or otherwise), to the Comptroller General for inclusion in the annual report required under section 6505(b).
Telework Managing Officer
Designation and compensation
Each agency shall designate an officer, to be known as
Telework Managing Officer. The Telework Managing Officer of
shall be designated—
by the Chief Human Capital Officer of such agency; or
if the agency does not have a Chief Human Capital Officer, by the head of such agency; and
shall be compensated at a rate not less than the minimum rate of basic pay for grade GS–15 of the General Schedule.
The Director of the Office of Personnel Management may waive the minimum rate requirement under paragraph (1)(B) with respect to an agency if such agency has fewer than 100 employees (determined on a full-time equivalent basis) and the head of such agency certifies that being required to comply with paragraph (1)(B) would adversely impact the operations of such agency.
An individual may not hold the position of Telework Managing Officer as a noncareer appointee (as defined in section 3132(a)(7)), and such position may not be considered or determined to be of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character.
Duties and responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of the Telework Managing Officer of an agency shall be as follows:
an advisor on teleworking to the head of such agency and to the Chief Human Capital Officer of such agency (if any);
a resource on teleworking for supervisors, managers, and employees of such agency;
the primary point of contact for any agency employee who elects to telework, in the event of a telework-related dispute between the employee and a supervisor or manager; and
the agency’s primary point of contact on teleworking matters for employees of such agency, Congress, and other agencies.
Ensuring that the agency’s teleworking policy is communicated effectively to employees.
Ensuring that electronic or written notification is provided to each employee of specific telework programs and the agency’s teleworking policy, including authorization criteria and application procedures.
Developing and administering a tracking system for compliance with Governmentwide telework reporting requirements.
Providing to the Comptroller General and to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management such information as the Comptroller General may require to prepare the annual reports under section 6505(b).
Establishing a system for receiving feedback from agency employees on the telework policy of such agency.
Developing and implementing a program to identify and remove barriers to telework and to maximize telework opportunities in the agency.
Ensuring that employees are notified of grievance procedures available to them (if any) with respect to any disputes that relate to telework.
Performing such other duties and responsibilities relating to telework as the head of the agency may require.
Evaluating telework in agencies
The Comptroller General shall establish a system for evaluating—
the telework policy of each agency; and
employee participation in telework programs at each agency.
The Comptroller General shall, based on the system established under subsection (a), submit an annual report to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate. Each report under this subsection shall, with respect to the period covered by such report—
evaluate the telework policy of each agency;
for each agency, indicate the total number of employees in such agency and specify—
the number and percentage of employees who were eligible to telework;
the number and percentage of employees who teleworked an average of at least once a week on a regular basis, determined based on time spent actually teleworking;
the number and percentage of employees who teleworked an average of at least 20 percent of the hours that they worked in every 2 administrative workweeks, determined based on time spent actually teleworking;
the number and percentage of employees who teleworked at least once a month on a regular basis, determined based on time spent actually teleworking;
the number and percentage of employees who were not authorized to telework and the reasons why they were not so authorized;
the number and percentage of employees who were authorized to telework and then later stopped teleworking, the reasons why those employees stopped teleworking, and whether their stopping was voluntary or due to other factors, such as office coverage needs or productivity;
the extent to which barriers to maximizing teleworking opportunities have been identified and eliminated;
the impact (if any) of the agency’s telework policy on the recruitment and retention of employees;
the impact (if any) of the agency’s telework policy on the performance of agency employees;
the level of employee satisfaction with the agency’s telework policy, determined based on employee feedback; and
the amount of training provided to supervisors and managers, and any additional training that would better enable supervisors and managers to manage teleworking employees;
evaluate the compliance of each agency with the requirements of this chapter; and
identify best practices in agency telework programs.
Minimum requirement for compliance
For purposes of subsection (b)(3), an agency shall not be considered to be in compliance with the requirements of this chapter unless the employees of such agency who were authorized to telework were permitted to telework for at least 20 percent of the hours that they worked in every 2 administrative workweeks (disregarding any workweeks for which such employees did not submit a request or for which they were otherwise ineligible to telework).
Continuity of operations
The head of each agency shall ensure that—
to the maximum extent practicable, telework is incorporated into the continuity of operations planning of such agency; and
mission critical personnel, as determined by the head of such agency, are equipped to telework in time of a catastrophe.
The continuity of operations plan of an agency shall supersede any telework policy of such agency to the extent that they are inconsistent with one another.
For purposes of carrying out subsection (a)(2), the term agency means an agency named in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 901(b) of title 31.
Technical and conforming amendments
The analysis for part III of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 63 the following:
Section 622 of the Departments of
Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies
Appropriations Act, 2005, as contained in the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2005 (5 U.S.C. 6120 note) is amended by striking
Telework Coordinator to be
designate a Telework Managing Officer or designate the Chief Human
Capital Officer or other career employee to be.
Incorporation of telework into continuity of operations planning
Within 12 months after the effective date of the regulations under section 6502(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code (as amended by section 2), the General Services Administration, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, shall report to the appropriate committees of Congress on the incorporation of telework into agencies’ continuity of operations planning, including—
the extent to which such incorporation has occurred within each of the respective agencies;
the extent to which each agency has conducted continuity of operations tests and exercises incorporating telework for essential and non-essential personnel;
the extent to which agencies have used telework in response to emergencies; and
any recommendations the General Services Administration considers appropriate.
For purposes of this section—
the term appropriate committees of Congress means the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate;
the terms telework and continuity of operations have the meanings given those terms by section 6501 of title 5, United States Code (as amended by section 2); and
the term agency means an agency named in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 901(b) of title 31, United States Code.