H.R. 1722 (111th): Telework Enhancement Act of 2010

111th Congress, 2009–2010. Text as of Jul 15, 2010 (Referred to Senate Committee).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

IIB

111th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 1722

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 15, 2010

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

AN ACT

To require the head of each executive agency to establish and implement a policy under which employees shall be authorized to telework, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Telework Improvements Act of 2010.

2.

Telework

(a)

In general

Part III of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 63 the following:

65

Telework

Sec.

6501. Definitions.

6502. Governmentwide telework requirement.

6503. Implementation.

6504. Telework Managing Officer.

6505. Evaluating telework in agencies.

6501.

Definitions

For purposes of this chapter—

(1)

the term agency means an Executive agency (as defined by section 105), except as otherwise provided in this chapter;

(2)

the term telework or teleworking refers to a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee’s position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work;

(3)

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

(4)

the term Telework Managing Officer means, with respect to an agency, the Telework Managing Officer of the agency designated under section 6504.

6502.

Governmentwide telework requirement

(a)

Telework requirement

(1)

In general

Not later than one year 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).

(2)

Agency policies

The head of each agency shall ensure—

(A)

that the telework policy established under this section—

(i)

conforms to the regulations promulgated by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management under section 6503, and

(ii)

authorizes employees to telework to the maximum extent possible without diminishing agency operations and performance; and

(B)

that information on whether a position is eligible for telework is included in descriptions of available positions and recruiting materials.

(b)

Limitations

(1)

Certain employees not authorized to telework

An employee may not telework under a policy established under this chapter if any of the following apply to the employee:

(A)

The employee has a seriously delinquent tax debt (as determined under paragraph (2)).

(B)

The employee has been officially disciplined for violations of subpart G 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 official Federal Government duties.

(C)

The employee received a payment under the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (42 U.S.C. 8621 et seq.) but was ineligible to receive the payment under the criteria described in section 2605(b)(2) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 8624(b)(2)).

(D)

The employee has been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than 5 days in any calendar year.

(2)

Determination of seriously delinquent tax debt

(A)

In general

For purposes of paragraph (1)(A), a seriously delinquent tax debt means an outstanding debt under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for which a notice of lien has been filed in public records pursuant to section 6323 of such Code, except that such term does not include—

(i)

a debt that is being paid in a timely manner pursuant to an agreement under section 6159 or section 7122 of such Code;

(ii)

a debt with respect to which a levy has been issued under section 6331 of such Code upon accrued salary or wages (or, in the case of an applicant for employment, a debt with respect to which the applicant agrees to be subject to a levy issued under such section upon accrued salary or wages); and

(iii)

a debt with respect to which a collection due process hearing under section 6330 of such Code, or relief under subsection (a), (b), or (f) of section 6015 of such Code, is requested or pending.

(B)

Regulations

The Office of Personnel Management shall, for purposes of carrying out this paragraph, prescribe any regulations which the Office considers necessary, except that such regulations shall provide that an individual shall be given a reasonable amount of time to demonstrate that the individual’s debt is described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A).

(3)

Certification of savings

An agency may not permit employees to telework under a policy established under this chapter unless the head of the agency certifies to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management that the implementation of the policy will result in savings to the agency.

(4)

Provisions relating to certain circumstances

Nothing in subsection (a) shall be considered—

(A)

to require the head of an agency to authorize teleworking in the case of an employee whose duties and responsibilities—

(i)

require daily direct handling of classified information; or

(ii)

are such that their performance requires on-site activity which cannot be carried out from a site removed from the employee’s regular place of employment; or

(B)

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.

(c)

Prohibiting collective bargaining activities while teleworking

Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 71, any time during which an employee teleworks may not be treated as official time for purposes of the authority to carry out any activity under section 7131 of this title.

(d)

Requirement that Presidential and Vice-Presidential records created on non-official electronic mail or social media accounts while teleworking be copied to official electronic mail accounts

In the case of any employee who, while teleworking pursuant to a policy established under this chapter, creates or receives a Presidential record or Vice-Presidential record within the meaning of chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, through a non-official electronic mail account, a social media account, or any other method (electronic or otherwise), the employee shall electronically copy the record into the employee’s official electronic mail account.

(e)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this chapter shall—

(1)

be considered to require any employee to telework; or

(2)

prevent an agency from permitting an employee to telework as part of a continuity of operations plan.

6503.

Implementation

(a)

Responsibilities of Agencies

The head of each agency shall ensure that—

(1)

appropriate training is provided to supervisors and managers, and to all employees who are authorized to telework, as directed by the Telework Managing Officer of such agency;

(2)

the training covers the information security guidelines issued by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under this section;

(3)

no distinction is made between teleworkers and nonteleworkers for purposes of—

(A)

periodic appraisals of job performance of employees,

(B)

training, rewarding, reassigning, promoting, reducing in grade, retaining, or removing employees,

(C)

work requirements, or

(D)

other acts involving managerial discretion;

(4)

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; and

(5)

in the case of an agency which is named in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 901(b) of title 31, the agency incorporates telework in its continuity of operations plans and uses telework in response to emergencies.

(b)

Responsibilities of OPM

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall—

(1)

not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this chapter, in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, promulgate regulations necessary to carry out this chapter, except that such regulations shall not apply with respect to the Government Accountability Office;

(2)

provide advice, assistance, and any necessary training to agencies with respect to the requirements of this chapter, including with respect to—

(A)

questions of eligibility to telework, such as the effect of employee performance on eligibility, and

(B)

making telework part of the agency's goals, including those of individual supervisors and managers; and

(3)

in consultation with the Administrator of General Services, maintain a central, publicly available telework website that includes—

(A)

any regulations relating to telework and any other information the Director considers appropriate,

(B)

an e-mail address which may be used to submit comments to the Director on agency telework programs or agreements, and

(C)

a copy of all reports issued under section 6505(a).

(c)

Security Guidelines

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, shall issue guidelines not later than 180 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 while teleworking. Such guidelines shall, at a minimum, include requirements necessary—

(1)

to control access to agency information and information systems;

(2)

to protect agency information (including personally identifiable information) and information systems;

(3)

to limit the introduction of vulnerabilities;

(4)

to protect information systems not under the control of the agency that are used for teleworking;

(5)

to safeguard wireless and other telecommunications capabilities that are used for teleworking; and

(6)

to prevent inappropriate use of official time or resources that violates subpart G of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch by viewing, downloading, or exchanging pornography, including child pornography.

6504.

Telework Managing Officer

(a)

Designation and compensation

Each agency shall designate an officer, to be known as the Telework Managing Officer. The Telework Managing Officer of an agency shall be designated—

(1)

by the Chief Human Capital Officer of such agency; or

(2)

if the agency does not have a Chief Human Capital Officer, by the head of such agency.

(b)

Status Within Agency

The Telework Managing Officer of an agency shall be a senior official of the agency who has direct access to the head of the agency.

(c)

Limitations

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.

(d)

Duties and responsibilities

Each Telework Managing Officer of an agency shall—

(1)

provide advice on teleworking to the head of such agency and to the Chief Human Capital Officer of such agency (if any);

(2)

serve as a resource on teleworking for supervisors, managers, and employees of such agency;

(3)

serve as the primary point of contact on telework matters for agency employees and (with respect to such agency) for Congress and other agencies;

(4)

work with senior management of the agency to develop and implement a plan to incorporate telework into the agency’s regular business strategies and its continuity of operations strategies, taking into consideration factors such as—

(A)

cost-effectiveness,

(B)

equipment,

(C)

training, and

(D)

data collection;

(5)

ensure that the agency’s telework policy is communicated effectively to employees;

(6)

ensure that electronic or written notification is provided to each employee of specific telework programs and the agency’s telework policy, including authorization criteria and application procedures;

(7)

develop and administer a tracking system for compliance with Governmentwide telework reporting requirements;

(8)

provide to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management and the Comptroller General such information as such individuals may require to prepare the reports required under section 6505, including the techniques used to verify and validate data on telework, except that this paragraph shall not apply with respect to the Government Accountability Office;

(9)

establish a system for receiving feedback from agency employees on the telework policy of the agency;

(10)

develop and implement a program to identify and remove barriers to telework and to maximize telework opportunities in the agency;

(11)

track and retain information on all denials of permission to telework for employees who are authorized to telework, and report such information on an annual basis to—

(A)

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

(B)

the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, for purposes of preparing the reports required under section 6505(a), except that this subparagraph shall not apply with respect to the Government Accountability Office;

(12)

ensure that employees are notified of grievance procedures available to them (if any) with respect to any disputes that relate to telework; and

(13)

perform such other duties and responsibilities relating to telework as the head of the agency may require.

(e)

Rule of Construction Regarding Status of Telework Managing Officer

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit an individual who holds another office or position in an agency from serving as the Telework Managing Officer for the agency under this chapter.

6505.

Evaluating telework in agencies

(a)

Annual report by OPM

(1)

In general

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall submit to the Comptroller General and the appropriate committees of Congress a report evaluating the extent to which each agency is in compliance with this chapter with respect to the period covered by the report, and shall include in the report an evaluation of each of the following:

(A)

The degree of participation by employees of the agency in teleworking during the period. In the case of an agency which is an Executive department, the evaluation will include the degree of participation by employees of each component within the department, including—

(i)

the total number of employees in the agency;

(ii)

the number and percentage of such employees who are eligible to telework; and

(iii)

the number and percentage of such employees who do telework, broken down by the number and percentage who telework 3 or more days per week, one or two days per week, and less frequently than one day per week.

(B)

The method the agency uses to gather data on telework and the techniques used to verify and validate such data.

(C)

Whether the total number of employees who telework is at least 10% higher or lower than the number who teleworked during the previous reporting period and the reasons identified for any such change.

(D)

The agency’s goal for increasing the number of employees who telework in the next reporting period.

(E)

The extent to which the agency met the goal described in subparagraph (D) for its previous report, and, if the agency failed to meet the goal, the actions the agency plans to take to meet the goal for the next reporting period.

(F)

The best practices in agency telework programs.

(G)

In the case of an agency which is named in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 901(b) of title 31, the extent to which the agency incorporated telework in its continuity of operations plans and used telework in response to emergencies.

(2)

Minimum requirement for compliance

For purposes of the reports required under this subsection, the Director shall determine that an agency is in compliance with the requirements of this chapter if the Director finds that the agency—

(A)

reported the requested data accurately and in a timely manner; and

(B)

either met or exceeded the agency’s established telework goals, or provided explanations as to why the goals were not met as well as the steps the agency is taking to meet the goals.

(3)

Reporting period; timing

The Director shall submit a report under this subsection with respect to the first 1-year period for which the regulations promulgated by the Director under section 6503(b) are in effect and each of the 4 succeeding 1-year periods, and shall submit the report with respect to a period not later than 6 months after the last day of the period to which the report relates.

(4)

Exclusion of government accountability office

The Director shall not submit a report under this subsection with respect to the Government Accountability Office.

(b)

Reports by Comptroller General

(1)

Evaluations of reports by Director of OPM

Not later than 6 months after the Director submits a report under subsection (a), the Comptroller General shall review the report and submit a report to the appropriate committees of Congress. The report shall evaluate the compliance of the Office of Personnel Management and agencies with this chapter and address the overall progress of agencies in carrying out this chapter, and shall include such other information and recommendations as the Comptroller General considers appropriate.

(2)

Reports on government accountability office

The Comptroller General shall submit a report with respect to the Government Accountability Office in the same manner and in accordance with the same requirements applicable to a report submitted by the Director with respect to any other agency under subsection (a).

(c)

Appropriate Committees of Congress Defined

In this section, the term appropriate committees of Congress means—

(1)

the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the House of Representatives; and

(2)

the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

.

(b)

Technical and conforming amendments

(1)

The analysis for part III of title 5, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 63 the following:

65.Telework6501

.

(2)

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 designate a Telework Coordinator to be and inserting designate a Telework Managing Officer or designate the Chief Human Capital Officer or other career employee to be.

3.

Policy Guidance

Not later than the expiration of the 120-day period which begins on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall issue policy guidance requiring each Executive agency (as such term is defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code), when purchasing computer systems, to purchase computer systems that enable and support telework, unless the head of the agency determines that there is a mission-specific reason not to do so.

4.

Authority for telework Travel expense test programs

(a)

In General

Subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

5711.

Authority for telework travel expense test programs

(a)
(1)

Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, under a test program which the Administrator of General Services determines to be in the interest of the Government and approves, an employing agency may pay through the proper disbursing official any necessary travel expenses in lieu of any payment otherwise authorized or required under this subchapter for employees participating in a telework program. Under an approved test program, an agency may provide an employee with the option to waive any payment authorized or required under this subchapter. An agency shall include in any request to the Administrator for approval of such a test program an analysis of the expected costs and benefits and a set of criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

(2)

Any test program operated under this section shall be designed to enhance cost savings or other efficiencies that accrue to the Government.

(3)

Under any test program operated under this section, if an agency employee voluntarily relocates from the pre-existing duty station of that employee, the Administrator may authorize the employing agency to establish a reasonable maximum number of occasional visits to the pre-existing duty station before that employee is eligible for payment of any accrued travel expenses by that agency.

(4)

Nothing in this section is intended to limit the authority of any agency to conduct test programs.

(b)

The Administrator shall transmit a description of any test program approved by the Administrator under this section, and the rationale for approval, to the appropriate committees of the Congress at least 30 days before the effective date of the program.

(c)
(1)

An agency authorized to conduct a test program under this section shall provide to the Administrator, the Telework Managing Officer of that agency, and the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the results of the program not later than 3 months after completion of the program.

(2)

The results in a report described under paragraph (1) may include—

(A)

the number of visits an employee makes to the pre-existing duty station of that employee;

(B)

the travel expenses paid by the agency;

(C)

the travel expenses paid by the employee; or

(D)

any other information the agency determines useful to aid the Administrator, Telework Managing Officer, and Congress in understanding the test program and the impact of the program.

(d)

No more than 10 test programs under this section may be conducted simultaneously.

(e)

The authority to conduct test programs under this section shall expire 7 years after the date of the enactment of the Telework Improvements Act of 2010.

(f)

In 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.

.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections for subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

Sec. 5711 Authority for telework travel expense test programs

.

5.

Telework research

(a)

Research by OPM on Telework

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall—

(1)

conduct studies on the utilization of telework by public and private sector entities that identify best practices and recommendations for the Federal government;

(2)

review the outcomes associated with an increase in telework, including the effects of telework on energy consumption, the environment, job creation and availability, urban transportation patterns, and the ability to anticipate the dispersal of work during periods of emergency; and

(3)

make any studies or reviews performed under this subsection available to the public.

(b)

Use of Contract to Carry Out Research

The Director of the Office of Personnel Management may carry out subsection (a) pursuant to a contract entered into by the Director using competitive procedures.

Passed the House of Representatives July 14, 2010.

Lorraine C. Miller,

Clerk.

Deborah M. Spriggs,

Deputy Clerk