Agencies urged to step up telework efforts

A key House lawmaker is considering introducing legislation that would cut the budgets of all agencies and departments that fail to allow qualified employees to telework.

The proposal would expand on a provision included in the House version of the fiscal 2005 Commerce, Justice and State appropriations bill that would withhold as much as $5 million from a handful of agencies if they cannot show that qualified employees are allowed to telework at least once a week. The provision was sponsored by Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., a longtime telework advocate.

The House passed the spending bill in July and while the Senate version of the bill does not have the same provision, both Wolf and House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R-Va., expect the measure to be signed into law.

On Wednesday, Michael Layman, a House Government Reform Committee staffer, told a group of federal managers that Davis is considering introducing a measure similar to Wolf's that would urge all departments and agencies to step up telework efforts, or face budget cuts.

"We understand that the only two ways to get agencies to pay attention to Congress are to threaten their budgets or to drag them up to Capitol Hill to testify before members," said Layman, who spoke at the Telework in the Federal Government Conference. "This is an idea, telework, whose time has come. We on the Hill believe it is important."

Telework lowers the need for office space, reduces commuting time and prepares the federal government for emergencies, and these benefits should be emphasized, Layman said. He cited the Treasury Department as a top-performer for telework and said the Interior Department ranks at the bottom, with managers not allowing employees to participate.

"Management seems to keep telework from happening governmentwide," Layman said. "It can be unsettling for a manager to not see his or her employee, but if managers and employees just tried telework, they just might like it."

The 2001 Federal Telework Mandate requires managers to allow eligible employees to telework. The Office of Personnel Management's 2003 Telework Report, however, showed that agencies' telework numbers fell far below the goals laid out in 2001.

Because there is no standard defining what makes telework "certified," agencies can simply sign a document stating that they have made teleworking opportunities available to all employees. Layman said defining telework is something the Government Reform Committee has looked into, but it will likely be left up to the agencies.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.