Bipartisan Telework Proposal Focused on Health of Federal Employees

Press Release August 10, 2020

Washington D.C. – The federal government would protect more of its workforce from COVID-19 and better serve taxpayers under bipartisan legislation introduced today and endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.  

The Pandemic Federal Telework Act of 2020, from Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), would require agencies to maintain maximum telework policies throughout the coronavirus public health emergency.  

“Telework has a long, successful history in the federal workplace but these last five months have proven that it can save lives while still delivering important services to the American people,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “NTEU strongly supports this legislation because it is focused on the health and safety of federal employees and their families.”  

The legislation, which is an update of the earlier Emergency Telework Act, would also require federal agencies to consider expanding telework capability to even more employees, while still giving agencies flexibility for jobs that cannot be done remotely.  

“While most agencies where we represent employees are smartly keeping their maximum telework policies in place, we are starting to see some managers try and push teleworkers back into the office too soon, increasing the risk of spreading the virus in the workplace or on public transportation,” Reardon said. “This legislation would make sure as many civil servants as possible can continue to do their jobs while also protecting themselves and their families.”  

NTEU has a proud history of creating telework agreements during collective bargaining because it cuts down on commuting time and costs, increases productivity and helps recruit and retain highly skilled employees across government.   

“This legislation is a sign that this administration’s efforts to roll back telework programs will not be tolerated by Congress, especially during a global health crisis,” Reardon said.   

NTEU represents about 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.