Warner, Kaine: Immediately maximize telework for federal employees

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A group of senators is urging President Trump to issue an executive order directing agencies to utilize telework capabilities to the maximum possible extent.

The effort was led by U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., with 26 of his colleagues, including Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

The senators say too many federal employees are still required to come to work in-person when they can do their job from home, as the CDC and other public health experts recommend practicing social-distancing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I urge you to immediately issue an executive order directing agencies to use telework to the maximum extent practicable in light of the COVID-19 emergency,” Van Hollen writes in the letter. “The Office of Management and Budget issued guidance for agencies to increase telework flexibility in the National Capital Region, but your order should be a clear direction – rather than general guidance – and it should be worldwide in scope.”

More from the letter:

“Your order should direct federal agencies to allow all telework-eligible federal workers to telework full-time, unless there is a clear and compelling reason not to do so for the effective operation of government. You should also order federal agencies to evaluate whether non-telework-eligible employees can be telework-eligible, and to do so for all employees where there is not a clear and compelling reason that telework is not compatible with the performance of their job functions.

“Voluntary guidance is not enough – agencies need clear orders. In the absence of a clear order, agencies and managers have been hesitant to take major actions to shift towards telework and I hear from increasingly anxious federal workers in my state on a daily basis.”

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