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Obama signs Akaka/Voinovich Telework Enhancement Act

MEDIA RELEASE

U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) have applauded President Obama’s enactment of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.

“This new law will reduce traffic and pollution by allowing more federal employees to stay off the road and complete their duties from home via telework,” Akaka said. “It will save the government money on office space and help recruit and retain top-notch employees that keep our country running strong. Sen. Voinovich and I have worked together for years to give the federal government the tools it needs to keep functioning during emergencies, and to make it an employer of choice. We have one more accomplishment to add to our list.”

“This bill will expand telework programs for federal employees and ensure the government keeps running during weather events or emergencies. Advancements in technology mean employees will expect to be able to work at any time from any place, as evidenced by the thousands of federal employees who worked from home during last winter’s snowstorms in Washington, D.C.,” Voinovich said.

Akaka and Voinovich lead the Senate Federal Workforce subcommittee. They sponsored the Telework Enhancement Act in the Senate and guided it to Senate passage earlier this year.

Repr. John Sarbanes (D-MD) sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives, which passed it Nov. 18.

This new law makes federal employees presumptively eligible to telework, giving agencies discretion to make mission-specific exceptions to that presumption.

It will require all agencies to:

* Establish telework policies in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management,
* Designate a Telework Managing Officer,
* Ensure that telework is part of the agency’s continuity of operations planning,
* Establish policies to preserve certain records created while teleworking, and
* Work with the Office of Management and Budget, Department of Homeland Security, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to establish security guidelines.

The law also allows agencies, with the approval of the General Services Administration, to create travel expense test programs to accommodate teleworking employees, and includes language to expand an existing telework pilot program within the Patent and Trademark Office.

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