After years of planning, congressional vote wrangling and a couple of epic snow storms, the House passed teleworking legislation yesterday.
The last step in the teleworking saga is the signature of President Barack Obama, whose administration has supported the legislation that makes it easier for federal workers to work part of their hours from home.
The bill makes all federal workers eligible to telecommute and “establishes a policy framework and a set of procedures essentially creating the assumption that telework is permitted, rather than something workers must fight to get,” The Washington Post reports.
The bill also requires employees to attend teleworking training to be eligible for remote work and each agency to appoint a head of managing officer specifically for teleworking.
And, finally, those working from the office and those phoning it in – literally – will be treated equally in terms of evaluations, promotions and disciplinary action.
But the bill is not a “get-out-of-jail-free” card for chronically absent employees. Employees with five or more unexcused absences a year are blocked from working from home.
The bill’s passage marks a long journey for the piece of legislation. The House first passed a version of the bill in July, spurred on by the series of severe winter storms that blanketed the area and blocked many federal employees from getting to work.
In late September, the Senate passed a similar version, which was adopted by the House and passed yesterday.
Supporters of the bill said it would save the feds money by cutting overhead costs and energy consumption, and improving productivity, according to a report on Government Executive.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cost $30 million over five years