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The move to telework is working. This month we recognized the third anniversary of the Telework Enhancement Act and OPM issued its report to Congress that shows the progress we’re making on satisfying the requirements of the Act.
The share of federal employees eligible to telework has reached 47 percent, an increase of 49 percent from 2011, according to the report. This shows that federal agencies have made significant strides in increasing the use of telework, both to ensure that the vital operations of the federal government continue during emergency conditions and that such flexible work arrangements help federal employees better balance their work and personal life obligations.
I’m proud of how far we’ve come since 2010 when the Act was passed. But there is still more to do and we will continue to work with the agencies to spread the telework word.
Let me highlight some more of what’s in the report. There was a 30 percent increase in the number of eligible employees who teleworked throughout the fiscal year. And among all federal employees, those eligible to telework and those who are not, the use of this flexible work practice increased from 8 percent to 10 percent.
The report also says that in 2012, 76 percent of reporting agencies allowed eligible employees to telework and 88 percent of agencies let their employees know about their eligibility to telework. Further, 91 percent of agencies report notifying new employees of their telework eligibility.
The total number of employees eligible to take advantage of this flexible working arrangement increased significantly from 684,589 in 2011 to 1,020,034. The number of employees who had written telework agreements also rose in 2012, up to 267,227 from 144,851 in 2011.
This year’s report also points out how important the use of telework is when it comes to being prepared for emergencies. Overall, 81 percent of agencies have included information for the use of telework during emergencies in their telework policies and almost 50 percent provide training to employees on what is expected of them in an emergency. In addition, more employees are doing unscheduled telework, suggesting it is being used as a strategic tool for maintaining agency productivity and continuity.
Please take a look at the 2013 Status of Telework in the Federal Government Report to Congress at www.telework.gov.
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