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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.
Today I had the honor of being ceremonially sworn-in as Director of the Office of Personnel Management by Vice President Biden during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
While I was officially sworn-in when I first joined the OPM team, today's private ceremony allowed my family the time to travel to Washington and share in this wonderful and memorable experience. Later at my office at OPM we gathered a small group of colleagues and friends and I shared with them some thoughts on this special day.
I told them how honored I was that the President asked me to take on the challenge of leading such an important agency with an important mission. OPM touches the lives of so many people and provides a foundation for the work done all across the government because we manage people – the greatest asset we have.
I talked about wanting to instill in people all across this country the belief in the power of public service, and sharing with the American public the incredible work we do in the Federal government.
I want OPM to be an example of collaboration and inclusion for all government. And I asked representatives in the room from outside and inside of government to work with us as we tackle the tough challenges together.
This week more than 200 SES members were sworn-in as the newest career leaders of the Federal government. I had the honor of speaking to them at their orientation about the opportunities and responsibilities at the mantle of leadership.
The SES corps is the mobile, agile and strong leadership of the Federal service. In every agency, every department of the Federal government, the SES execute the challenging missions of the government and ensure the highest level of performance from our world class 21st Century Federal workforce.
I challenged these new leaders sworn in this week to aim high, to dream the impossible and to collaborate with their colleagues at every level. I stressed that true leadership also means extending a hand to the next generation of SES members. We need a bench of leadership, and it must be rich with the diversity of the country.
Even as these new SES leaders assume their responsibilities, the search for the next SES class has begun. With the President’s Management Council, I’m working to see how we can improve on the processes and procedures for recruiting, hiring and evaluating SES members.
So I congratulate our new SES class and look forward to the great work they will do for the American people.
I know everyone is inundated with holiday sales and limited time offers, but here is one limited time offer that you should pay attention to. This Monday, December 9, is the last day to make changes to your benefits for next year.
So why not take a few minutes today and review your options. Open Season allows for you to make changes to your Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) coverage, the amount of contributions to your Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS), and coverage for under the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).
If you want to stay in the same FEHB or FEDVIP plan, you don’t have to do anything. But remember, you have to re-enroll every year for the Flexible Spending Account program. Visit our Open Season website for general questions, to review plan options, and for all the information you’ll need. And if you still have questions, contact your agency human resources office.
The official start of Winter is only a couple of weeks away. While we are all hoping for an uneventful winter weather season, this is the perfect time to remind Federal employees in the DC area how we decide when to change the status of the Federal Government.
There are two primary considerations we make in deciding the status of Federal Government operations for the DC area. The first is the safety of the Federal workforce and the surrounding community. Our employees are our most important asset. The second is continuity of operations. The government never really closes. Emergency response personnel and teleworkers keep our operations going even when employees can’t physically get to work.
Preparedness is a year round activity. It is important that agencies and employees know their personnel designations, telework policies and emergency preparedness plans before an event occurs. The past few years have taught us that our Dismissal and Closure procedures extend beyond just winter weather emergencies and can be necessary at any time.
During a webcast earlier today, Dean Hunter, OPM's Director of Facilities, Security and Contracting, walked us through the decision-making process and Brenda Roberts, OPM’s leave administration manager, gave an overview of the policy that informs those decisions. The National Weather Service also gave us an idea of what winter has in store for us this year.
We want to ensure that Federal workers stay safe and that we continue to serve the American people even during times of difficult weather events. And the best way to make sure that happens is for everyone to be informed.
So, please take a few minutes to watch our video below and read the updated Dismissal and Closure Guide on the OPM website. And if you didn't get a chance to tune in to the full webcast, it will be available soon on our YouTube channel.
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