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Washington, D.C. -- An official with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management today testified before a Senate subcommittee on the agency's efforts to promote telework governmentwide.
Dan Green, Deputy Associate Director for the Center for Employee and Family Support Policy, said telework can be used to attract new employees to the federal government, relieve traffic congestion, and during a pandemic outbreak to protect workers from infection.
As evidence of the Administration's success to expand telework, Green said the number of federal employees who teleworked during President George W. Bush's first term nearly doubled to 140,694 in 2004, from 72,844 in 2001.
Green's testimony came before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, which is considering the Telework Enhancement Act of 2007 (S-1000), which was introduced by Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska).
"First, let me say that we appreciate Senator Stevens' longstanding advocacy for federal employees, and we appreciate the subcommittee's interest in moving this legislation forward," said Green. He added that OPM looks forward to working with the subcommittee on the bill "to ensure our mutual goals can be effectively met with respect to enhanced use of telework by federal managers and employees."
President Bush places great importance on workplace contingency and keeping mission-critical and taxpayer services operational. As such, OPM Director Linda M. Springer has taken steps to facilitate telework implementation. For example, she initiated an internal exercise in September 2006 to test and demonstrate telework's value in Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP). Also last year, Springer introduced Career Patterns, an initiative to attract "free-thinkers" and others of the Gen Y population who initially might not be attracted to public service, but for whom telework and other scheduling flexibilities could hold attraction.
Recently, Springer espoused the overall value of telework policies and programs.
"It's more important than ever for the federal government to be prepared for the unexpected," said Springer. "With our unique purpose and multiple missions affecting every single American, federal employees are always on the clock. As such, we must have flexible policies and contingency plans. This simply makes good business and social sense."
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.