Wolf wants agencies to report on telework

Still frustrated by the government's slow adoption of telework policies, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is taking stronger steps to push a handful of agencies to bolster their telecommuting efforts.

For the third straight year, Wolf'chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce'inserted language into the fiscal 2007 Science, the Departments of State, Justice, and Commerce, and related agencies appropriations bill that will withhold $5 million from the agencies covered under the bill if they do not increase telework opportunities.

The agencies in the bill are the State, Justice, and Commerce departments, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Small Business Administration, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. Wolf first inserted this clause during the fiscal 2005 appropriations process.

But in a new twist, Wolf added language this year that also requires these agencies to detail their plans to increase the eligible number of teleworkers and what obstacles may be preventing the number from rising.

'In light of the benefits of telecommuting, the committee remains concerned about the lack of progress being made by federal agencies in this area,' the bill report language said. 'The committee believes that agencies should be taking extensive measures to certify more federal employees as eligible to telecommute.'

The reports are due six months after the bill, which passed the Appropriations Committee June 22, is enacted. The bill has not been passed by the full House.

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