February 6, 2023

Home GOP Bill Would Order Federal Workers Back to Office

Bill would command word legions of federal workers to stop teleworking and go back to the office

House Republicans have introduced a bill that would order legions of federal employees to stop teleworking and return to the office.  

The Stopping Office at home Work’s Unproductive Problems Take action — or “ SHOW UP Act ” — has been introduced by Kentucky Rep. James Comer, who seats the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.  

“ Americans have suffered from the federal government government’s detrimental pandemic-era telework policies for federal bureaucrats, ” stated Comer. “ President Biden’s unnecessary development of telework crippled the capability of departments and organizations to fulfill their responsibilities plus created cumbersome backlogs. ”

The particular bill gives federal employees who worked in person prior to the pandemic  30 days to get to the office.   A November  Federal Information Network   survey found that 60 per cent of feds were working in a “ hybrid” environment, with  a  third functioning entirely remotely.    

Comer states Oversight Committee members have obtained whistleblower reports indicating thatGeneral Service Administration’s  (GSA) key Robin Carnahan has invested the majority of her time far from Washington, DC.    

The SHOW UP Act would also immediate federal agencies to  research the impact of tele-work on their missions and review their findings to Our elected representatives.   “ The federal government government’s expansion of telework during the pandemic has postponed critical assistance to veterans, tax refunds, passport applications, and other basic services, ”   said   Comer’s office.

Agencies would also have to provide  data on locality spend received by federal employees  — who may not really be spending much time in that locality at all.  

Locality pay is a considerable layer of compensation that’s added to federal employees’ base spend.   As the name indicates, it varies depending on in which the job is located. The 2022 default locality pay for areas of the country without a customized portion was  16. 5%   of foundation pay.

However ,   in Washington DC, it’s a whopping  thirty-two. 49%   associated with base pay.   Regarding 2003, employees in the DC locality received one of the biggest locality-pay hikes:   4. 86% .    

The SHOW UP Act alludes for an important question:   How many proposed Washington DC federal employees are receiving enormous locality pay  while living somewhere else and phoning it within?   That question just isn’t only relevant for DC: The same dynamic would utilize federal employees in other localities who’ve left the big city to go live cheap elsewhere and only visit the office whenever required.    

In 2021, the federal Office of Workers Management said employees in “ remote work” agreements — a permanent arrangement with no expectation of coming to work — should receive vicinity pay based on their  remote location .

Things get murkier, though, where flexible “ telework” is concerned.   Telework usually requires reporting in-person twice every two weeks… unless that requirement will be waived. Teleworking feds’ vicinity pay is determined by the  office location , not their home.  

To that point, the  SHOW UP Act   says agencies must evaluate costs attributable to “ paying out higher rates of locality pay to teleworking workers as a result of  incorrectly classifying such employees as teleworkers  rather than remote workers. ”  

It’s not just Republicans who are itching to get federal employees out of their pajamas  and back to work. Earlier this month, DC  Mayor Muriel Bowser  urged   President Biden to kill the liberal telework policies  that have left many office buildings nearly vacant, along with corresponding impacts on the city economy. Otherwise, she desires government offices repurposed.  

The SHOW UP Act, which has no future in a Democrat-controlled Senate, would strengthen her case: It commands agencies to assess the price of  “ owning, renting or maintaining under-utilized true property. ”  

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