July 31, 2020

Warren Joins Van Hollen, Bipartisan Group of Senators to Push Provisions to Require Maximum Telework for Federal Workers in Next Relief Package

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and a bipartisan group of senators in a letter urging  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include maximum telework requirements for federal employees and contractors in the next coronavirus relief package.  

“As the Senate considers the next coronavirus relief package, we urge you to include requirements to ensure maximum telework for federal employees and contractors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal employees and contractors have been teleworking successfully throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, many of whom have been keeping vital services running and implementing relief measures to support the economy and stop the spread of COVID-19,” the senators wrote.

There are important public health benefits of telework. All federal employees and contractors who can perform their duties remotely should be doing so. Agencies should enable telework for as many federal workers and contractor personnel as possible, and should continue to maximize telework throughout the pandemic. Telework protects not only federal employees from the spread of COVID-19, but also their families and the communities across the country in which they work.

As new waves of COVID-19 cases continue to hit areas across the country, it is especially important for federal agencies to have a clear mandate that sets a positive example for employers to keep their workforces and communities safe. Plans to bring federal employees back into offices prematurely would threaten to erase the progress made against the coronavirus and increase community spread.

Joining Senators Warren and Van Hollen are Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Angus King (I-Maine), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

In April, Senator Warren pressed the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to maximize telework across their workforce, collect and provide data on current teleworking practices at federal agencies, standardize procedures for  handling and disclosing COVID-19 cases, and not end telework prematurely. In March, Senator Warren joined Senator Van Hollen in a letter urging President Trump to maximum telework for federal employees. Days later, Senator Warren again called on the Trump Administration to heed public health experts' advice on social distancing and issue clear directions to Federal Government agencies to utilize all telework capabilities for their employees to the maximum extent possible.