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Senators Push for Continued Telework, Contractor Leave in COVID-19 Relief Talks

Government Executive: “As lawmakers continue negotiations over the next round of coronavirus response legislation, senators are pushing congressional leadership to include additional provisions protecting federal employees and contractors. In a July 31 letter, a bipartisan group of 22 senators, led by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to include language in the next COVID-19 relief bill that would provide a “clear mandate” that agencies and federal contractors continue to offer maximum telework to all eligible employees. “All federal employees and contractors who can perform their duties remotely should be doing so,” they wrote. “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.” The lawmakers also cautioned against ongoing efforts by some agencies to bring employees back to the office. In recent weeks, federal employee groups have decried efforts by the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency in particular to order workers back to federal facilities…”

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