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Federal Agency Efforts to Promote and Use Telework Centers

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Section 630(a) of Public Law 105-277 (Flexiplace Work Telecommuting Programs) authorized certain Executive agencies to spend a minimum of $50,000 for fiscal year 1999, and each fiscal year thereafter, to establish and carry out a flexiplace work telecommuting program. Section 630 defines a flexiplace work telecommuting program specifically as use of the General Service Administration managed telework centers. In accordance with Section 630, the term "Executive agency" refers to the following twenty departments and agencies: Department of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Labor, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, General Services Administration, Office of Personnel Management, Small Business Administration, Social Security Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Postal Service.

Section 638 of Public Law 107-67, the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2002, directed federal agencies covered by section 630(a) of Public Law 105-277 to report to the Office of Personnel Management on their efforts to promote and use telecommuting centers as part of their flexiplace program. These reports were due no later than 60 days after the close of FY 2001. In turn, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was directed to provide a summary report to the House Committee on Appropriations no later than 90 days after the close of FY 2001.

To prepare this report, OPM analyzed data gathered by the General Services Administration (GSA) on the telework center fees and usage rates of GSA-managed telework centers. 1 GSA received appropriations in FY 1999 and FY 2000 to subsidize the operational cost of the telework centers allowing Federal agencies to utilize them at 50 percent of the usage fee. In accordance with Section 411 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999, as contained in Section 101 (h) of Division A of Public Law 105-277, GSA was not provided the allocated funds for the intended purpose of telework center subsidy for FY 2001. We also surveyed the 20 agencies covered by the telework programs law and sought information about the cost of promoting telework center use, the reasons agencies use or do not use telework centers, and their experience with telework centers. A copy of the survey is included in this report as Appendix B.

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