Sarbanes Backs Efforts to Support Federal Workers as They Continue to Serve the American People During the COVID-19 Pandemic [Video]

Congressman Sarbanes Co-Sponsored Two Bills to Protect the Health and Safety of Federal Workers and Ensure That Frontline Civil Servants Receive Hazard Benefits; He Also Highlighted the Success of Federal Telework Programs in Maintaining Continuity of Operations and Services
June 25, 2020
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) today supported two bills to help protect the health and safety of federal workers and to ensure that America’s civil servants receive adequate compensation, benefits and support as they continue to serve the American people during the COVID-19 crisis.

The pieces of legislation include:

  • The Chaicharn Suthammanont Remembrance Act, a bill to require federal agencies to share timely and effective public health guidance with employees and deploy appropriate safety measures to protect the health of frontline federal workers; and
  • The Support Our Federal Workforce Act, a bill to provide hazard pay, childcare services and paid sick leave to federal workers required to report to their offices.

During a House Government Operations Subcommittee hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) also emphasized the benefits of federal telework programs, which help employees practice social distancing while maintaining high productivity rates and continuity of services for the American people.

“Obviously, in this moment, we’re seeing the full use of telework,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “There are agencies that embraced it for many years, and I think had the edge, but there are others, including our own staffs now here in the federal government becoming much more skilled in telework and frankly, seeing the productivity that can result from utilizing that option…. Agencies like the Veterans Benefits Administration have actually been processing claims at a higher rate during this time period.”

Sarbanes continued: “As we begin to reopen some workplaces and carefully examine the opportunity to get back into a traditional workspace, I assume it’s going to make sense to look at how to combine telework with traditional work environments, because if you, for instance, offload a certain part of the workforce onto the telework opportunity, then you have less people coming back into the traditional space, more opportunity for distancing and precautions to be put in place.”

See below for video of the Congressman’s full remarks.

As the author of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, Congressman Sarbanes has continuously fought to protect and expand telework programs for federal employees.