Reps. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. asked House and Senate leaders to include in the next Federal coronavirus relief bill a lengthy list of protections for the Federal and government contractor workforces, including measures to further promote telework.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, many civil servants and contractors find themselves at the forefront of combatting the virus,” the representatives said in a letter to House and Senate leadership. “At the same time, they are struggling, like the rest of the world, to adjust to difficult new family and financial circumstances.”

Among other items for the Federal workforce, Reps. Connolly and Maloney urged codifying weather and safety leave for Federal employees, and prohibiting blanket agency prohibitions on teleworking, as  legislative priorities in the next coronavirus relief package.

For contractors, the representatives are requesting:

  • Action to mandate that agencies allow contractors to telework if their work can be done remotely, and to provide periodic reports to Congress;
  • The Office of Management and Budget issue government-wide guidance on implementing a section of the recently approved Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that “allows agencies to modify the terms and conditions of a contract to reimburse Federal contractors to keep their employees or subcontractors in a ready state so the do not have to lay off their employees;” and
  • Agencies be directed to utilize advance payments and expand to all Federal contractors current requirements to provide accelerated payments for small businesses during the pandemic.

“These priorities do not exhaust the support that our federal civil service and its contractors need. But they will provide clarity, improve federal government operations, and help Federal workers care for their families during this public health crisis,” the members of Congress said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.