What’s going on:
The Senate and the House are re-examining in-person work for federal employees and are pushing for more stringent evaluation processes for implementing telework policies. Seven Republican senators including Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Steve Daines (R-MT), are pushing legislation called the Stopping Home Office Work’s Unproductive Problems Act.
The bill would end pandemic-era remote work policies for federal employees by requiring agencies to reinstate telework policies and practices set in place in 2019 — prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Govexec.com.
Last week the group of senators introduced the bill as the companion legislation for the SHOW UP Act of 2023 that passed in the House of Representatives back in February with a 221-206 vote. As it stands the bill has only passed the House of Representatives and still needs to be approved by the Senate.
Why it matters:
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid work for businesses, agencies, and organizations. Now that the government’s public health emergency declaration expired on May 11, politicians are taking a hard look at remote and hybrid work.
The SHOW UP Act and the senate companion legislation is a call specifically for federal agencies to bring their employees back to the office, but if passed, the impacts may be felt across the entire workforce — spanning many non-government industries.
How it’ll impact the future:
These legislative moves at the federal level may cause a profound ripple effect on the country’s workforce. Bills like the SHOW UP Act could lead to an entire reevaluation of remote work policies in other sectors. Moving forward, more businesses and other organizations will likely assess the long-term impacts of telework on productivity, cost savings, and employee benefits — and could point to the government actions as an added reason to compel a return to office.