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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

PSC says contractors need telework guidance NOW

Federal workers have been given guidance on teleworking during the coronavirus pandemic, but the same can’t be said for federal contractors. And the Professional Services Council is saying that needs to change now.

PSC has sent a letter to Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, that requests the same authority federal workers get when the latter group is told to work from home. Many contractors are being sent and home told that “telework is not authorized under the contract,” PSC President and CEO David Berteau wrote in the letter sent Wednesday.

But the authority exists, government managers just need the guidance to exercise that authority.

“Sending contractors home without authorizing telework effectively ends the important work being done for the government by those contractors,” Berteau wrote.

He said the lack of guidance also undermines the intent of the President when OMB told federal agencies to allow government workers the “maximum telework flexibilities.”

PSC is urging OMB and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to issue guidance “immediately” to instruct acquisition officials that contracting officers can allow contractors to telework, and that exercising such ability should a priority to keep the government functioning.

Contracting officers should amend or adjust contracts as necessary to contractor personnel can comply with the same telework guidance as federal workers, Berteau said.

In his letter, Berteau held out NASA as an example of an agency managing contract personnel the right way. Administrator Jim Bridenstine included contractors in his directive that as many NASA employees telework. 

"Effective immediately, all employees and contractors will move to mandatory telework until further notice. Mission-essential personnel will continue to be granted access onsite. Please contact your supervisor as soon as possible if you have any questions," Bridenstine wrote.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 19, 2020 at 1:36 PM


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