A new ITIF report shows that the number of jobs filled by telecommuters could grow nearly four-fold to 19 million and deliver substantial economic, environmental and quality of life benefits for the United States over the next 12 years. Spurred by advances in IT, especially the spread of broadband, telecommuting is already the fastest growing mode of getting from home to work. Thanks to its potential to cut costs, increase productivity, and expand the universe of potential employees, telecommuting is also emerging as a standard business strategy for a larger number of organizations. The report calls for government to pursue policies to accelerate and maximize telecommuting, including spurring the deployment and adoption of broadband, which is an essential facilitator of telecommuting.
The large majority of high-income countries have introduced flexible working statutes aimed at making it easier for employees to change how many hours, and when and where they work within their current job. Patchy progress towards more diversified work arrangements is pushing workers out of the labor market altogether, or into jobs that are below their skill levels and potential. Few economies can afford such a waste of human resources in view of changing demographics, reduced labor force growth, and global competition for knowledge.
Flexible working statutes strengthen the ability of individual employees to find solutions that allow work-life reconciliation, but in a manner that takes account of employers’ business and operational requirements. Of 20 high-income countries examined in comparison with the United States, 17 have statutes to help parents adjust working hours, 6 help with family care giving responsibilities for adults; 12 allow change in hours to facilitate lifelong learning; 11 support gradual retirement; and 5 countries have statutory arrangements open to all employees, irrespective of the reason for seeking different work arrangements. Evaluation of statutes supporting flexible working hours shows that the laws have caused few problems for employers, and that gender equality improves most where laws are interpreted broadly, not narrowly focused on part-time work.
Source: Angie Collis, HR Magazine, November 2008
Many employers are trying to help their employees ease the pain at the pump. Allowing employee to work four 10-hour days each week instead of a typical eight-hour, five-day schedule represents one option.
From the press release:
A new report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, charts what governments in high income countries are doing to speed up the pace of workplace change.
The report, Statutory Routes to Workplace Flexibility in Cross-National Perspective, is based on a review of statutory employment rights in 21 high-income countries, including the United States, aimed at increasing workers’ ability to change their working hours and arrangements to balance work and family, and facilitate lifelong learning and gradual retirement. It argues that, in the context of U.S. demographic and economic changes, an explicit right to request flexible work could play an important role in preparing the U.S. economy for the future.
At the request of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps.
[NOTE: Some of these tracking services are currently out of date. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE of the item you are reviewing].
Labor & Employment
•Day Laborer Laws (statutes)
•Drugtesting in the Workplace
•State Divestment Legislation
•Equal Pay (statutes and legislation)
•Family/Medical Leave Laws (statutes)
•Living Wage (legislation)
•Medical Donar Leave Laws (statutes)
•Minimum Wage Laws (legislation and chart)
•Minors – Employment Laws (statutes)
•Non-compete Agreements (statutes)
•Overtime Laws (statutes)
•Sick Leave Laws (statutes)
•Telecommuting (statutes and legislation)
•Workforce Development (legislation and resources)
Source: McLean Robbins, Employee Benefit News, June 15, 2008
Experts have debated at length the cost/benefit analysis of telework from productivity, security, and work-life standpoints, but one thing is for certain. Rising energy costs and the trickling economy have lead to a nationwide cash crunch. New data suggests that telework can contribute strongly to reducing pollution, energy consumption and overhead costs for companies.
Nearly 40% of all employees are eligible for telework, but a mere 15% actually do, according to the CDW 2008 Telework Report. Other reports suggest that as little as 4% of the nation’s workforce works from home.
The upcoming book “Undress4Success: The Naked Truth about Working from Home” estimates that, if telework increased to its full potential, Gulf oil imports could be reduced as much as 80%. This equates to $43 billion dollars at the gas pump, 625 million barrels of oil and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 107 million tons, authors Kate Lister and Tom Harnish estimate.
Undress4Success – blog
From the abstract:
The U.S. economy, workplace, workforce, and labor market have changed radically in the last 50 years, yet our public and private policies have not kept up with these changes. In recent years, policymakers have begun considering new options for allowing workers to meet the often-conflicting demands of work and other life obligations. These proposals include a variety of options for time off from work–both paid and unpaid–and more flexibility in the workplace. In this report, we review the evidence regarding work-life conflicts, the economic case for policy initiatives, and evidence of effectiveness of the policy options. We provide a clear explanation of these policy options and make recommendations for decision-makers.
First conducted in 1998, the 2008 NSE is the most comprehensive and far-reaching study of initiatives provided by U.S. employers to address the changing needs of today’s workforce. Designed by Families and Work Institute and conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc., the NSE interviewed 1,100 employers with 50 or more employees located throughout the United States and provides trend data on changes that have occurred over the past 10 years. The study addresses questions such as:
• What is the prevalence of programs, policies, and benefits that address the needs of the changing workforce, including workplace flexibility, caregiving leaves, child and elder care assistance, and health care/economic security benefits?
• Are smaller or larger employers more likely to provide these programs, policies, and benefits?
• Have these initiatives increased or decreased in the past ten years?
• Which employers provider higher levels of support to their employees?
Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management
From news release:
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)…announced the launch of an enhanced interagency telework website, www.telework.gov. The updated site features a series of user-friendly improvements designed to make telework information more accessible and understandable to Federal employees…and was developed in partnership with the General Services Administration (GSA), OPM’s telework.gov partner. Users can read and download recent telework guidance and legislation, reports, and studies. A search database allows users to input telework-related questions, and if answers are not found onsite the questions can be routed to experts who will respond via email. The site offers telework guidance and direction to employees and managers, as well as telework coordinators…Additional features of the updated site include quick links to key pages, online telework training, and easy access to telework-related policies such as reasonable accommodation and emergency closure. Finally, the site displays a green color scheme throughout, chosen to reflect the environmentally friendly aspects of telework. Telework in the Federal Government has increased significantly since 2001, 110,000 employees currently telework according to OPM’s latest report to Congress. The report also found that while overall telework numbers were down slightly from 2005, a majority of agencies increased telework over the previous year, and that 42% fully integrated telework into their emergency planning.
Escaping the Office to Work Remotely is a Trend-in-the-Making, Says Citrix Study
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. » 12/18/2007 » Some 62% of American workers will ring in the New Year as Web commuter wannabes – best described as those of us who wish we had the freedom to work when and where we want with a little help from Internet technology – reports a new study, “Web Commuting & the American Workforce” from Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems, Inc. Easy-to-use online services like GoToMyPC are allowing workers whose jobs require a PC to have full use of their office computer without being at the office. These remote workers, called “telecommuters” in the 1980s and 90s, are today more apt to be “Web commuters” because of their reliance on the Internet.