Sen. Johnson asks federal agencies about 'employee productivity' while teleworking

"It is unclear the extent to which government employees are still teleworking," Sen. Johnson said.

Updated: December 13, 2021 - 9:29pm

Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., sent letters to 17 executive branch agencies inquiring about federal employee telework nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world.

"It is unclear the extent to which government employees are still teleworking," the ranking member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations wrote last week.

He wrote letters to the secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urbana Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, State and Veterans Affairs, as well as the administrators for the Environmental Protection Agency and Small Business Administration.

Johnson's letters ask the agencies for the number of employees, with a breakdown for those who are working in the office, teleworking, or working both at home and in person.

He also wants to know the number of employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID and have received a booster. The Biden Administration instituted a vaccine mandate for all federal employees by Nov. 22, but the deadline has been pushed to next year.

"For the employees that are teleworking, how are you tracking employee productivity?" Johnson asked the government officials, while also requesting a breakdown of productivity for 2019, 2020, and 2021. 

The senator's final question was "Has your agency closed physical office space locations since March 2020 in light of increased telework among your agency’s workforce? If so, please provide the estimated cost savings associated with office closures."

Johnson requested to receive responses by Dec. 22 at the latest.

The Senate has supported teleworking measures since the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, the Senate's $2 trillion COVID stimulus allocated billions to enhance "telework capabilities."