|Wittman Introduces Telework Legislation, Marks Telework Week|
Washington, DC – On the occasion of national Telework Week, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1) introduced the Telework Tax Incentive Act (H.R. 710), which provides eligible taxpayers with an annual tax credit for qualified teleworking expenses paid or incurred by the taxpayer that year, up to $1,000. Telework Week, recognized February 14-18, 2011, is a nationwide effort to encourage agencies, organizations, and individuals to telework.
“The telework tax credit aims to break down financial barriers to telework, increase worker productivity, provide for continuity of operations, and reduce traffic congestion through incentivizing a flexible work environment,” Wittman said. “Tax breaks in the current economic climate are critical for individuals and families, as we work for solutions to alleviate economic burdens and get the economy going again. In addition, a tax credit can be a motivator for individuals considering telework as an option to avoid a long commute and reduce overall traffic congestion.”
Wittman originally introduced the legislation in 2009 following meetings with commuters at slug lines and rail stations in the First Congressional District. Under the legislation as introduced, those who perform services for an employer under a teleworking arrangement where the employee works at least 75 days per year would be eligible to receive the tax credit. The tax credit would be given for expenses such as furnishings and electronic information equipment which folks need in order to telework. A study by the National Science Foundation found that teleworking increased productivity by 87% and the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 73% of teleworkers felt they accomplished more work on telework days than when they were in the office.
Wittman continued, “As we all know, traffic remains an issue both in Northern Virginia and across Hampton Roads. The recent ‘thundersnow’ storm, during which many Virginians experienced hours of delay in their commute times, illustrates the need for flexibility in the workplace, and especially the ability to work from the comfort and safety of one’s home. In addition, it can provide an element of operational continuity during a regional or national emergency or other weather event. Telework is by no means the only solution to these issues, but provides an element of flexibility when it’s needed most.”
Wittman recently talked with The Teleworker, discussing the benefits of telework for his constituency. He also supported legislation in the 111th Congress, now law, to advance the use of telework by Federal agencies, ensuring each agency implements a telework policy, determines employee eligibility to telework, and informs employees about their eligibility.
Wittman is scheduled Friday to visit the Fredericksburg telework center and observe an individual teleworker in his home. Wittman’s staff also participated in Telework Week.