The White House wants to ensure federal workers are getting a fair shake when it comes to their work schedules and other workplace benefits.

In a June 23 memorandum, President Obama outlined several areas he wants department heads to pay more attention to, in order to foster a quality workplace and “retain a talented and productive workforce in the 21st century.”

This includes, according to the memo, letting federal workers know about their right to request flexible work schedules “without fear of retaliation” for making the request.

It also orders supervisors to respond to an employee’s request for a flexible schedule within 20 business days, or sooner if required by a particular agency’s policy.

Federal agencies also must review their procedures and policies about flexible work schedules, and amend these if necessary, within 120 days of the memo’s release.

“The Federal Government must also identify and eliminate any arbitrary or unnecessary barriers or limitations to the use of these flexibilities and develop new strategies consistent with statute and agency mission to foster a more balanced workplace,” the memo states.

Flexible work schedules can include part-time employment, alternative work schedules, break times for nursing mothers, telework, annual leave, and sick time, including the “advancement of leave for employee and family care situations.”

The memo also addresses the need for federal agencies to let their employees know about their rights regarding dependent care programs, the availability of on-site child care, child care subsidies, emergency child care, and elder care.

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