Federal agencies next month may liberalize their telephone rules so that workers can legally make daily calls from office to home -- even if it is long distance -- to check on their kids, or with day care centers or their doctors.
The new telephone policy recommended by the General Services Administration takes effect next month. It also permits workers on official travel within the United States to call home once a day, at the government's expense, to check with their families.
The new telephone rules are optional; the head of each federal agency has the option to implement them or not. But the recommendation by the GSA, Uncle Sam's housekeeping agency, should prompt most government offices to adopt the call-home rule, which is commonplace in private industry.
Within the next few weeks government agencies that adopt the policy will distribute to employes a wallet-sized Personal Calls Card. It lists the telephone rules. The card advises employes to first check with their supervisor to see if the agency has approved the new telephone policy.
If so, the employe can:Call home, a doctor or a child's day care center or nursery briefly once a day, even if that is a long-distance call.
Call home once a day when on official travel within the United States.
Use the federal long-distance telephone system whenever possible for local and long-distance calls.
Charge calls to a home phone or call collect for necessary personal calls from work.Four-Day Countdown
Government employes have until Thursday to decide which pension program they wish to join.
For employes hired before 1984, the choice is between their current Civil Service Retirement System, or the new Federal Employees Retirement System. Congress this week made two changes in the FERS program that make it more attractive for both lower- and higher-income federal workers.
At 1 p.m. tomorrow on WNTR radio (1050 AM) pension expert Joe Richardson will talk about the brand-new changes in the FERS pension system, the deadline facing federal workers and give advice to callers looking for the best deal.
That's the subject of a series of reports that will run at 7:40 a.m. and 6:27 p.m. Monday through Friday on WTOP radio (1500 AM) during the holiday season. Capitol Hill reporter Dave McConnell will talk about the toll the busy congressional schedule takes on members and staff members, and preview what's facing the next Congress.
The Federal Services Impasses Panel is in desperate need of a Grade 4 clerk-typist. Call Roz Peete at 382-0759 on Monday.
Pay, Pension Report
Most federal white-collar workers will be getting a 2 percent raise next month. The White House-Congress budget agreement also authorizes a 4.2 percent January raise for federal, postal and military retirees, as well as persons under Social Security. For a full rundown of other congressional action affecting retirement and Social Security eligibility, check this space on Sunday.