(The Center Square) – Most of Virginia’s public employees who have been working remotely will need to return to their offices for in-person work after Gov. Glenn Youngkin rolled back the state’s telework policy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, former Gov. Ralph Northam loosened the requirements for in-person work and allowed employees to work from home. However, on July 5, state workers will need to return to their on-site full time jobs, unless they have a legitimate exemption and are approved for the Standard Teleworking Agreement.
“After listening to the needs of Virginians, discussing solutions with agency heads across government, and closely monitoring the pandemic, we are excited to welcome our employees in-person this summer,” Youngkin said in a statement.
“We know that creative, innovative, and effective solutions for all Virginians occur with regular, in-person interaction by our incredible workforce here in the Commonwealth,” the governor continued. “Embarking on a new path that values innovation and teamwork, we are updating Virginia’s telework policy for the first time in more than a decade. Since day one, my commitment to have a best-in-class government serving all Virginians has been clear, these updates balance the demands of government services with the needs of our public servants.”
Agency heads will need to review and replace all existing telework agreements with the state’s new standard agreement. The directive tells agencies to determine positions in which telework is appropriate, but recognize that telework is not a suitable alternative for certain positions. The new agreements will also reflect specific days in which on-site work is necessary for delivering services and team collaboration.
The agencies will be required to ensure that all legal requirements are met for people with unique workplace considerations.
Youngkin is encouraging workers to return to their offices before July 5, but will not require them to return early. Applications for a telework agreement began on May 6 and are available on the Department Human Resource Management website. The recommended deadline for agreement requests is May 20 and the deadline for agencies to review the agreements is by June 3.