RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Eight Democratic Virginia lawmakers are calling on Gov. Glenn Youngkin to reverse a new telework policy requiring all state employees to work in-person full-time by July 5 unless they are granted an exception.
Several state government employees have been permitted to work remotely since 2020, but Gov. Youngkin announced he was imposing a new policy that would bring them back to the office full-time starting July 5.
Virginia employees were given a May 20 deadline to get permission to work from home, but the approval process depends on the length of the request.
The eight Democratic state lawmakers sent a letter to Youngkin on May 18 saying they were writing on behalf of their constituents who work for the state and have shared their “serious concerns” with the new policy.
“A top-down and universally-applied telework policy does not address the varying differences that exist among position requirements and agency needs,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers — two state senators and six delegates — urged Youngkin to allow state agency heads to work with their employees on the return to their pre-pandemic work schedules after the Labor Day holiday and create an interagency work group to examine the current policy and share recommended changes.
“We have established the new teleworking policy with flexibility to allow for an employee and their supervisor to discuss telework options and what’s appropriate for their role and the organization,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter wrote in an email. “The legislators’ concerns were addressed in the policy and its implementation.”
According to the policy, new telework agreements will be approved by either the agency head, cabinet secretary or the governor’s chief of staff depending on how long the employee is requesting to work from home. The approval process is as follows:
Approval from the agency head:
▪ Where one day a week is requested as a telework day;
▪ Temporary telework, no more than two weeks, for temporary. circumstances such as family illness, school closing, weather advisories, etc.
Approval from the Cabinet Secretary:
▪ Where two days a week are requested as telework days
Approval from the governor’s Chief of Staff:
▪ Where more than two days a week are requested as telework days.
Nearby areas have already returned to in-person work. State workers in Washington, D.C., and Maryland returned to in-person work last summer.