RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia state employees will be expected to return to in-person work this summer unless they have been granted an exception for telework under a new policy announced by GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
“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,” Youngkin said in a news release Thursday announcing the change.
Some state employees have been reporting to their physical workspace throughout the pandemic but others were granted flexibility to work remotely. The new policy plainly says that “effective July 5, 2022, Virginia state employees will return to the physical workplace.”
The policy says some remote work may be an option for certain positions, but senior administration officials will have to sign off on those plans. An agency head must approve one day a week of telework; a cabinet secretary must approve requests of two days; and Youngkin’s chief of staff must approve requests of more than two days a week.
The state government employs about 95,000 people full time, not including faculty at public colleges and universities, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. But the new policy won’t apply to those who work for the General Assembly, court system, or independent commissions and authorities that set their own policies, according to the newspaper.
Applications for teleworking opened Friday.
The changes are one element of Youngkin’s push for a return to what he calls a pre-pandemic normalcy. Youngkin campaigned last year in part on a pledge to loosen pandemic restrictions and keep the state “open for business.”