United Public Employees.
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Meet and Confer Update

DCFAS Telework Policy - 005/008

June 30, 2021

     The Department’s responses during our meetings make it clear they are not prioritizing securing long-term telework for our members.  PE does not believe any workers other than those previously on telework will be allowed to continue telework after the July 12, 2021 return date. Each time UPE meets with the Department, they develop new reasons why assessing and approving telework will take more time.  This time the Department stated they did not plan to implement the new telework policy until September 1, 2021. Meaning, additional telework is not likely to be approved until the fall of 2021.      

     Following previous meetings with the Department, UPE believed the Department was in the process of assessing all their units (Social Worker and Clerical) to determine whether their duties are suitable to telework.  At our meeting on 6/30/21, the Department stated it needed to implement the policy fully before they could begin assessing.  UPE pointed out this was not true.  The policy deals with an individual’s suitability for telework and not whether or not the duties they perform are suitable for telework.  The Department can and should be making these assessments already, but unfortunately, they are not.  As UPE pushed the Department on this point, they admitted they could assess units before implementing the policy.   

     However, the Department then cited a need to focus on returning workers to the office and dealing with returning to pre-pandemic workloads as reasons they cannot begin assessments right away.

     Our workers have demonstrated for over a year that they are capable of performing their jobs from home, yet the Department insists they have to assess everyone again.  Moreover, the Department knew for months that the Governor intended to lift pandemic restrictions.  There is no reason why the Department could not have begun a reassessment before now.

     If the Department had prioritized telework, they would not have to spend so much time worrying about workers returning to the office because they would still be teleworking.  Finally, as UPE challenged the Department on its failure to prioritize telework, the Department threatened to delay implementing any telework until January 2022.  UPE immediately called out this outrageous and unacceptable tactic by the Department; they quickly retreated from the suggestion.   

     UPE and DCFAS will continue to discuss the telework issues monthly, as UPE holds the Department accountable to assess and authorize new telework.   UPE will provide regular updates to our members. 

     Thank you to our members, Paula Brown, Sarah Singleton, Kristina West, Eric Booker, Deanna Green, Jabari Sekou, Yesenia Limon, and Amber Wood, for their strong advocacy and participation over the last several weeks.

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