Hundreds of Virginia state employees have resigned in the last two months since Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a new telework policy.
The new policy pushes employees back into the office in the wake of coronavirus-related workplace closures that prompted work-from-home opportunities
Many state employees chose to resign over losing the flexibility and benefits that working from home affords.
Over 300 state employees have resigned since the policy was announced, WRIC-TV reported.
The return to office plan, initially announced on May 5, requires employees who wish to remain working from their homes to undergo an extensive approval process that includes a signature from Youngkin’s own chief of staff.
“State employees who requested to keep teleworking had to go through a three-tiered approval system. For those seeking one day a week, they had to get approval from their supervisor. Those who wanted two days a week had to get approval from their department’s cabinet secretary. For three or more days, the governor’s chief of staff had to sign off on it,” the Washington Times reported. It went into effect on July 5.
The resignations include 183 from the Virginia Department of Transportation, 28 of which specifically cited telework opportunities as their reason to leave.
The Virginia Department of Health had 78 resignations, while 37 employees resigned from the Virginia Employment Commission, seven resigned from Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development and six resigned from Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management, per the report.
While over 21,000 state employees are eligible for telework, WRIC reports many state employees are not eligible to work from home, including police, corrections officers and healthcare workers.
Critics of Youngkin’s policy claim it is needlessly pushing away good workers.
“Despite our best efforts, Youngkin refused to reconsider his disastrous executive action and pressed forward, regardless of longstanding state policies for telework,” Virginia state Senator Ghazala Hashmi, a Democrat, said in a tweet shortly after the policy was implemented.
“Our Commonwealth loses talent, skills, and institutional knowledge. Virginians suffer,” she added.
Despite our best efforts, Youngkin refused to reconsider his disastrous executive action and pressed forward, regardless of longstanding state policies for telework. Our Commonwealth loses talent, skills, and institutional knowledge. Virginians suffer.https://t.co/P43568kBuC
— Ghazala Hashmi (@SenatorHashmi) July 9, 2022
Youngkin was elected to lead Richmond last year and made job growth in the state a pillar of his election campaign.