The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today it will bring employees into the office more regularly this fall, setting a new minimum requirement for in-person work.
In an email sent to VA staff today, VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the agency will require employees on telework agreements in the National Capital Region to report for a minimum of five days in the office each pay period.
McDonough said VA will implement this change in the fall, with a specific date to come within the next several weeks.
“This change will allow us to spend more time in the office together, learning from one another and strengthening our culture while preserving flexibility, something on which VA has always led – and will continue to lead,” McDonough said.
“I understand this change will be difficult, as the change to telework was very difficult in 2020,” McDonough added. “Working together we will again lead the Federal workforce as we address this new challenge.”
The secretary said this change does not apply to employees outside of the National Capital Region, but the VA will continue to evaluate its workplace posture in all locations.
McDonough also noted that the VA will provide additional guidance and information to supervisors “in the coming days.”
This change comes after President Biden officially ended the COVID-19 public health emergency earlier this month.
It also comes after the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asked Federal agencies last month to increase the amount of in-person work at Federal offices, while also balancing telework as an important retention tool.
OMB said that the expectation is for agencies to “substantially increase meaningful in-person work,” specifically at headquarters and equivalent offices, “while still using flexible operational policies as an important tool in talent recruitment and retention.”