New Jersey state employees would be allowed to work from home up to two days a week under a test program that was approved on Wednesday.
The New Jersey Civil Service Commission voted to establish the hybrid work pilot, which will let state departments and authorities create a telework program for their employees.
Under the program, most departments and authorities would be required to offer a telework program of no more than two days a week based on operational need. The program will last one year and apply to all except motor vehicles and the Labor Department.
“Telework will accelerate the modernization of New Jersey’s state government to reflect the evolving workplace landscape,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “Through collaboration, we can continue to build a workforce equipped to handle the demands of the modern workplace.”
The governor’s office said the program’s aim is to modernize the state’s workplace while at the same time maintaining services for residents. Additionally, the shift to telework would offer flexibility to state agencies, letting them compete with the private sector for talent and retaining those employees.
“The approval of the ‘Model Telework Pilot Program’ is a monumental step that addresses the current needs of the state workforce,” said Civil Service Commission Chair Deirdré Webster Cobb.
Not all state employees would be eligible for telework due to the nature of their jobs, such as workers at the Department of Labor & Workforce Development and the Motor Vehicle Commission, which need to meet face-to-face with residents.
Some of the other details of the program include:
- Having the authorities make available flextime schedules and/or alternate work programs for employees who are not eligible for telework when operational needs allow;
- Requiring employees to fill out an application to determine eligibility; employees and managers will be required to complete telework training as part of the approval process;
- Giving discretion to appointing authorities to consider operational needs when determining telework schedules for eligible employees; and
- Requiring each department to consult with relevant unions when developing their telework plans.
All pilot telework plans must be submitted to the CSC by June 1 and implemented by July 1.
Many experts believe a hybrid system of three-two (working in the office three days and working from home two days) will be a likely permanent outcome after the pandemic.