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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho bill would limit remote work for state employees

By Mia Maldonado Idaho Capital Sun

Most Idaho state employees could soon be required to return to the office under a new bill making its way through the Statehouse.

In the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting on Wednesday, Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon, presented Senate Bill 1261, a bill that would require state agencies, departments and offices to allow a maximum of 15% of its staff to work remotely on any given day.

The bill would require state employees who want to be considered for telework to enter into an agreement with their employer. The agreement would be reviewed at least once a year, and it would require approval of a worker’s remote work location specified by their address. Public locations would not qualify as a telework location, according to the legislation.

If the agreement is breached by an employee, then they would lose their opportunity to telework for three years.

Field employees, or those whose daily responsibilities are conducted outside of an office, would be exempt from the policy. According to the bill, field employees include but are not limited to employees with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, wardens, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare social workers, and attorneys working with clients.

“Senate Bill 1261 recognizes the practical application for some telework – putting in reasonable parameters or sideboards to keep that balance, providing some flexibility in the workplace, and also continuing to deliver a high level of service to our constituents and taxpayers who look to their government for a variety of services,” Guthrie said.

The bill is headed to the Senate floor for consideration.