New Jersey will test a telework program for state workers starting this Summer.
The New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC) voted to approve a pilot program April 6 empowering New Jersey departments and authorities to establish a telework program for employees. This commission touted the pilot program as a “bold step” toward modernizing the state’s workplace landscape while maintaining core services and ensuring responsiveness to the needs of constituents.
“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 and Chief Executive Officer, Deirdré Webster Cobb Esq in a press statement. “During the height of the pandemic, we witnessed state employees successfully continue to deliver critical state and public services while teleworking.”
One Year Test
Webster Cobb added, “As we witness changes around the world in the landscape of how we work, it is important for us to adapt in order to attract and retain qualified state workers.”
The pilot program will last one year and apply to all state departments and authorities, with an implementation deadline of July 1.
The pilot telework program establishes general parameters for all state departments and authorities to follow when developing their department-specific telework policies.
- All departments and authorities will be required to offer a telework program of no more than two working days per week based on operational need;
- Appointing authorities should make available flextime schedules and/or alternate work programs for employees who are not eligible for telework when operational needs allow;
- Employees will be required to engage in an application process to determine eligibility. Both employees and managers will be required to complete telework training as part of the approval process;
- Discretion will be given to appointing authorities to consider operational needs when determining telework schedules for eligible employees; and
- Each department will be required to consult with relevant unions when developing their telework plans.
Modernizing State Workplace
Supporters say the shift to telework will offer more workplace flexibility, allowing state agencies to compete with the private sector by broadening strategies and incentives for talent recruitment and retention.
“Telework will accelerate the modernization of New Jersey’s state government to reflect the evolving workplace landscape,” said Murphy. “Our union partners have been integral to the creation of this telework pilot program. Through collaboration, we can continue to build a workforce equipped to handle the demands of the modern workplace.”
The union partners giving a thumbs up by include the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the political powerful union of 40,000 state workers.
“This is a significant step forward and demonstrates the progressive leadership of this administration to carve new paths for fairer and stronger public services,” said CWA New Jersey State Director Fran Ehret. “We look forward to working with the Governor and his cabinet in implementing this program in a manner that is equitable and ensures that the highest quality services continue to be delivered to the public.”
Not all employees will be eligible for telework due to the nature of their jobs. For example, Department of Labor & Workforce Development and Motor Vehicle Commission employees whose primary job responsibilities involve in-person services will not be offered the work-from-home option.
All pilot telework plans must be submitted to CSC by June 1st and implemented by July 1st.