The Social Security Administration announced Monday that the agencies’ managerial corps will be required to work in-person four times per two-week pay period, starting in the coming months.
A spokesperson confirmed the announcement applies only to senior executives effective Oct. 2 and managers and supervisors with a headquarters duty station on Nov. 6. The agency did not elaborate on why that decision was made.
Some 80% of SSA employees are considered non-supervisory, according to federal employment data from 2022.
Supervisory employees are generally excluded from union bargaining units, but for the rest of the workforce, eligibility for telework was preserved in the newly signed labor agreement between the American Federation of Government Employees and the agency’s 42,000 covered employees, which says nothing about how many remote workdays are permitted. Policies for other agency employees could still change.
Last March, SSA field offices returned in-office two day per weeks. Since then, union leaders have implored the agency to protect work flexibilities where possible. The agency has suffered from several years of dropping morale, underfunding, understaffing and increased workloads employees have said, arguing that the ability to telework would improve retention and allow some employees to be more productive.
“Since last year, simply put, other employers offer better pay benefits, telework and remote work options, upward mobility and support,” said AFGE Council 220 President Jessica LaPointe in a press conference in April.
But since the White House announced in May that it expects federal agencies to increase “meaningful in-person work,” many have initiated plans to repopulate offices post-pandemic.
Several more agencies, including the the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Department of Education, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Transportation, among others, have moved to increase in-office work as Congress has put increasing pressure on executive agencies to either cut back on telework or give up leases for empty office space.
Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.