USDA to Change Telework Policy to Allow Remote Options

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering changes to its pre-pandemic telework policy, including a broader array of new remote work policies, remote duty stations and other flexible schedule options.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced to employees last week that a new telework and remote work policy will be created.

Vilsack has asked his staff to begin replacing the department’s 2018 policy, which limited employees to one day of telework a week, with something more in line with the program he started back in 2014 during his time as USDA secretary in the Obama administration. Under the previous 2014 policy, USDA employees could telework up to four days a week.

Former USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, who served in the Trump administration, changed the department’s telework policy back in 2018.

The experiences of 2020 has caused some U.S. agencies to explore the future of telework once the pandemic ends. Some agencies see full-time, permanent telework arrangements to hire top talent from anywhere in the country without requiring them to move within commuting distance of the office.