NAPE Demands to Bargain Remote Work Policies

On May 24, 2021, Governor Ricketts issued Executive Order 21-05, which ordered state code agencies to return to normal in-person operations immediately. This included directing state employees working from home to reduce workforce density due to the COVID-19 pandemic to return to offices in person.

Many agencies have recently revised their “Remote Work” policies in response to the pandemic. Some agency policies are quite flexible, while others are particularly rigid. Before a new policy can take effect, it must be shared with NAPE seven days prior to its implementation.

Under Nebraska law, the state must meet with the union to negotiate “mandatory subjects of bargaining.” The Nebraska Supreme Court has determined that a mandatory subject of bargaining is any subject that is of fundamental, basic, or essential concern to an employee’s financial or personal concern involving working conditions.

NAPE believes that the terms and conditions of accepting a remote work assignment is a mandatory subject of bargaining. NAPE sent a demand to bargain to the state’s chief negotiator on May 24, 2021. If the state agrees to bargain, our elected negotiation team will gather to negotiate the topic of remote work into our contract. If the state refuses, NAPE will not hesitate to exercise our rights to enforce the law.

In the meantime, employees who are currently working remotely and have an approved ADA accommodation, will continue to work under the terms of the approved accommodation. For those who are recalled to the office, you should report to work as directed. If you would like to work remotely, follow your agency policy to request a remote work assignment. Always make your request in writing.

If you have specific concerns or requests, e-mail your supervisor to make the request or seek clarification. If you aren’t sure what steps to take, contact NAPE. NAPE members have access to our professional staff to provide guidance and advice.