The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees federal health programs, said they will begin shifting employees in the U.S. Capitol region back to the office.
Employees living in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., commuting area will be switched from remote to telework designations starting in the fall.
CMS has a telework agreement of eight days per pay period that it negotiated with the American Federation of Government Employees’ largest local unit. Roughly a quarter of the CMS workforce is considered telework eligible.
The announcement came as a shock to employees. The union has filed two unfair labor practice complaints in response to the agency’s plan, saying they expect the agency to negotiate changes before rolling them out.
The workers say it’s not clear what the reasoning is for the reclassification of remote positions, considering the agency approved this type of work during the pandemic.
There are roughly 90,000 HHS employees working nationwide, about 6,400 of which work for CMS, which is based in Maryland.