Mayor Adams’ top adviser rolled out a strict remote work policy for city government employees on Wednesday under which they must report in-person at their offices five days a week with few exceptions.
The policy, which was relayed by City Hall chief of staff Frank Carone in a workforce-wide email, dictates that municipal office employees are “required to report to work in person for every scheduled workday.”
“Hybrid schedules of any kind are not permitted,” Carone wrote in the email, which was obtained by the Daily News.
Teleworking is only permitted in certain COVID-19-related situations, such as an employee testing positive for the virus or having to take care of an infected family member, according to the memo. In such instances, employees may only work remotely for five days before being required to return to their in-person posts.
“While hybrid schedules have become more common in the private sector, the mayor firmly believes that the city needs its workers to report to work every day in person,” Carone wrote.
Later in the day, Adams doubled down on Carone’s guidance when asked about it during an event in Manhattan.
“I’m trying to fill up office buildings, and I’m telling JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, I’m telling all of them, ‘Listen, I need your people back into office so we can build the ecosystem.’ How does that look that city employees are home while I’m telling everyone else it’s time to get back to work?” Adams told reporters. “City employees should be leading the charge of saying, ‘New York can be back.’”
The Carone email was first reported by Politico.
Adams has in recent weeks mounted a major advocacy push for private businesses in the city to order their employees back to their offices, arguing that the economy at large is hampered by telework policies popularized during the pandemic.
“When you go to lower Manhattan, with all of those city offices, if they remain empty, Duane Reade is not going to have the customer, the café is not going to have the customer,” Adams said at Wednesday’s event.
Some elected officials in the city have taken a sharply different approach to remote work.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams instructed his staff last month to work remotely full time through at least mid-June, citing the recent uptick of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations that triggered the city to upgrade its COVID risk alert level to high.
“We are calling on all other government officials to do the same where practical,” Williams said in a statement on May 20. “Taking steps to lessen the amount of people in high-risk settings now can help prevent more restrictive measures later. Government can and should set the example.”