PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — From roads, to public health to unemployment, we all rely on the state for a variety of things we need. Now that more than 300 state employees have called it quits, what does that mean for us?
“Sounds like a big deal until you place it into context that there are about 95,000 full-time workers in Virginia state government so we’re talking about a third of one percent of workers,” said Old Dominion University Economics Professor Robert McNab.
McNab believes the governor’s telework policy may have pushed the immuno-compromised and those with childcare issues.
As for the rest he said, “Right now, I suspect many workers are saying, ‘I could make much more elsewhere and the telework policy is just that little nudge out the door’.”
McNab said services could be affected short-term.
10 On Your Side has reported that 183 VDOT employees quit recently, 28 cited telework as a reason. Since May, 78 have left the Virginia Department of Health and 37 quit the Virginia Employment Commission.
We reached out to each of these departments to find out how road work, unemployment checks, or any health services might be affected.
“VDH strives to protect the health and promote well-being of all people in Virginia and anticipates no gaps in service excellence to all constituents throughout the Commonwealth,” said VDH Director of Communications Maria Reppas.
A VDOT spokesperson told 10 On Your Side the staff departures VDOT has experienced as a result of the new telework policy have not been concentrated in any particular area or part of the state.
“Additionally, the staff departures have not impacted motorist safety or the delivery of projects,” said the spokesperson.
10 On Your Side is still waiting to hear from the VEC. Meantime, McNab believes any disruptions would be short-lived as the market should adjust itself.
“In the next two or three months, we’ll look back at it and realize it really wasn’t that big of a deal.”
The governor’s office, in a response to our request for comment, wanted to emphasize not all 300 are leaving due to telework and that of those employees who remain eligible for telework in state jobs, 46%, less than half, chose that option.