Republican Senator: Oregon Shouldn’t Pay Remote Workers’ Travel Expenses!

The Oregon Lottery is reportedly covering the travel costs for two top managers who have moved to Sun Belt states, according to a story WW published this week. This drew a strong response from Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend).

According to the report, the agency has paid for the two managers’ travel costs back to Salem for meetings in addition to avoiding Oregon income taxes, for a total cost of nearly $2,000 for each manager thus far in 2022.

In a statement, Knopp noted that thousands of public employees who drive or ride public transportation to work are being treated profoundly unfairly.

He continued, “I will present legislation in 2023 to put an end to this wasteful behavior. “It is the employees’ prerogative to reside elsewhere if they so choose. That does not imply that the cost of the aircraft ticket should go to the taxpayers.

According to state officials, 500 employees have so far benefited from a new state policy that was implemented last year and permits workers to keep their jobs while permanently migrating elsewhere. (According to the Oregon Department of Revenue, employees who move permanently to another state only owe Oregon taxes on the days they actually work there)

The lottery’s choice to pay the travel expenses of employees who have decided to live in other states is the only issue that Knopp has with remote employment.

Republican Senator Oregon Shouldn't Pay Remote Workers' Travel Expenses
Republican Senator Oregon Shouldn’t Pay Remote Workers’ Travel Expenses

“Employees who operate under the full-time remote work model must be reimbursed by the agency for travel to and from the central office,” the state policy states.

On a case-by-case basis, employees are permitted to relocate outside of the state with the manager’s consent. According to the Department of Administrative Services, 421 employees and 69 managers have already relocated. The Department of Human Services (175), the Oregon Health Authority (89), and the Oregon Department of Transportation are the top three organizations for out-of-state employment (60).

The pandemic, according to Liz Merah, a spokesperson for Governor Kate Brown, caused the state to reevaluate how the staff is organized.

The state administration has advanced to the point where Merah claims remote and hybrid work is welcomed when practical. As a result, we are now better able to meet the demands of the modern workforce and are more competitive with employers in the private sector.

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