Lawmakers discuss future of working from home for state employees

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)The Interim Joint Committee on State Government heard a variety of views and issues Tuesday during a discussion on the future of state employees working from home.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of Kentucky state government employees started working remotely. More than 18 months later, many executive branch employees still remain working from home.

Committee members were briefed by Mary Elizabeth Bailey, Commissioner of Department of Human Resources Administration from the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet. Bailey shared, beginning July 6, 2021 and thereafter, employees of the executive branch will continue with the following three work options: 100 percent in the office, telecommuting on a hybrid basis, and 100 percent telecommuting from their remote work station.

The cabinet indicated 50 percent of the executive branch will be working full-time in the office, 37 percent will be telecommuting on a hybrid basis, and 13 percent will continue working on a fully remote basis.

Lawmakers asked Bailey if those working from home are allowed to opt out of paying occupational taxes in Franklin County. Bailey indicated taxes are paid based on which county the employee is working in, so the tax would be based on the home county’s rate.

Legislators from counties that border other states, particularly Tennessee, asked Bailey to clarify requirements for state employees who live out-of-state. Bailey shared that employees living out-of-state are required to work inside of Kentucky to eliminate tax issues with other states.

“As the State Representative for a district that borders Tennessee and Virginia, some employees have informed me that there is one policy if you are a resident of Kentucky and a different policy if you live out of state,” Representative Adam Bowling of Middlesboro added. “I think we need to clarify this and ensure it is as transparent and consistent as possible.”

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