Gov. Tina Kotek on Monday announced that travel reimbursement for Oregon government employees who work remotely is coming to an end. The decision comes as a bill to end the reimbursement for out-of-state worker travel has already passed unanimously in the state senate.
Kotek’s office said that the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, at the governor’s direction, announced plans to end the reimbursement standards for remote work that were established during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The policy goes into effect Sept. 1. While it does not end the practice of remote work, it means those workers will no longer be paid back by the state for travel to the office.
RELATED: Knopp: All Oregon senators back bill to end out-of-state travel reimbursement
“We must ensure that state resources are used effectively to serve Oregonians and that our policies reflect the evolving needs of our workforce and the public,” Chief Operating Officer and interim Director of the Department of Administrative Services Berri Leslie said in a statement.
The Oregon Senate unanimously approved a bill on March 1 to end the reimbursement of travel expenses for state employees living outside of Oregon has unanimously passed the state Senate. The measure was moved to the House, but hasn’t made it out of committee.
Senate Bill 853 was introduced by Senate Minority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend.
The legislation came in response to a news report last year in the Willamette Week. That August 17, 2022 report found a Department of Administrative Services policy allowed state employees to work remotely in other states and have their travel reimbursed by taxpayers. You can read the full policy here.
The article highlighted the cases of two high-level Oregon Lottery officials who both left the state in 2021 for Texas and Florida. Neither state has an individual income tax.
The report says each made just under $200,000 in salary. Travel costs for both in 2022, combined, were were just over $4,000.