President Biden sent a letter to federal employees to thank them for their service in advance of the State of the Union address scheduled for the evening of March 1, 2022.
In the letter, he thanked federal employees for their “dedication” and “tireless work” and said that as a result of the efforts of the federal workforce, “America is on the move again.”
The letter adds, however, that the administration’s work is “not finished, and deep challenges remain.”
Of note, he also said that thanks to his administration’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person work at federal agencies can be safely increased going forward. “…we can safely increase in-person work, while continuing to protect your health and safety,” Biden wrote to federal employees in the letter. This may mean that telework for some federal employees will start to wind down and/or new guidelines from the administration regarding increasing in-person work will be forthcoming.
Update: In his 2022 State of the Union speech last night, Biden clarified further that federal employees will be expected to resume in-person work in greater numbers, saying, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again. People working from home can feel safe to begin to return to the office. We’re doing that here in the federal government. The vast majority of federal workers will once again work in person.”
The statement about increasing in-person work for federal workers also coincides with new guidance just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which suggest that Americans can reduce the use of masks in areas in which COVID transmission rates are lower.
In response to the new CDC guidance, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued new guidelines for federal agencies this week which state that masks will no longer be mandatory for federal employees in counties with lower transmission rates per the new CDC guidelines.
A copy of the letter is included below.
To the Dedicated Members of the Federal Workforce:
Tonight, I will deliver my State of the Union address to the Congress and the American people. Before I do, I want to thank each of you for your dedication in service to our Nation.
Thanks to your tireless work this past year, America is on the move again. Together, we have made significant progress confronting the pandemic, fueling our economy’s historic recovery, tackling the climate crisis, advancing racial equity, and protecting our national security. While our work is not finished, and deep challenges remain, this progress would not have been possible without you.
The strength of any organization rests in its people. Your capabilities and dedication are what make the Federal Government strong and ensure we deliver the basic needs for everyday Americans. As we look to the year ahead, we must build on the innovations and technologies that we put to work serving the American people throughout the pandemic, making our government more efficient, resilient, and effective. And because of our progress combatting the pandemic, we can safely increase in-person work, while continuing to protect your health and safety. Together, we can lead by example and show our country a way forward—not only by what we do, but by how we do it.
Thank you for your service and sacrifices, and that of your family. Your talents could have taken you many places, but you chose to serve our country. I am forever grateful, and with your continued dedication and leadership, I have never been more optimistic for the future of America.