Editor’s note: The original story said employees in management positions would be required to work in the office starting Monday. In fact, the rule only applies to people in executive positions, including directors, deputy directors, and assistant directors. The story has been changed to reflect that distinction.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — City of Austin employees in executive positions will return to in-person work Monday, following a memo from City Manager Jesús Garza asking employees to return to work later in the year.

An Austin city spokesperson said most of the city’s directors, deputy directors, and assistant directors have already returned to work in-person for a majority of the week, and do not expect Monday to be a major transition for workers.

But other non-executive staff who have been working from home are criticizing the move, and have protested the memo outside of city hall. Carol Guthrie, the business manager for AFSCME Local 1624, the union representing both Travis county and Austin workers, said she is working with the city manager to find a more data-driven policy.

“Our hope is that we will be able to collaborate with the city manager and his office and come up with a win-win situation for all of us,” Guthrie said.

Data-driven policy

Guthrie said employees are against the policy because of long commutes in Austin traffic and they say they are more productive at their job doing telework.

The union requested data from the city that would show how many people are working remote and how often a week they are doing it. Guthrie thinks not every city employee should be working in-person.

When asked what a win-win situation would look like, Guthrie explained it would be “to have a data driven policy. To have a policy that fits all, those that telework and those that don’t. Those who can telework more can have a process that will allow them to telework more.”

What happens next?

The city manager memo said all non-management staff will have to start working in-person at least three days per week starting in October. Guthrie thinks the city and the union will be able to reach an agreement before then.

A spokesperson for the city of Austin said, “The City’s Human Resources Department has been working on developing the teleworking policy and a memo expected this week will provide more information on that process.”