Senator Collins Questions Secretary of the Treasury on Lack of IRS Employees Returning to Workplace Full-Time

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Washington, D.C. – At a hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, questioned Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen on the lack of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees returning to the workplace full-time.  As of May 5th, the IRS expects its employees to return to the office for half of all their workdays. 

The IRS is one of the federal agencies that Mainers most frequently reach out to Senator Collins’ six constituent service centers to seek assistance and share their issues with the agency.

Below is a transcript of their exchange.

Senator Collins said:

I've looked at the latest data from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the Inspector General found that IRS employees telework 22% of the time, worked in person 38% of the time, and engaged in some sort of hybrid work 40% of the time on average during the first quarter of the fiscal year.

So I'm trying to reconcile the data that's reported by the Inspector General to the IRS’ goal of having its employees work half of their work days in the office.  It seems to me that the Inspector General found that they are not working half of their work days in the office.

Secretary Yellen responded:

You know, some of the employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, they're members of the union, and to enforce those rules requires an agreement with the union.

Senator Collins continued:

Let me just ask you one final question.  And let me suggest that I think those contracts need to be renegotiated with the taxpayers interests in mind.

Secretary Yellen replied: