The IRS issued a mandatory evacuation order that will require all employees who are eligible to work remotely to leave their worksites and stay home beginning Monday.
The announcement is the latest step in the agency’s response to the new coronavirus pandemic. Over the last two weeks, the agency has escalated its actions, shutting down certain facilities and suspending in-person taxpayer assistance.
- “The IRS has strongly encouraged telework-eligible employees to telework,” the agency said Friday in an email to employees obtained by Bloomberg Tax. “Now we must do more to support our social distancing efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus.”
- Beginning Monday, building access will be restricted so that employees can only enter to pick up certain work-related items—assignments, mail, and supplies.
- Employees performing functions that must continue during the emergency and can only be performed on-site will also have building access, the IRS said. Those workers will receive additional instructions from their supervisor.
- “The IRS appears to be within its legal right to issue this evacuation order, which allows the IRS to mandate telework and we understand it will be disruptive for some, but we stand ready to help frontline employees adjust and to make sure they are treated fairly in the process,” National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon said Friday in a statement responding to the IRS directive.
- Some employees may be asked to do work that diverges from their normal responsibilities, the agency said.