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This page provides information on local government telecommuting, telework, and remote work policies in Washington State, including out-of-state remote work and links to regulations, examples and recommended resources.

For information regarding implementation of telecommuting programs in response to the COVID-19 emergency, see our FAQ: What are the best practices for implementing a telecommuting program? Below are examples of policies, including temporary telecommuting agreements.


Telecommuting, teleworking, and remote work programs allow employees to work from home (or at a neighborhood telework office) rather than commuting daily to a more distant work site. Telecommuting has experienced significant growth in recent years as technology has progressed, and many agencies are re-thinking their teleworking policies following their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic that required many employees to work from home for an extended period of time.

Reasons for telecommuting's popularity include: increased production, more flexibility in the workplace, decreased sick leave, decreased turnover, reduced office space needs, the ability to attract or retain talented employees outside of the normal commute radius, and less pollution and traffic congestion from people driving to work.

Many telecommuters work part-time in the office and part-time at home, but some may work mostly or entirely remotely. Though telecommuting also comes with challenges and is not for everyone, local governments and other organizations can create telecommuting programs that increase productivity, flexibility, and improve the bottom line.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law in December 2010. Federal agencies are the primary focus of the legislation, although the act may be an example for local action. The act requires covered federal agencies to develop a formal telework policy, and teleworkers must be given equal treatment in performance appraisals, work environments, and other areas.

Out-of-State Remote Work

Local governments that are considering allowing employees to work remotely from other states will need to carefully weigh many factors, including (but not limited to):

  • Income taxes and withholding (Washington does not have an income tax, but most states and even some local jurisdictions across the U.S. do have income taxes)
  • Employer filing requirements and other payroll taxes
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Leave laws, including any paid family or medical leave programs
  • Wage and hour laws, including minimum wages and sick leave requirements
  • Employee eligibility for medical and other benefit programs
  • Whether and how often the employee is required to return to Washington, and who pays for the travel costs

Many of these considerations will vary from state to state, and local jurisdictions such as cities or counties may have additional requirements.

For a good overview of these issues, with a particular focus on employment requirements in neighboring Idaho and Oregon, see the state Office of Financial Management’s page on Out-of-State Remote Work Guidance and Resources. While this guidance is focused on state employees, most of the information will still be relevant to local government employers.

Examples of Policies

Below are examples of telecommuting policies and documents adopted by local governments in Washington State. Some of the policies are general in nature, while others address temporary telecommuting due to unique situations such as public health emergencies.

General Telecommuting Policies



Temporary Telecommuting

The forms, agreements, and resources below were all developed to allow temporary telecommuting during the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Recommended Resources

Below are some resources to help organizations develop or implement their telecommuting policies.

Last Modified: March 02, 2023