SACRMENTO- On Thursday, March 17, 2022, CSLEA participated in a video conference with representatives of the California Department of Insurance (CDI) regarding the impact of its return to the workplace policy. Attending on behalf of CSLEA were CSLEA Chief Counsel Kasey Clark, CSLEA Sr. Legal Counsel Jim Vitko, California Association of Criminal investigators Director James Potts and CSLEA Site Representative Devon Brown. Attending on behalf of CDI were Chief George Mueller, Division Chiefs Lewis Deslauriers and Eric Charlick, and Labor Relations Officers Jill Elwood and Ray Asbell.
CSLEA argued that CDI was being shortsighted in its approach given the new post-pandemic status quo and the policy's inconsistency with the Governor's mandate to continue to utilize remote work when possible. In a climate where it is already difficult to hire peace officers, CDI will likely be unable to compete with the Department of Justice due to the disparity in pay, and to other agencies which pay the same but are placing greater emphasis on work/life balance in offering remote work. CSLEA acknowledged that there are good reasons for requiring some office presence, i.e. training, collaboration, etc. but suggested that CDI first attempt to utilize a hybrid schedule with some percentage of work being performed remotely and some in office.
As it stands, CDI intends to implement the policy effective April 4, 2022. CDI did indicate that it would be releasing its revised telework policy soon and that it could trigger an additional opportunity for employees to explore remote work. If it does not, perhaps as a result of exit interviews indicating that detectives are leaving for other agencies offering remote work, CDI will alter its approach in the future. Clark stated "CDI cannot go back to the way things were pre-COVID. Over the past two years, employees have made adjustments in their personal lives which are not going to be undone. There is now a new post-pandemic status quo which all employers must accommodate. Otherwise, you cannot remain competitive in a highly competitive job market."