JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Mike Parson is directing all state workers to return to in-person work by Monday, May 17, which is causing a concern for some state employees.

All state buildings are to be open and available to the public during normal business hours.

Many of Missouri's government and state buildings have had employees work on a remote basis, Parson's office said in a news release. Parson's directive requests all state employees go back to work in-person in their state offices. 

One state employee asked to remain anonymous out of fear of losing their job. They said it's not returning to work that is making people upset.

"The concern is not so much returning to work, the concern is more so that across many departments, there has been an assumption of hybrid work scheduling and remote work moving forward," the state employee said.

The employee said that there had been a preliminary plan in place to allow workers to work completely from home or on a hybrid schedule for the foreseeable future. They said Wednesday's announcement was frustrating.

"For this announcement to come abruptly, with no communication about this change comes across as the rug pulled from what we were being told moving forward," the employee said.

Another state worker, who also asked to remain anonymous, said childcare is their biggest concern.

"Right now, every (childcare) place is full, because of the timing, with it being so close to the summer. And I don't think that many people were expecting that we were going to be asked to come back in the middle of May," the state employee said.

The employee said they have been more efficient working from home, and that their department has been commended for their efforts during the past 14 months.

"I feel like it's made me more productive... Our department heads, they have done nothing but praise our division for being very effective and working from home," they said.

COVID-19 testing and guidelines will remain in place for employees returning back to work. The governor also is encouraging every state worker to get vaccinated, as the vaccine is available to all state employees. 

Gov. Parson explained in the emailed release state employees are encouraged to practice COVID-19 preventative measures despite there being no statewide mandates. 

"With COVID-19 vaccines now readily available across the state and virus activity at its lowest levels since early days of the pandemic, we are confident we can return to pre-COVID-19 work settings and schedules," Parson said. 

State workers can use vaccinefinder.org to find available vaccines in their area.