Nicola Sturgeon will not return to the Scottish Parliament in person this week and will instead work remotely.
The former first minister’s spokesperson said she wanted the focus to be on Humza Yousaf setting out the priorities of his government.
They insisted the ex-SNP leader had always planned to work virtually this week.
The spokesperson said: “In order to ensure the focus of this week is on the new First Minister setting out his priorities for the people of Scotland, Ms Sturgeon has always intended to participate remotely and intends to return to Holyrood in the near future.”
It comes just a day after a leaked video showed Sturgeon warning senior members of the SNP of raising concerns about the party’s finances.
In the footage, Sturgeon tells the party’s ruling body to be “very careful” raising any issues, suggesting it could impact donations.
That led to calls from the Scottish Conservatives for Humza Yousaf to suspend his predecessor.
On Monday, chairman Craig Hoy said Sturgeon’s decision to work remotely “won’t cut it”.
He said: “If the SNP think they can pretend that all’s well here, they’re mistaken.
“The former First Minister’s absence from Holyrood won’t cut it – especially with big questions about the SNP’s murky finances remaining unanswered.”
Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Try as she might to avoid the spotlight, it’s clear that the former first minister is at the heart of the chaos engulfing the SNP.
“The failures and secrecy of the Sturgeon era are overshadowing Humza Yousaf.
“Nicola Sturgeon has a responsibility to represent her constituents in parliament regardless of the scrutiny she is under.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP accused Sturgeon of acting like a “part-time MSP”.
He said: “This simply isn’t good enough. Right now, we can’t focus on the priorities because of the silence and secrecy from the SNP high command.
“The nationalist psychodrama is undermining the credibility of the current government day after day.
“Nicola Sturgeon also represents a constituency that is arguably one of the hardest hit by the cost of living crisis – her constituents should be able to expect more than a part-time MSP.
“The former First Minister needs to face up to scrutiny so that we have a clear run at combating the cost of living crisis, the NHS emergency and bridging a poverty gap that the SNP have left to stagnate during their time in office.”