Deadline Comes for Agencies to Submit Their Reentry Plans
These plans, which will not be made public, will vary by agency.
Monday marks the deadline for agencies to submit their finalized return to office plans to the Office of Management and Budget. These plans, which are not intended to be public, will vary by agency.
The Biden administration’s Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, of which OMB is a part, sent an email to the President’s Management Council and agency chiefs of staff on June 1 saying agencies had to finalize their plans for “reentry and post-reentry procedures and policies by July 19.” The plans had to build off of the draft versions that needed to be submitted to OMB by June 18. They had to include phased reentry schedules and other safety measures informed by current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the task force, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and any other relevant guidance, the email said.
“As we continue to make progress in our efforts to combat the pandemic, federal agencies have developed plans regarding schedules for the safe reentry of employees and onsite contractors to physical workplaces, as well as approaches to post-reentry personnel policies and work environment,” an OMB official told Government Executive in a statement on Monday. “These plans and associated timelines vary agency by agency, based on each organization’s unique mission and organizational considerations.”
Now in accordance with June guidance from OMB, the Office of Personnel Management and General Services Administration, agencies have to complete several milestones before they can implement their reentry plans.
“Those milestones include ensuring the agency’s COVID-19 workplace safety plan is updated to reflect current CDC guidelines in coordination with the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, satisfying applicable collective-bargaining and labor-relations obligations, and providing ample notice to employees (e.g., at least 30 days, in many cases),” said the OMB official. “Implementation of agency plans may change given the evolving nature of the pandemic; agencies will be promptly notified of any such change by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.”
Agencies technically have until midnight to submit their plans. The guidance says the draft and finalized plans “are not intended for publication or release by the agency.”
Many federal employees have returned to their worksites already, so it is unclear how, if at all, they will be impacted.