Feds to Receive Administrative Leave for Vaccinations
New guidance from the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force simplifies the process for federal employees to receive leave to get themselves or family members vaccinated.
Federal agencies must grant at least half a day of leave to federal employees who get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to new guidance from the White House Safer Federal Workforce Task Force.
Moving forward, agencies “must” grant employees with at least four hours of administrative leave so that they can receive a vaccine dose. In the case of an employee who receives three doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, as is currently recommended for immunocompromised individuals, he or she would receive a total of 12 hours of leave just for the purposes of getting the vaccine.
Agencies also are empowered to grant additional leave for employees in some regions, and less leave to those who require less time to get vaccinated.
“If an employee needs to spend less time getting the vaccine, only the needed amount of administrative leave should be granted,” the guidance states. “Agencies should also recognize that some employees may face extenuating circumstances warranting additional administrative leave as appropriate (e.g., they may need to travel long distances to get the vaccine). Teleworking employees should normally obtain advance approval from their supervisor before being permitted to use administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccination purposes.”
But agencies should not grant a leave credit or overtime to employees who get their vaccine during non-work hours.
Additionally, agencies must grant up to two full days of administrative leave if an employee develops symptoms or otherwise has an adverse reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, once again on a per-dose basis. If needed, additional leave may be available to federal employees through the emergency coronavirus leave program created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, although that bank of leave is limited and expires on Sept. 30.
The new policy also states that agencies must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany a family member to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
“Based on President Biden’s direction that the federal government should work aggressively to maximize the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, the administration has determined that, going forward, agencies must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany a family member who is receiving any dose of a COVID-19 vaccination,” the task force wrote. “Under this policy, agencies must grant leave-eligible employees up to four hours of administrative leave per dose—for example, a maximum total of 12 hours of leave for a family member receiving three doses.”
Until now, federal employees who take time off work to get themselves or a family member vaccinated had to use the temporary emergency coronavirus leave program, which agencies then would submit to the Office of Personnel Management for reimbursement.
But that program was limited to $570 million worth of leave across the federal government and is set to expire on Sept. 30. As of Tuesday, federal employees have used 7.8 million hours of emergency coronavirus leave, and $363.7 million is remaining in the fund, according to OPM.
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