Patients wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at a mobile vaccination station on 59th Street below Central Park in New York City on Dec. 2.

Patients wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at a mobile vaccination station on 59th Street below Central Park in New York City on Dec. 2. John Minchillo / AP

OPM Reminds Agencies to Provide Feds Leave for COVID-19 Boosters

Agencies should also grant leave to federal workers who need time off to take family members to get a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Office of Personnel Management last week reminded agencies that they must provide federal workers with paid time off to receive a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a memo to agency heads, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja highlighted the fact that the Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for adults at least six months after they finished their “primary” vaccination with any of the FDA-authorized vaccines.

“Vaccines are the best tool we have in our toolbox to combat COVID-19,” Ahuja wrote. “They are safe, effective and free. The Safer Federal Workforce Taskforce continues to provide guidance to promote vaccinations to ensure the safety of the federal workforce and those we serve . . . To support the administration’s vaccination efforts, the Office of Personnel Management would like to remind agency human resources offices and the federal workforce of the leave policies associated with getting the booster shot.”

Agencies must grant federal employees up to four hours of administrative leave to receive a vaccine booster shot, which is designed to cover “the time it takes to travel to the vaccination site, receive the vaccination dose, and return to work.” But since President Biden’s mandate that federal employees receive the vaccine does not cover booster shots, employees cannot be granted duty time for booster shots.

If an employee takes less than four hours to receive their booster shot, they should be granted only that amount of time in administrative leave, and employees cannot receive leave or overtime if they get their booster shot outside of their normal work hours.

Additionally, agencies must provide leave in cases where an employee accompanies a family member receiving their booster vaccine dose.

“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 their family members who are receiving any dose of a COVID-19 vaccination,” Ahuja wrote. “Under this policy, agencies must grant leave-eligible employees up to four hours of administrative leave per dose—for example, up to a total of 12 hours of leave for a family member receiving three doses—for each family member the employee accompanies."

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