RICARDO J.A. PITTS-WILEY, A PARTNER AT THE FEDERAL PRACTICE GROUP, PENS A COLUMN FOR GOVEXEC ON TIPS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS

Posted By smay || 23-Mar-2020

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Can’t Telework? 10 Tips for Feds Impacted by COVID-19

You may have options you’re not aware of.

CORONAVIRUS

If you are a federal employee who is not a telework program participant, it is important that you be aware of the options that may be available to you and your agency if you are impacted by COVID-19.

  1. You may be eligible for weather and safety leave for quarantine periods due to exposure to COVID-19 under the direction of local or public health authorities, even if you are asymptomatic.
  2. If you receive weather and safety leave due to exposure to COVID-19 and later become symptomatic, you should then be approved for sick leave.
  3. If you exhaust your sick leave, your supervisor can grant advanced sick leave of up to 240 hours if you are symptomatic due to exposure to COVID-19 or up to 104 hours if you must care for a family member who is symptomatic due to exposure to COVID-19.
  4. If requesting to use sick leave for three days or more due to becoming symptomatic due to exposure to COVID-19, then you may not need any medical documentation; however, you should confirm with your agency as to what constitutes administratively acceptable evidence for your absence.
  5. If you are healthy and seek to voluntarily quarantine yourself because you have been in direct contact with an individual exposed to COVID-19 (but have not been quarantined at the direction of local or public health authorities), you may request annual leave, advanced annual leave, other paid time off (e.g., earned compensatory time), or leave without pay. You may ask your agency to consider whether you have some portable duties that would allow you to telework on a situational basis.
  6. If you are healthy and seek to voluntarily quarantine yourself because you have an asymptomatic family member who has been quarantined at the direction of local or public health authorities for direct contact with an individual exposed to COVID-19, then you may request annual leave, advanced annual leave, other paid time off (e.g., earned compensatory time), or leave without pay.
  7. Your employing agency may have the authority to order you to stay away from or evacuate your regular worksite, to work at an alternative location mutually agreeable to you and the employing agency, and to perform any necessary work that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform.
  8. Your employing agency may have the authority to involuntarily place you in an excused/administrative leave status.
  9. Your employing agency may have the authority to require that you be medically evaluated at its expense.
  10. If you are required to work, then you may be eligible for hazardous duty pay.

When in doubt about what options are available to you, you should be in contact with your agency’s human resources office.

Federal Practice Group with over 10 years of experience in the areas of federal sector employment and labor law. 

Categories: Federal Employment Law, Firm News
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