National President Tony Reardon yesterday sent letters to the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management requesting that the federal government announce a delay in implementing any agency plans to return additional employees to the workplace due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the complexities of maintaining regular government operations while also protecting the health and safety of the employees who provide those services," Reardon wrote. "By far, the most successful safety protocol these last 16 months has been the federal government’s maximum telework posture, allowing tens of thousands of employees with portable work to effectively serve the American people from home.”
Reardon also applauded the efforts of the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force and suggested that a strong message from the administration pausing reentry planning would ease employee anxiety. “Delaying the return of additional employees also protects those 'essential employees' who have reported to the worksite throughout the pandemic,” Reardon added.
Agency reentry plans were due July 19. OPM has since issued updated guidance on telework, pay, travel and other considerations to help agencies plan for more federal employees returning to the office.