Washington D.C. – The Office of Personnel Management should approve an emergency leave transfer program so federal employees can help their coworkers who are struggling during the pandemic, NTEU President Tony Reardon said.
Reardon initially asked OPM for the authorization in July but did not receive a response. Reardon sent a second request this week.
“As I pointed out in my earlier letter flexible schedules are not enough for employees who must meet the competing demands of their jobs and parenting when so many schools and childcare centers remain closed,” Reardon wrote to OPM Acting Director Michael Rigas.
Emergency leave transfer programs allow federal employees to donate annual leave to coworkers in the event of a major disaster or national emergency. The president declared COVID-19 a national emergency in March. Emergency leave transfer programs have been authorized by the federal government following other national emergencies, such as Hurricanes Dorian, Florence and Michael.
“The current pandemic is no less an emergency than these, but longer lasting and on a national scale,” Reardon wrote.
Federal employees with little or no accrued leave are having to manage additional child care or dependent care responsibilities and would benefit from the donations by coworkers who have excess leave.
“I have witnessed, time and again, the generosity of federal employees in the wake of natural disasters and emergencies,” Reardon said. “All they need is the administration to provide them with the opportunity to assist their colleagues and they will do so. I encourage OPM to give them that chance.”
NTEU represents about 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.