Washington D.C. – Federal employees who contract COVID-19 or are unable to work for pandemic-related reasons would have up to 15 weeks of emergency leave under a proposal that passed a House committee late Friday and is endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.
The provision, as approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, would replace a temporary sick leave program for federal workers that expired in December, which was used by federal employees who did not have enough personal leave to be able to quarantine safely without losing income.
“Federal employees, like all workers, need assurances that if coronavirus threatens their health or interferes with their ability to care for their family, that they won’t miss paychecks,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “We commend Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, Subcommittee Chair Gerry Connolly and many others on the Committee for their commitment to the health and safety of our nation’s federal workforce.”
The leave provision is part of a broader package of COVID-19 relief. It would provide up to 15 weeks of emergency paid leave for federal employees in the following circumstances: ill with COVID-19; mandated to quarantine; caring for a child whose child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 precautions; caring for a child whose school has been closed or requires virtual instruction; caring for a family member whose care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19; obtaining a vaccination; or illness related to receiving the vaccine.
The benefit, capped at $1,400 per week, ensures that no employee goes without income while dealing with pandemic-related issues. It expires Sept. 30.
“We have too many instances of employees who should be in quarantine showing up to work because they can’t afford to take leave without pay,” Reardon said. “This emergency leave program would protect them, as well as their families and their coworkers, and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.”
NTEU represents employees in 34 federal agencies and offices.