New COVID-19 Leave for Federal Employees Explained

IMPORTANT: This information should not be downloaded using government equipment, read during duty time or sent to others using government equipment, because it suggests action to be taken in support or against legislation. Do not use your government email address or government phone in contacting your lawmakers. 

The Department of Labor recently released a poster entitled "Federal Employee Rights" that many federal employees have questions about. AFGE is providing the following information to help federal employees make sense of the new policies.

There is only one new category of fully paid leave for federal employees in the executive branch. This is two extra weeks of paid sick leave in addition to the amount of paid sick leave you earn each year.

In order to qualify for the additional paid sick leave, you must be in one or more of the following situations:

  • You are under a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order connected to COVID-19 because you have been exposed to COVID-19. This is NOT the same as a “stay at home” or “shelter in place” order from your governor or mayor. It is directly related to your personal exposure to COVID-19.
  • You are told by a health care provider to self-quarantine because they think you have contracted or have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • You have the symptoms of COVID-19 and are trying to get diagnosed.
  • You are caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order connected to COVID-19 or are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

You can take this new leave instead of, or in addition to, taking days of paid annual leave or sick leave if you meet the above criteria. Even if you had already used all your accrued paid leave, you are eligible for this new paid COVID-19 leave.

Click here to download a flyer with this information.

New COVID-19 Leave for Federal Employees with Children At Home

Under a newly passed law, federal employees with school-aged children or children needing daycare are eligible for two weeks (or 80 hours) of partially paid leave if the children’s school or daycare is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.

The rate of pay for this special category of leave is two-thirds of your regular rate, subject to both a floor and a ceiling.

The floor comes into play if your annual salary is below $22,706 or your hourly rate is below $10.88. Then you’ll be paid at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The ceiling comes into play if your salary is above $133,300; then you are capped at $511 per day, or $5,100 over two weeks.

This partially paid leave is in addition to your accrued sick leave and annual leave, which is paid at your full regular rate.

This leave is not in addition to the two weeks of extra fully paid COVID-19 sick leave for those who are infected, in quarantine, or caring for someone who has COVID-19. If you take the extra two weeks of paid COVID-19 sick leave, you are not eligible for the childcare leave and vice versa.

This new partially paid leave is only payable to federal employees caring for kids whose school, day care, or childcare is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. If you are a part-time federal employee, you are eligible only for the number of hours in a two-week period that you are normally scheduled to work.

Click here to download a flyer with this information.

Please regularly check to view important coronavirus updates.

Note: These two benefits are not entitlements; agencies can exclude health care workers and first responders at their discretion.




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