OPM Provides Details on New Emergency Paid Leave for Federal Workers

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has released more details on the new emergency paid leave program, which is included in The American Rescue Plan that was passed into law in March 2021. As part of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 relief package, $570 million in emergency paid leave funds was created. 

Full-time federal employees will receive a maximum of 600 hours—or 15 weeks—of paid leave for various pandemic-related reasons. Furthermore, part-time employees also qualify for emergency paid leave on a prorated basis, according to the number of hours they work. 

Federal workers can access this new type of leave based on the following reasons: 

  • If they are subject to a local, state, or federal COVID-19 quarantine order 

  • If a health care provider advised them to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns 

  • If they are caring for another person who is subject to quarantine orders 

  • If they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 

  • If they are taking care of children whose school or daycare is closed or conduct a hybrid learning model 

  • If they are taking care of an elderly loved one with health concerns 

  • If they are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or recovering from an immunization-related condition or illness 

  • Other qualifying reasons 

If a federal employee wishes to request emergency paid leave, he/she must provide evidence and additional information to their agencies to confirm eligibility. If an employee meets the eligibility requirements, then agencies will approve emergency paid leave on a conditional basis. 

Once an agency approves an employee’s request, it will seek reimbursement from OPM. Workers can request this leave until September 30, 2021 – unless the $570-million budget is exhausted prior to that date. 

Many federal workers qualify to use this new type of emergency leave, from the U.S. Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

At Pines Federal, we have more than 50 years of combined experience in federal employment law. If you are looking for skilled representation, contact us today at (888) 898-9902 and discuss your case with our experienced legal team. 

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