Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) introduced Tuesday legislation that would ensure essential federal employees who have been working to aid the government’s response to COVID-19 do not lose their annual leave due to an inability to take time off as a result of the crisis.
“During the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, our federal workers are stepping up and working tirelessly to help Americans weather this crisis,” said Wexton. “It’s all hands on deck right now and taking time off is not an option for many federal employees. Federal workers should not be forced to lose their benefits while they carry out the essential work of government. We owe it to them to protect what they’ve earned.”
Most federal employees are allowed to carry over no more than 240 hours (30 days) of leave each year and any additional leave accrued is lost at the end of the benefit year; however, there are limited instances that will enable leave to carry over in the event that there is an urgent need for the employee’s work, according to Wexton. The Federal Frontline Worker Leave Protection Act would amend the existing law to include work responding to COVID-19 as an instance that would allow workers to roll unused hours over to next year.
The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
The full text of the bill can be found here.