Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, held a hearing Thursday to examine how the government can protect federal employees while continuing operations and providing resources to the public.
Members of the subcommittee and witnesses believe the Trump administration’s guidance for reopening government workplaces is “unclear, incomplete, and poses risks to the health and safety of the 2.5 million federal public servants and an estimated 3.7 million federal contractors who comprise our civil service,” according to a statement on Connolly’s website.
Connolly introduced two pieces of legislation to address the concerns.
The Chaicharn Suthammanont Remembrance Act (HR 7340), cosponsored by Chairwoman Maloney and Reps. Norton, Sarbanes, Raskin, Gomez, Lynch, Lawrence, Speier, and Khanna, would require each federal agency to publish online a plan to reopen a federal office building at least 30 days prior to the return of federal employees.
The proposed legislation outlines the following plans:
– The personal protective equipment that will be provided by the agency, the additional cleaning protocols to be implemented, and efforts to ensure social distancing at worksites.
– The actions the agency will take to protect 16employees who are required to work in locations outside of federal office buildings for activities such as audits and inspections.
– The requirements that members of the public must meet in order to enter federal office spaces.
– A description of the proper contingencies for employees who have a high-risk of contracting coronavirus.
The Federal Workforce Health and Safety During the Pandemic Act (HR 7341) would, among other things, extend hazard pay and provide childcare reimbursements to those federal employees working on the frontlines.
The proposed legislation requires the following:
– During the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2020, any employee who is unable to care for a dependent child of the employee or a relative of the employee who has COVID–19 as a result of the employee being required to report to their duty station (either permanent or temporary) or to telework shall be entitled to reimbursement for the costs of such care.
– Any payment provided must be paid on a monthly basis, with payments being made to the employee on the last day of each month.
– Each employee must submit to their employing office receipts or other documents as the office may require. Reimbursement may not be paid to any employee under this section for any month in an amount greater than $2,000 per child or relative.
To read the full text of this bill, go here.