As per the President’s direction that the Federal Government should work aggressively to maximize the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force advised that federal agencies must grant administrative leave to employees so that they may accompany family members, as defined by 5 CFR 630.201, who are receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Yesterday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reiterated this guidance and in a Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, announced that federal agencies must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany a qualifying family member who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. OPM’s memorandum notes that this now includes children ages 5 through 11 whether that child is biological, adopted, step or foster, a legal ward of the employee, a person for whom the employee acts as a parent (standing in loco parentis), or a child of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.
Under this policy, federal agencies must grant up to four hours of administrative leave each time the employee accompanies a family member to a COVID-19 vaccination or booster shots for those over the age of 18. Employees are required to get approval of their supervisor in advance, and will not receive any leave credit for appointments set when the employee is off duty.
In October 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 Guidance page with more information regarding the medical exemption and reasonable accommodation of employees, and an expanded section regarding religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Federal Employees who are interested in medical or religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement should also see my prior blog post which provides much more detailed information about these accommodations.
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