Last week, several committees of the House of Representatives held markups to consider legislation that will be part of the FY 2021 Budget Reconciliation COVID relief package. These bills included a number of provisions that would impact federal employees.
On Friday, the House Committee on Oversight approved legislation that would provide 600 hours (15 weeks) of emergency paid leave for federal employees who are required to quarantine, are ill with COVID-19, are caring for a child whose child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions or whose school or place of care has been closed or requires or makes optional a virtual learning hybrid in-person/virtual instruction model, or those who are caring for a family member incapable of self-care whose care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19. This leave could also be used to obtain immunization from COVID or for time off due to illness as a result of the immunization. While this benefit is capped at $1,400 per week, it ensures that no employee will go without income while dealing with pandemic-related issues. It expires after September 30, 2021. Initially, this provision would have required employees to exhaust all earned sick leave before they could use any of these 600 hours of leave, but we were successful in pushing for the removal of that requirement.
The House Budget Committee is expected to consider these bills shortly followed by a vote by the full House later this month. NTEU joined other unions in sending letters in support of this provision and others, and will continue to work with our allies on Capitol Hill to ensure legislation supports and protects federal employees during this pandemic as you continue to work in service to the American people. We will keep you posted on future developments.