U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, and Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, along with six of their colleagues introduced the Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act, legislation that will allow all federal workers to carry over the leave they have accrued when a national pandemic prevents employees from taking time off of work.
“Over the past six months, communities across the nation have relied heavily on federal workers who have often been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and they deserve to keep the paid leave they have earned,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to join my colleagues on this important bill to ensure those who worked tirelessly to make sure Americans have what they need during this crisis can carry over the time off that they’ve earned.”
Federal workers that accrue over 240 hours of annual leave either lose the hours above the cap or have to attempt to use it before the end of the year. Using leave hours during a national pandemic may not be possible because a worker provides a critical government service for taxpayers, needs to limit exposure to COVID-19, or follows state and local restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.
“Thousands of dedicated federal workers have been tirelessly responding to the coronavirus pandemic, including U.S. Postal Service employees, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration workers, and National Institutes of Health researchers,” Hirono said. “Our nation has leaned on them as they deliver medicines and Social Security checks, assist Americans with filing their taxes, develop a vaccine, and provide other vital services. This bill makes sure that no federal worker loses their leave because of this or any future pandemic.”
The Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act is endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, American Federation of Government Employees, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Federal Managers Association, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, FAA Managers Association, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, National Federation of Federal Employees, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.