Federal employees with young children may be happy to know that they can get administrative leave to cover the time it takes to take the children to get COVID vaccinations.
According to guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, federal employees are allowed up to 4 hours per dose per family member for each family member the employee accompanies to get the vaccination. For instance, a federal employees might receive 12 hours of administrative leave for a family member receiving three doses of a vaccine.
An FAQ from the Task Force reads:
Q: Must an agency grant administrative leave to cover the period of time it takes an employee to accompany a family member who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination?
A: Yes, an agency must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany any family member who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.
Based on President Biden’s direction that the Federal Government should work aggressively to maximize the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, the Administration has determined that, going forward, agencies must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany their family members who are receiving any dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. For this purpose, a “family member” is an individual who meets the definition of that term in OPM’s leave regulations (see 5 CFR 630.201).
Under this policy, agencies must grant leave-eligible employees up to four hours of administrative leave per dose—for example, up to a total of twelve hours of leave for a family member receiving three doses—for each family member the employee accompanies. (If an employee needs to spend less time accompanying a family member who is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, only the needed amount of administrative leave should be granted.) Employees should obtain advance approval from their supervisor before being permitted to use administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccination purposes. Employees may not be credited with administrative leave or overtime work for time spent outside their tour of duty helping a family member get vaccinated. This policy applies to covered vaccinations received after posting of this FAQ on July 29, 2021.
In this case, a “family member” is any individual who meets the definition of that term under the Office of Personnel Management’s leave regulations under 5 CFR 630.201. According to the definition found there, “family member” is defined as follows:
“Family member” means an individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:
(1) Spouse, and parents thereof;
(2) Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;
(3) Parents, and spouses thereof;
(4) Brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof;
(5) Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;
(7) Any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
OPM said recently in its own guidance that covered family members now include children ages 5-11. This is because the Food and Drug Administration has approved use of the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children in that age group.
Other Vaccine Related Leave Available to Federal Employees
Leave eligible federal employees are also allowed up to 4 hours of administrative leave to get a vaccine booster shot.
“To promote the safety of the Federal workforce and the public they serve, agencies must grant leave-eligible employees up to four hours of administrative leave to receive any authorized COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, if they are eligible to receive such a booster shot,” reads an FAQ from the Task Force.
They also are allowed up to 2 full days of leave to recover from any adverse reaction to a vaccine. The Task Force states:
An agency should grant up to 2 workdays of administrative leave if an employee has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination dose that prevents the employee from working (i.e., no more than 2 workdays for reactions associated with a single dose). If an employee requests more than 2 workdays to recover, the agency may make a determination to grant emergency paid leave under the American Rescue Plan Act —if available—or the employee may take other appropriate leave (e.g. sick leave) to cover any additional absence.
Although it is not leave per se, federal employees are allowed to get COVID vaccinations on duty time to encourage vaccination of the federal workforce. The Task Force states that agencies should authorize up to four hours of duty time to travel to the vaccination site, complete a vaccination dose, and return to work.