Congress Legislation Wants to Protect Unused PTO of Federal Employees During COVID-19 PandemicawsDONOTREMOVE
A legislative bill has been introduced in the House that is trying to ensure that federal workers who were not able to use their paid days off this year and, as a result, exceeded the prescribed annual limits for the leave period that could be carried over to the next year, wouldn’t have to give up their unused paid leave.
The Federal Frontline Worker Leave Protection Act (H.R. 6733) was introduced by Rep. Wexton along with Rep. Del. Eleanor Norton, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Don Beyer, and Rep. Stephen Lynch. This bill will allow federal workers whose services are essential to the coronavirus response effort carry forward unused leave into 2021.
Most federal workers are only allowed to forward around thirty days or 240 hours of paid vacation per year. In case an employess has went over this limit by the year-end, any leave period that exceeds this cap is written off.
The only exceptions include employees whose services were primarily rendered overseas or whose job required an prolonged travel period or employees who were forced to cancel their previously scheduled vacation due to emergency reasons related to the exigencies of public business.
This new bill will ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic is recognized as an ‘exigency of the public business’, thus allowing workers to be covered under this exception irrespective of whether federal workers had already scheduled their leave or not.
The Bill states that any service, which is essential in the effort against the COVID pandemic, shall be considered an exigency of public business. Any time off or vacation that has been lost by workers who provide such services due to the exigency shall be credited back and made available to the workings during the following year, irrespective of whether the leave had been actually scheduled or not.
Wexton states that applying ordinary vacation rollover regulations to federal employees who were unable to travel or utilize their vacation time due to their responsibilities to the American public would be unfair.
She commended federal workers for stepping up to the challenge and working round the clock for helping Americans face this crisis. Many federal employees were indispensable at the moment due to the nature of their services, she said. Wexton added that federal workers shouldn’t have to sacrifice their benefits as they keep the government running. She stated that it was important to protect their benefits, which they’ve rightfully earned.
The Department of Defense also issued a similar statement in April, raising the vacation leave cap that service members are allowed to roll over, from two months to four months. The Benefit Coordinators THE Federal Short Term Disability Insurance!