DOD, Feds Issue Coronavirus Guidelines for Civilian Employees

By Courtney Bublé

March 10, 2020

On Saturday, the Office of Personnel Management published updated guidelinesfor agency leaders giving federal employees needed flexibility to handle fallout from the spread of the highly-contagious novel coronavirus. The Defense Department followed suit Monday afternoon with risk-based guidance for military commanders in protecting the department’s 860,000 civilian employees. 

Critically, supervisors may allow employees to work from home during an emergency with a child or others in the home who need care, so long as employees document the hours they actually work and take appropriate leave for the time they aren’t working.

The guidance identifies authorities and best practices to help agencies minimize risk to civilian personnel and their families. OPM also provided answers to anticipated questions about the flexibilities. 

Supervisors may authorize work flexibilities at their discretion, including telework, alternative work schedules, weather and safety leave, sick leave and annual leave. 

The guidance noted that agencies should do the following:

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By Courtney Bublé // Courtney Buble is a staff correspondent who covers federal management. Prior to joining Government Executive, she worked for NBC News. Courtney graduated from The George Washington University in 2018.

March 10, 2020