Press Releases

National Capital Region Members Seek Leave for Federal Employees Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

Today House Democrats Don Beyer (D-VA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), David Trone (D-MD), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) wrote to Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Kathleen McGettigan, requesting that federal employees be given the option of administrative time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Some federal agencies do not yet to allow time off for employees to get immunized.

They wrote:

“Given the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance that the approved COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing death and infection as well as the societal need for as many vaccinated individuals as possible in order to eliminate the virus, it is imperative that the federal government take every possible step to encourage federal employees to receive the vaccine, including providing them with the administrative time to do so."

“The health and safety of federal employees is absolutely paramount to the mission of every federal agency. Our federal employees have been challenged throughout this pandemic by adjusting their jobs to work under these strenuous circumstances. Ensuring an environment for employees to easily vaccinate is the fastest way for federal agencies to be able to function at their most productive level.”

A signed copy of the letter is available here, and text follows below.

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Dear Acting Director McGettigan: 

We write to request that federal employees be given the option of administrative time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

We understand that some federal agencies are not providing employees with administrative time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Under current Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines, it is advised that administrative leave policies across individual agencies satisfy that the absence is directly related to the agency or department's mission. Given the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance that the approved COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing death and infection as well as the societal need for as many vaccinated individuals as possible in order to eliminate the virus, it is imperative that the federal government take every possible step to encourage federal employees to receive the vaccine, including providing them with the administrative time to do so.

The health and safety of federal employees is absolutely paramount to the mission of every federal agency. Our federal employees have been challenged throughout this pandemic by adjusting their jobs to work under these strenuous circumstances. Ensuring an environment for employees to easily vaccinate is the fastest way for federal agencies to be able to function at their most productive level. 

We must continue to do all that we can to ensure federal employee safety. Mandating that federal agencies provide administrative time to get vaccinated is a necessary step, and allowing a couple additional days of paid sick leave for any post-vaccination symptoms is common sense.   

Please respond by February 19, 2021. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,