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Pandemic Information Agency Preparations

 

Overview

Pandemic Planning Guides and Agency Strategies

The best way to prepare for a possible pandemic health crisis is to plan carefully. Planning includes—

  • Reviewing relevant agency and Governmentwide human resources policies and practices
  • Developing human resources management strategies to deal with circumstances that may arise during a pandemic health crisis
  • Testing plans of action and telecommunications systems to ensure readiness
  • Communicating with employees, managers, and other stakeholders prior to, during, and after a pandemic health crisis

The Pandemic Planning Guides and Agency Strategies are designed to assist agencies as they prepare for a possible pandemic health crisis. Some of the planning guides provide suggestions for general preparations, while others provide information for handling specific situations that may arise. We recommend agencies immediately use the checklist formatted guides to assess their current state of readiness. The checklists can also be used in the future to assess progress and overall preparation for dealing with a potential health emergency.

Because the planning guides are general in nature, readers should also review their agency human resources management policies, practices, and guidance to understand specific actions and flexibilities they have available to them during a pandemic health crisis.

The planning activities in these Planning Guides and Agency Strategies supplement existing all-hazard emergency/business contingency planning guidance that can be found by visiting Flu.gov.

We also have distilled the critical roles and responsibilities of agencies, employees, and supervisors in the event of a pandemic health crisis.

Agency Roles and Responsibilities

  • Provide resources for training and testing
  • Ensure communication systems work
  • Develop guidance on protecting sensitive information and providing for contingency hiring

Supervisory Roles and Responsibilities

  • Plan for short- and long-term disruptions
  • Stay in constant touch with employees and leadership
  • Develop guidance on protecting sensitive information and providing for contingency hiring

Employee Roles and Responsibilities

  • Be ready for alternative work arrangements
  • Protect sensitive information
  • Stay in constant touch with management

Medical Evaluation Program Guidance

Agencies may establish periodic examination or immunization programs to safeguard the health of employees whose work may subject them or others to significant health or safety risks due to occupational or environmental exposure or demands. The new programs are established through written policies or directives. (5 CFR 339.205)

Planning Guides

These Pandemic Planning Guides are designed to assist agencies as they prepare for and respond to a pandemic health crisis. The guide is general in nature. For the latest information on contingency planning for a pandemic influenza, see Flu.gov. Readers should also review their agency policies, practices, and guidance prior to taking action.

Collecting Workforce Data

The President, Congress, and heads of agencies will need to know how a pandemic influenza affects the Government's capacity to carry out its many functions by geographic area. That information will allow leaders to intelligently redeploy resources and adjust the means of performing work. Agencies must follow the specific workforce data collection instructions issued at the time of a pandemic influenza episode. The instructions and documents provided in the navigation to the right must be followed and used only upon notification by OPM.

Since there are major difficulties in collecting accurate data on absences and deaths specifically related to a pandemic influenza, OPM will collect indirect measures based on data sources that are largely automated. Payroll providers will supply information on certain categories of paid and unpaid leave, by agency and State, which will be compared to prior-year baseline data. Agencies will report deaths by any cause, and those numbers will also be compared to baseline data. Agencies will also report on employees who are teleworking from alternative worksites, including their homes. Some agencies are able to capture telework data through their time and attendance systems, while others are taking steps to develop this capability.

OPM will notify agencies if and when this reporting needs to begin and will designate the contact point to which reports should be sent. The Payroll Status Report shows information that will be collected from payroll providers. (In rare cases that will be an in house payroll function.) The Telework and Deaths Status Report shows information that will be collected from agencies through their Chief Human Capital Officer or Human Resources Director.

Reporting Workforce Data

Instruction Sheet to Payroll Providers for Reporting Federal Workforce Data During a Pandemic Influenza

Instructions for:
Federal Employees Status Report - Payroll
Completed by:
Payroll Providers - Data required on all customer agencies.
Base-Line Reporting Periods:
14-day biweekly pay period for the previous year
Reporting Periods:
Most recent 14-day biweekly pay period
Report due:
Payroll providers to provide data to OPM after the end of each pay period.

Definitions:

Top Row

  • Total # Federal Employees means the total number of Federal civilian employees employed by the agency on the last day of each reporting period.
  • Total # Hours Sick Leave means sick leave for self or family care.
  • Total # Hours Other Paid Leave means the total number of hours of paid leave used during each reporting period. Other paid leave includes annual leave, sick leave, excused absence (i.e., administrative leave), earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, and earned credit hours. Other paid leave excludes military leave, home leave, shore leave, military funeral leave, court leave, and bone-marrow/organ donor leave.
  • Total # Hours Unpaid Leave means the total number of hours of unpaid leave used during each reporting period. Unpaid leave includes leave without pay, leave without pay under the Family and Leave Act, and furlough. Unpaid leave excludes absence without leave (AWOL), suspension, military leave without pay (LWOP-US), and workers' compensation (OWCP) leave without pay.

Left Column

  • Outside U.S. means locations outside the 50 States, outside the District of Columbia, and outside any U.S. territory or possession.
  • U.S. Territories/Possessions means American Samoa, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Jarvis Island, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Atoll.
  • States means the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.
  • U.S. Totals means computed totals for the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
  • Grand Totals means computed totals for Outside U.S. + U.S. Territories/Possessions + U.S. Totals.
  • % of Total Federal Employees means computed percentages for each column based on the Total # Federal Employees. OPM will calculate.
  • Wash, DC Metropolitan Area means the District of Columbia; the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, St. Mary's, and Washington in Maryland; the city of Baltimore in Maryland; the counties of Adams and York in Pennsylvania; the counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Warren in Virginia; the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester in Virginia; and the counties of Berkeley, Hampshire, Jefferson, and Morgan in West Virginia.

Overseas Employees

Preparation and planning for a pandemic health crisis in overseas locations is similar to other emergency planning activities. Whether a Federal employee is employed overseas or is traveling overseas, it is important for the employee to become familiar with the risks and emergency procedures that exist for the area of the stay.

The Department of State emphasizes that, in the event of a pandemic, its ability to assist Americans traveling and residing abroad may be severely limited due to restrictions on local and international movement imposed for public health reasons either by foreign governments and/or the United States. Further, American citizens should take note that the Department of State cannot provide Americans traveling or living abroad with medications or supplies, including supplies needed in the event of a pandemic.

It is likely governments will respond to a pandemic by imposing public health measures that restrict domestic and international movement, further limiting the U.S. Government's ability to assist Americans in these countries. These measures can be implemented very quickly. The Department of State has asked its embassies and consulates to consider preparedness measures that take into consideration the fact that travel into or out of a country may not be possible, safe, or medically advisable during a pandemic. Guidance on how private citizens can prepare for a "stay in place" response, including stockpiling food, water, and medical supplies, is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website and the main Federal Website.

  • Overseas employees of the Department of State or of an agency whose mission is attached to an Embassy or Consulate should become familiar with emergency guidance issued by the Chief of Mission and follow all appropriate procedures.
  • Overseas employees of the Department of Defense, or of an agency whose mission is assigned to an overseas Defense installation, should become familiar with emergency guidance issued by the employing organization or the appropriate Commander and should follow all appropriate procedures.
  • Overseas employees whose mission is not attached to an Embassy, Consulate, or Defense installation should stay in regular contact with agency headquarters for guidance on what to do in the event of a pandemic health crisis in their area.
  • Federal employees traveling to overseas locations should review all advisories and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the State Department for the area(s) of the visit, and should contact organization or agency headquarters immediately if a warning is issued for the area of travel.

CDC Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel information related to avian influenza, including preventive measures, is available at CDC website and Flu.gov.

Public Inquiries:
English (888) 246-2675
Spanish (888) 246-2857
TTY (866) 874-2646
Mon-Fri 8am-11pm EST
Sat-Sun 10am-8pm EST
Address:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333
USA (404) 639-3311

WHO Information

Contact Information:
Telephone: (202) 974-3787
Facsimile: (202) 974-3789
Address:
WHO Liaison Office
1889 F Street, N.W., Suite 369
Washington, D.C. 20006 USA

State Department Information

General country information and Embassy Consulate websites can be obtained from the Department of State's website.

Toll-free number:
1-888-407-4747
If calling from overseas:
202-501-4444
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