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Frequently Asked Questions Pandemic

Must an employee have a doctor’s note if requesting to use sick leave for 3 days or more due to an illness from a quarantinable communicable disease, such as COVID-19?

Not necessarily. Under OPM’s regulations (5 CFR 630.405(a)), an agency may grant sick leave only when the need for sick leave is supported by administratively acceptable evidence. An agency may consider an employee’s self-certification as to the reason for his or her absence as administratively acceptable evidence, regardless of the duration of the absence. An agency may also require a medical certificate or other administratively acceptable evidence as to the reason for an absence for any of the purposes for which sick leave is granted for an absence in excess of 3 workdays, or for a lesser period when the agency determines it is necessary. Supervisors should use their best judgment and follow their agency’s internal practices for granting sick leave. Agencies should also be mindful about the burden and impact of requiring a medical certificate. 

Last Updated:  3/7/2020

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