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Frequently Asked Questions Pandemic

  • An employee may use a total of up to 104 hours (13 days) of sick leave each leave year to provide general medical care to a family member and up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. If the employee has already used 13 days of sick leave for general family care, that amount must be subtracted from the 12 weeks (480 hours) of sick leave an employee may use to provide care for a family member with a serious health condition. In addition to sick leave, depending on the particular circumstances, an employee may use annual leave, advanced annual leave, advanced sick leave, earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, or earned credit hours. An employee also may request to receive donated annual leave through his or her agency’s leave transfer or leave bank programs. An employee may invoke his or her entitlement to unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and take a total of up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of leave without pay to provide care for a spouse, son or daughter, or parent with a serious health condition. An employee may also request leave without pay. Employees should consult with their agency human resources office to determine how their agency policy applies to their situation.
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  • No.  Generally, an employee may use sick leave when he or she is unable to work due to a physical or mental illness or is receiving medical examination or treatment. An employee who is not eligible for sick leave may request annual leave.  An employee has the right to take annual leave, subject to the right of the supervisor to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken.  If an employee’s request for leave is denied and the employee still refuses to report for work, the employee may be considered Absent Without Leave (AWOL) and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal from Federal service. Agencies should inform employees of the preventive measures taken to ensure a safe workplace during a pandemic influenza.  Also see discussion of alternative work arrangements in Part III-A.
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  • If an employee is concerned about contracting the flu from a co-worker, the employee should first raise the concern with his or her supervisor to discuss appropriate action, such as moving to a different work area, taking annual leave, or teleworking. Employees who leave their duty stations without approval may be considered absent without leave (AWOL). AWOL may result in disciplinary action, up to and including removal from Federal service.
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  • An employee who is healthy may request annual leave for the period of absence from his or her job. An employee has a right to take annual leave, subject to the right of the supervisor to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken. In addition, depending on the particular circumstances, an employee may request advanced annual leave or other paid time off, such as earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, or earned credit hours. An employee may also request leave without pay. Employees should consult with their agency human resources office to determine how their agency policy applies to their situation.
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  • Yes, an employee may request annual leave in lieu of furlough in this situation.
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  • As with any illness, any medical diagnosis by a supervisor is very problematic and shouldbe avoided.  However, when a supervisorobserves an employee exhibiting signs of illness, he or she may express generalconcern regarding the employee’s health and remind the employee of his or herleave options for seeking medical attention, such as requesting sick or annualleave.  Employees on approved sick orannual leave will continue to be paid during their absence.  Although leave is generally voluntary, anagency may direct an employee to take leave.Directing an employee to take leave may constitute enforced leave, whichis an adverse action (see discussion in next question).  Also see discussion on alternative workarrangements in Part II-A.
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  • Agencies may offer alternative work arrangements to ensure work continues to be accomplished during a pandemic health crisis and employees continue to be paid. For example, agencies may direct employees who are under an approved telework agreement to telework from home or order employees to evacuate their worksites and direct them to work from home during a pandemic influenza.

    An agency may authorize evacuation payments for employees who have been ordered to evacuate their worksites. Evacuation payments reflect the regular pay an employee would have received for the time period he or she would have been expected to work (but for the evacuation). An agency may require an employee to perform any work considered necessary or required to be performed during the period of the evacuation without regard to the employee’s grade or title. If an employee refuses to work from home, he or she may be required to use accrued annual leave (i.e., “enforced leave”), may be furloughed, or may be disciplined, as appropriate.
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  • Unless an agency has evidence (suspicion is notenough) that an employee is physically unable to perform the job or poses arisk to himself/herself or others, it may not prohibit the employee fromreporting to work.  Such action wouldconstitute a constructive suspension and would be an adverse action requiringadvance notice, opportunity to reply, agency decision, and possibly appeal orgrievance rights.  Supervisors shouldconsult their human resources office beforerefusing to allow an employee to report for work or to return to work so thatproper procedures will be followed and constructive suspension issues can beconsidered.
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  • An employee may use a total of up to 104 hours (13 days) of sick leave each leave year to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member. In addition, an employee may request to use accrued annual leave or other paid time off, such as earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, and earned credit hours.
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  • An employee may use a total of up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of accrued sick leave to care for a familymember with a serious health condition.A family member includes anyindividual related by blood or affinity whose close association with theemployee is the equivalent of a family relationship (as determined by eachagency).
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