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A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. / News / News Archives / Releases / 2024 / May / Biden Admin Issues Guidance Supporting Leave Access for Federal Employees Seeking Safety and Recovering from Domestic Violence and Other Abuse

News Release

Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Contact: Office of Communications

RELEASE: Biden-Harris Administration Issues Guidance Supporting Leave Access for Federal Employees Seeking Safety and Recovering from Domestic Violence and Other Abuse

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance today advising agencies to provide enhanced support to federal workers seeking safety and recovering from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other related forms of abuse or harassment, including technological abuse. Alongside the guidance, OPM issued a fact sheet outlining a comprehensive list of the types of leave and workforce flexibilities available, as appropriate, to employees, or when assisting a family member.   

"Federal employees should feel fully supported to take time off and address their safety or a member of their family’s safety,” said OPM Acting Director Rob Shriver. “Domestic violence, stalking, and other forms of abuse and harassment have no place in the workplace. They cause serious impacts on employee wellbeing and the health of their families, including conduct occurring through emerging online, imaging and communications and tracking technologies. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building safe and healthy workplaces and supporting federal employees in these difficult situations.”    

Agencies should support an employee requesting time off from work for qualifying safe leave purposes to the maximum extent practicable. Federal employees may take time off (paid or unpaid, as appropriate) to engage in various activities for themselves or to assist a family member. Qualifying safe leave purposes may include the listed activities for themselves or to assist a family member:  

  • Seeking medical treatment, including for mental health services such as counseling or therapy;  
  • Securing housing or relocating;  
  • Obtaining services from organizations or groups that provide services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, image-based abuse, human trafficking, and/or stalking; 
  • Participating in safety planning or taking other actions to increase safety;  
  • Attending court to obtain a protective order, participate in child custody proceedings, or obtain legal or other victim services; or  
  • Otherwise dealing with the consequences of the abusive behavior (for example, arranging for dependent care).   

The updated guidance supports the Presidential Memorandum on Supporting Access to Leave for Federal Employees, issued by President Biden on February 2, 2023.  

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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people.

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