Guidance for Federal Employees Who Test Positive for COVID
January 12, 2021
As we enter the new year, it is important for federal employees to understand policies and guidance related to the ongoing COVID pandemic. This includes considering what options you have if you test positive for the coronavirus.
First, NFFE-IAM recommends that memberfs who test positive for COVID file a workers’ compensation claim. Please see this Article from CyberFEDs, as well as this message regarding FECA guidance and the FECA Bulletin on COVID. The first step is to ask your supervisor for the appropriate form to initiate the workers’ compensation claim.
Further, in the event of a positive test, we encourage you to submit FMLA requests. At a minimum, we recommend requesting intermittent leave connected to COVID. By requesting that your FMLA be approved on an interim basis, you are able to use leave right away. If your FMLA request is approved, your FMLA status will also provide extra job protections, which will be especially helpful should you develop “long COVID” symptoms, or if you have childcare/elderly care responsibilities, or if you are not eligible for telework. Please be sure to follow the FMLA procedures established by your agency to submit FMLA forms and documentation from your healthcare provider within the correct timeframes.
Unfortunately, the congressionally established fund for COVID leave has not yet been reauthorized. If you are using a significant amount of your accrued leave in connection with COVID, we suggest taking advantage of Voluntary Leave Transfer Programs or Leave Sharing Programs at your agency. Be sure to check your union contract’s leave provisions. In some cases, NFFE-IAM has successfully negotiated additional leave options and procedures beyond the ones listed here.
Visit www.saferfederalworkforce.gov for additional details on leave processes connected to COVID.
NFFE-IAM members also have access to a specialized workers’ compensation attorney, Alan Shapiro. More information can be found here.
NFFE is here to help our members navigate these various processes. If you have questions or if any of your requests are ignored or denied, contact your NFFE steward, local leadership, NFFE Business Representative, or NFFE-IAM Deputy General Counsel Yvette Piacsek at firstname.lastname@example.org.