Inauguration a Holiday for D.C.-Area Feds, Even Those Teleworking Due to COVID-19

The presidential inauguration of Donald Trump.

The presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock.com

The quadrennial bonus day off will still apply to capital region feds in 2021 even though many are not commuting to the office.

Most federal employees in the Washington region will get an extra day off next month, with the Trump administration clarifying Inauguration Day will constitute a holiday for capital area workers even despite the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Under normal circumstances, only those federal workers who would normally report to their offices on Jan. 20 would get the day off. Federal statute gives federal employees in the Washington area the extra holiday due to increased road closures and security concerns. The Office of Personnel Management clarified on Thursday that even those working from home as a result of the pandemic will still receive the extra paid time off. 

Employees within 125 miles or a 2.5-hour commute of Washington would qualify for the day off, provided they would normally have been in their office for two days per pay period if not for COVID-19 fallout. About 15% of the federal workforce is employed in the Washington, D.C., region. 

“In light of these special circumstances, OPM is modifying the normal rules to consider teleworking employees to be ‘employed in’ the Inauguration Day area even though they are scheduled to telework outside that area on Jan. 20” provided they meet the other conditions, acting OPM Director Michael Rigas said in his memorandum

Any feds outside of the Washington area, who telework full time or are on official travel will not be eligible for the holiday. Any eligible workers who are required to work on Jan. 20 will receive holiday premium pay. 

Inauguration Day will mark the second day off that week, with Martin Luther King Jr. Day falling on Monday, Jan. 18. Rigas encouraged agencies to provide maximum flexibilities on Jan. 19 as well to limit those who have to commute into Washington. 

Earlier this month, President Trump awarded nearly all federal employees an extra day off on Dec. 24.

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