As part of the Biden administration’s efforts to encourage Americans to receive the latest COVID-19 booster, federal workers will get up to four hours of paid leave for the shot.
The Office of Personnel Management on Thursday announced that it was authorizing paid leave for federal workers to obtain the latest round of boosters for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the new vaccination, which touts better protection against the Omicron variant, last month for everyone age 12 and older. As it has done with both the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccines and the first round of boosters, OPM is instructing agencies to provide federal employees up to four hours of paid leave to obtain the vaccine for themselves or family members.
In a memo to agency heads, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said the administrative leave will cover the time it takes to travel to the vaccination site, receive the vaccine, and return to work. And agencies should once again allow employees to take additional administrative leave if they develop an adverse reaction or other symptoms associated with receiving the vaccine.
“Consistent with guidance issued by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, an agency should also grant up to two workdays of administrative leave if an employee has an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine dose that prevents the employee from working,” Ahuja wrote. “If an employee requests more than two workdays to recover, the employee may take other appropriate leave (e.g., sick leave) to cover any additional absence.”
Employees can also receive up to four hours of paid leave for the purposes of taking a family member to get an additional vaccine dose, Ahuja wrote. Employees may continue to receive similar time off in order to receive initial doses of the vaccine if they or one of their family members have yet to do so. People should wait at least two months after an initial vaccine regimen before obtaining the booster.
“Based on President Biden’s direction that the federal government should work aggressively to maximize the number of people receiving the updated COVID-19 vaccine, agencies must also continue to grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany their family members who are receiving the updated COVID-19 vaccine (as well as primary series doses and other authorized additional COVID-19 vaccine doses),” she wrote.