Coronavirus Relief Bill Provides Free Testing, Emergency Paid Leave

Categories: The Insider, Coronavirus

AFGE applauds Congress’ swift passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Trump signed into law March 18.

This legislation includes important provisions that will help federal employees and all Americans who are confronting this pandemic, including free coronavirus testing for anyone who needs it and 14 days of paid emergency sick leave for workers – including federal employees – who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and those taking care of individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“The American people desperately need our elected leaders to work together and move with all deliberate speed to address this quickly evolving health crisis, and I hope that the quick bipartisan passage of this legislation is a sign of things to come,” said AFGE National President Everett Kelley.

Working to Protect You

From the start of this rapidly emerging health crisis, AFGE has been pushing for immediate action to help protect our members and the public we serve:

Maximizing Telework: On March 6, President Kelley sent a letter to the head of the Office of Personnel Management requesting that OPM immediately allow all federal employees to telework if able. After taking piecemeal steps, the Office of Management and Budget on March 17 finally issued a direct call for all agencies to maximize telework across the nation and to ensure steps are in place to restrict access to federal facilities.

Protections: AFGE was successful in persuading OPM to ask the insurance companies that cover participants in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to relax refill eligibility dates and requirements in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. We also called for the most effective personal protective equipment, full health care coverage, and hazardous duty pay. We called for federal agencies to enact continuity of operations plans.

Emergency paid sick leave: AFGE made sure federal employees are entitled to emergency paid sick leave that was included in the Families First Act. This emergency paid sick leave is on top of the normal paid sick leave federal employees already get. We are still working for paid family and medical leave.

Bargaining Guidance: AFGE has issued bargaining guidance for our units to use when negotiating with agencies over the effects of the coronavirus on the workforce. It addresses topics including personal protective equipment (PPE), telework, travel, and leave. This guidance is being updated frequently to reflect changing circumstances. Visit www.afge.org/coronavirus for the latest guidance.

Workers’ Comp Claims: AFGE has issued an updated fact sheet and guidance on filing workers’ compensation claims related to the coronavirus. Click here to view the latest document.

Surveying Members: We created a survey so you can let us know what steps are and are not being taken to protect you at your worksite. Click here to take the survey.

For the latest news and information about the coronavirus, visit www.afge.org/coronavirus.


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