AFGE’s 10 Principles on Return to Worksites

In order to ensure the health and safety of federal and DC government workers, the following principles must be enacted before any return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic, and shall be strictly observed throughout the return to work until the threat is eradicated.

  1. Physical and environmental controls must be adopted and enforced to protect all workers.
  2. Management must be transparent with workers and the public throughout the return to work and workers’ representatives must have a say in return-to-work decisions at every level.
  3. Universal testing and contact tracing must be implemented and protocols in place before any return.
  4. Any return to work at official duty stations must be preceded by 14 days of exponential decline in geographic area (yet to be defined).
  5. Prior to return to work a risk assessment must first be completed and any deficiencies favorably resolved based on Hierarchy of Controls principles.
  6. Protections must be put in place by the agency: temperature taking at the door/masks and appropriate PPE/hand sanitizer/soap/tissues, proper distancing, dividers, regular disinfecting, air circulation, etc.
  7. Employees who exhibit symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 shall be sent home immediately for telework or paid leave appropriate to their health status, and commence contact tracing/engagement.
    • Shut down the immediate affected area immediately, notify employees of active case, and engage contact tracing process.
  8. Results of contact tracing must result in minimum 14-day quarantine for those individuals with close contact to that employee, with telework or paid leave appropriate to the person’s health status. There will be no return to work until the above criteria have been met.
  9. No employee will face retaliation for reporting deficiencies in an agency’s response or raising any matter related to worker health or safety.
  10. Schedule regular assessments at appropriate intervals  of agency’s approach to course-correct and improve in consultation with the union.

Note: AFGE believes OPM/OMB’s Memo dated April 20, 2020 is premature and presents numerous unnecessary risks to the health and safety of our members and the public.


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