Washington - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Council 222 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) that will grant administrative leave time to HUD employees who volunteer for work that supports HUD’s mission in providing housing assistance and community development. Signing for HUD was Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi.
Carolyn Federoff, president of Council 222 (also known as the AFGE HUD Council), hailed the decision of HUD management to support the civic-minded volunteer work of HUD workers. “This agreement will show what government can achieve when managers support the best intentions of their employees,” Federoff said.
“We’ve been in talks with management since April on this issue,” said Federoff, “but the enormous demand for volunteer assistance for victims of Hurricane Katrina created a level of urgency that got the deal done.”
Tim Oravec, a HUD employee in upstate New York and member of the council’s executive board, also is a volunteer firefighter who has been using his own vacation leave in order to lend a hand when duty calls.
“With this new agreement in hand, I’ll be able to serve my community as a first responder in a way that’s better for my family,” Oravec said.
The MoU allows HUD employees to receive one day of administrative leave per month for the exercise of volunteer work that is pre-approved by the worker’s supervisor. In the case of a catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina, workers may withdraw those days in advance from their own “leave bank” so that they may spend several consecutive days at the disaster site.
“HUD employees are construction analysts, engineers, and environmental officers,” Federoff explained. “This policy will encourage our employees to donate even more of their time and skills towards the huge efforts that will be necessary to rebuild our communities over the coming months and years.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.