Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions


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FAQ: DLA Coronavirus Workplace Flexibilities

The following questions and answers will assist Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) employees in understanding and using policies and programs designed to accomplish work during a coronavirus health crisis and assist DLA employees and their families in dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 health situation. Employees should consult with their chain of command and servicing DLA Human Resources Office about how these policies and programs affect them, since many of these matters are addressed in the agency internal policies and/or collective bargaining agreements.

For DLA employees, questions not addressed here can be directed to: askhr@dla.mil.
 

  

Reentry

DoD issued Workplace Guidance for Final Reentry of DoD Civilian Personnel (i.e., the DoD Reentry Plan) on March 16, 2022 and the Consolidated Force Health Protection Guidance (i.e., DoD Safety Plan) was issued on April 4, 2022. The DLA Reentry and Safety Plan was issued to the DLA Executive Board on April 6, 2022.

DLA is now in the process of developing and vetting plans to increase the number of employees returning to the worksite within DLA locations and facilities. DLA civilian employees who have been in an extended situational telework status are receiving a “Notice of Reentry to the Workplace,” which serves as the official 30-day notice of reentry required by Federal guidance. Not everyone will be returning in exactly 30 days, as DLA plans to stagger returns and slowly begin phased reentry back into the workplace. DLA supervisors will be working with each of you to develop a reentry timeline and adjust work schedules as necessary while considering such things as maintaining adequate physical space between employees and maximum occupancy as outlined in Health Protection Condition (HPCON) guidelines.

COVID-19 Community Levels, as reported by the CDC, help communities and individuals make decisions based on their local context and their unique needs by measuring the impact of COVID-19 illness on health and healthcare systems. CDC looks at the combination of three metrics – new COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past seven days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days – to determine the COVID-19 community level. The COVID-19 Community Level measurement shifts the focus away from case counts to measuring risk to those most vulnerable from COVID-19.

Within DoD, the reported COVID-19 Community Level of the county in which a facility or installation is located determines local masking and testing requirements. The COVID-19 CDC Community Levels also align with the DoD Health Protection Condition (HPCON) guidance. HPCON 0 is the base level for the HPCON framework and represents a return to normal operations. HPCON Levels A, B, and C correspond directly to CDC COVID-19 Community Levels of low, medium, and high community transmission respectively.  The HPCON Level determines the occupancy limit of the facility or location along with specific Force Health Protection measures for that level.

Early in the pandemic, DLA rapidly transitioned to a posture of maximum telework for functions that could be completed from outside the physical workplace. The Agency’s success, both on-site and virtually, during the pandemic has been remarkable. With downward trends in COVID cases, readily available vaccines and tests, and various safety measures in place, DLA can begin to move forward safely with a deliberate reentry process. Extended telework influences an organization’s ability to maintain a high-performing and engaged workplace culture. Interacting in person helps us foster relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and customers, build trust, share knowledge, resume duties and processes disrupted by the pandemic, and collaborate more successfully. As pandemic conditions improve and we transition personnel back into DLA’s physical workspaces, Agency leaders will be working to find the right balance of on-site and telework to best meet both the organization’s and individual employees’ needs.

It’s important to keep in mind that while a location is at an elevated Health Protection Condition (HPCON), we are not at 100% manning or “routine” operations. Most locations are likely to be in a transition period between maximum telework and routine status for some time. Telework days and schedules will need to be adjusted based on maximum manning level specified in the HPCON level. It’s premature to talk about setting a standard maximum allowable number of telework days under a future end state. When we do come out of pandemic conditions and develop a “new normal,” many factors will need to be considered in setting telework days, including mission requirements, position, duties, employee performance, and space constraints. As we transition out of pandemic requirements, leaders and employees should expect to hear more about this issue through the Future of Work initiative at a future date.

In the immediate term, the following general guidelines for telework are provided as a reference:

  • Employees must work from their approved alternative worksite, consistent with their approved telework agreement. For most DLA teleworkers, that is their primary residence, however, management may temporarily authorize telework from a different location on an occasional basis. The designated worksite must be conducive to productive work and meet safety and security criteria.
  • A teleworking employee should be able to report to the official worksite within a reasonable time if necessitated by work requirements as determined by the supervisor.

There is no requirement to update telework agreements in the EAGLE Telework Management (ETM) system while a location is at reduced manning due to an elevated HPCON level. Until we reach HPCON 0, the organization is operating under emergency conditions and situational telework is approved as required to manage cohorts and stay below maximum occupancy levels. The most appropriate time to review and update telework agreements as necessary will be when a location enters HPCON 0. However, new employees and those changing positions may still be placed on telework agreements. In some cases, the ETM system will prompt an employee that the telework agreement is due for an annual review/renewal. Employees and supervisors should not ignore these prompts.

Throughout the pandemic, organizations have maintained the authority to, on a limited basis, increase the number of employees in the physical workplace to meet mission-critical needs.

  

Vaccine Mandate

Due to a nationwide preliminary injunction, implementation and enforcement of Executive Order 14043, "Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees," are paused. DLA will take no action to require federal civilian employees either to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 or to receive a legally required exemption while the nationwide injunction is in place. 

Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine. The definition of “fully vaccinated” may change with updated guidance from DoD. A booster is not required to meet the DoD definition of fully vaccinated at this time. Those with previous COVID-19 infection(s) or previous antibody test results are not considered fully vaccinated.

NOTE: Implementation and enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate are currently paused due to a nationwide preliminary injunction.

DLA developed an automated tool, the COVID-19 Vaccination Documentation System (CAC-protected), as a secure and efficient method for DLA civilian employees to provide vaccination status and required proof of vaccine. This DLA-specific reporting system is in lieu of other DoD requirements to report vaccination data in the MilConnect system. DLA civilian employees are not required to report their vaccination status or provide proof of vaccination through the DoD MilConnect system.

 

Once an employee enters the DLA-specific CAC-enabled tool (CAC-protected), basic employee information will appear. Employees are required to answer the questions presented and, if vaccinated, upload proof of vaccination. Copies of any of the following may be provided as acceptable proof of vaccination:

  • Record of immunization from a health care provider or pharmacy.
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card.
  • Medical record documenting the vaccination.
  • Immunization record from a public health or state immunization information system.
  • Other official documentation containing required data points.

The following data must be on any official documentation:

  • Employee name.
  • Type of vaccine administered.
  • Date(s) of administration.
  • Name of the health care professional(s) or clinic site(s) administering the vaccine(s).

Once the questions are answered and documentation is uploaded, employees should notify their supervisor they have completed these requirements. The supervisor will then validate that the proof of vaccination provided meets the specifications listed above.

Click the following links for the appropriate user guides:

Per the preliminary nationwide injunction, effective January 21, 2022, DLA employees are authorized to use up to four hours of administrative leave for any COVID-19 vaccination dose pending the outcome of the ongoing litigation. This includes time spent traveling to the vaccination location, completing a vaccination dose, and then returning to work. The four hours of administrative leave covers vaccines administered by any source, including DoD, federal, state, and local government organizations, or private health care providers and commercial pharmacies, such as Walgreens, CVS, etc. Employees should use the EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 – disease/virus prevention) for time spent obtaining the vaccine.

Employees who experience an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination are authorized no more than two workdays of administrative leave for recovery per vaccination dose. Documentation of an adverse reaction or recovery requirement following a COVID-19 vaccination is not typically required except in cases of suspected leave abuse or leave restriction.

The EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 – disease/virus prevention) should be used for time off for an adverse reaction.

NOTE: Implementation and enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate are currently paused due to a nationwide preliminary injunction.

DLA civilian employees may request an exemption to the vaccination mandate on the basis of a disability (which includes medical conditions) or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.  Determining whether an exemption is legally required will include consideration of several factors such as, the basis for the claim; the nature of the employee’s job responsibilities; and the reasonably foreseeable effects on the agency’s operations, including protecting other agency employees and the public from COVID-19. The DLA EEO Office website includes medical and religious exemption forms, further information on the required documentation, and instructions on how/where employees can submit exemption requests.

The following masking guidance based on CDC COVID-19 Community Levels applies to all DoD and DLA workplaces in the United States:

  • When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high in the county where a DoD installation or facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is required for all service members, DoD civilian employees, onsite DoD contractor personnel, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.
  • When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is medium in the county where a DoD installation or facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is not required for DoD personnel or visitors.
  • When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is low in the county where a DoD installation or facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is not required for DoD personnel or visitors.

Individuals may choose to wear a mask regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level.

DoD force health protection guidance for workplace access and mask wearing for DoD personnel with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 remains in effect regardless of the CDC COVID-19 Community Level.

Employees on installations outside the U.S. should consult country-level data for their Host Nations (HN) if local community-level data is unavailable. Case-rate information is available from the CDC at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#global-counts-rates and the World Health Organization at https://covid19.who.int/.

Yes. DLA employees are authorized up to four hours of administrative leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, if they are eligible to receive such a booster shot. Similarly, immunocompromised employees or those with a serious medical condition are authorized up to four hours of administrative leave to receive an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The administrative leave includes the time it takes to travel to the vaccination site, receive the vaccination dose, and return to work. Because there is currently no requirement for Federal employees to receive a vaccine booster shot or additional dose, granting duty time is not allowable in these instances.

If an employee needs to spend less time getting the vaccine booster shot or additional dose, only the needed amount of administrative leave should be granted. Employees should obtain advance approval from their supervisor before using administrative leave for purposes of obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot or additional dose. Employees may not be credited with administrative leave or overtime work for time spent getting a booster vaccine shot or additional dose outside their tour of duty.  Employees are also authorized up to two days of administrative leave for recovery if they experience adverse effects from a booster shot.

In the case of booster shots, this policy may be applied retroactively to the time when authorized booster shots became available (i.e., no earlier than September 22, 2021, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to allow for the use of a single booster dose). In the case of additional doses, this policy may be applied retroactively to the time when authorized additional doses became available (i.e., no earlier than August 12, 2021, when the FDA amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals).

Yes. For vaccinations received after July 29, 2021, employees may receive up to four hours of administrative leave per dose to accompany a family member to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. If an employee needs to spend less time accompanying a family member who is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, only the needed amount of administrative leave should be granted. Family member is defined by OPM at: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/fact-sheets/definitions-related-to-family-member-and-immediate-relative-for-purposes-of-sick-leave/.

Employees should obtain advance approval from their supervisor before using administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccination purposes. The EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 – disease/virus prevention) should be used for time off for to accompany a family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Administrative leave may be granted retroactively to July 29, 2021, for employees who used personal leave to accompany a family member to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Employees will need to engage with their EAGLE Administrator to process a timecard correction in EAGLE to convert previously approved annual or sick leave to accompany a family member to obtain the COVID-19 vaccination to the correct administrative leave code. Employees may not be credited with administrative leave or overtime work for time spent outside their tour of duty helping a family member get vaccinated.

Employees who experience an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination are authorized up to two workdays of administrative leave for recovery per vaccination dose. Documentation of an adverse reaction or recovery requirement following a COVID-19 vaccination is not typically required except in cases of suspected leave abuse or leave restriction.

The EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 - disease/virus prevention) should be used for time off for an adverse reaction.

If an employee requires additional time to recover from a vaccination dose, the employee may request to use personal paid leave to cover the additional recovery time.

  

Screening Testing Program

COVID-19 screening testing is required at least weekly for DLA civilian employees who are not fully vaccinated* (or whose vaccination status is unknown) when the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high or medium in the U.S. county or equivalent jurisdiction where the DoD facility is located. DLA civilian employees who are not fully vaccinated* and who telework on a full-time basis or work remotely are not subject to weekly testing but must provide a negative result (from a test performed within the prior 72 hours) for entry into a DoD facility located in the county where the COVID-19 Community Level is high or medium.

Installations outside the United States should consult country-level data for their host nation (HN) if local community-level data is unavailable. Case-rate information is available from the CDC at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#global-counts-rates and the World Health Organization at https://covid19.who.int/.

*Employees are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine. A booster is not required to meet the DoD definition of fully vaccinated at this time.

When a location begins the reentry process, supervisors will provide employees who are not fully vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown with a “Notice of Requirement” regarding mandatory enrollment in the COVID-19 Screening Testing Program. Employees who fall into this category will be asked to sign an “Acknowledgement of Resonsibility” memorandum. Weekly testing will be instituted when the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high or medium in the county or equivalent jurisdiction where the DoD facility is located.

For DLA civilians, COVID-19 screening testing is expected to take no more than one hour of regular duty time per test. If the test is completed at home, the employee receives duty time for the amount of time required to take the test only. The employee’s regular commuting time to the duty location should not be coded as regular duty hours.  If the employee must travel to purchase a test kit, no more than two hours of duty time is authorized for travel to purchase the test, to complete the test, and return to work.

Laboratory-administered confirmatory testing for initial positive screening test results is expected to take no more than two hours of duty time. This includes time for travel to the testing site, time to complete testing, and time to return home. 

DLA supervisors will maintain records of test results in strict accordance with guidelines for Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI) that may be captured.

An employee who is required to participate in the DLA COVID-19 Screening Testing Program but refuses testing  is subject to  discipline, which could include  removal from federal service.

If an employee enrolled in the DLA COVID-19 Screening Testing Program is unable to obtain a test from their DLA component, they should seek supervisor approval to purchase their own at-home testing kit or obtain a test from a local testing location. DLA will reimburse service members and DoD civilian employees for COVID-19 screening tests that require payment for purposes of meeting the screening testing requirement if the screening test is not available through the DLA component.

The screening testing requirement is not a valid reason for approval of full-time telework.

All DoD contractor personnel working onsite at a DoD facility will complete a DD Form 3150, “Contractor Personnel and Visitor Certification of Vaccination,” maintain a current completed copy, and show it upon request to authorized DoD personnel during periods when the local CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high or medium.

Onsite DoD contractor personnel who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who decline to provide information about their vaccination status will be subject to COVID-19 screening testing* at least weekly when the CDC COVID-19 Community Level for the facility in which they work is high or medium.

DoD contractor personnel as detailed above must present the results of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours as a condition of physical access to DoD buildings and leased spaces. DoD Contractor personnel who refuse required COVID-19 screening testing will be denied access to DoD facilities.  

*DLA is not responsible for supplying or administering the test.

Acceptable documentation is an official lab result document from any clinical lab-administered COVID-19 diagnostic test or an attestation of test results from a self-administered at-home COVID-19 test kit. Attestation is only accepted as documentation when a supplied or reimbursable at-home test kit is used along with a time stamped picture of the used test and the date clearly legible OR test result documentation of the test. If the self-administered at-home COVID-19 test kit provides documentation of test results (i.e. if results are provided to the employee via a website or app) those can be submitted in lieu of time stamped photo. 

Yes. Employees may use personal equipment to submit results; however, if the employee has appropriate government-furnished equipment, this device should be used as first preference before using personal devices to provide proof of test results.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 cannot access DLA installations.  The employee should contact his/her doctor, pharmacy, or clinical lab to administer a RT-PCR test to confirm the positive test result. If the employee is confirmed positive, he/she is required to isolate for five days and wear a mask for five days after isolation even if not required by the DLA installation.

Employees who recover from a recent COVID-19 infection and are asymptomatic after self-isolating in accordance with the CDC guidance are exempt from regular screening testing for 90 days following their documented date of recovery (the first day the employee is not required to isolate). Testing will resume after the 90 days have passed.

The supervisor may approve for the employee to telework if he/she is asymptomatic and telework-ready. If the employee is symptomatic, he/she may request to use accrued sick or annual leave, advanced sick or annual leave, earned credit hours, earned compensatory time, or request donated leave under the DLA Voluntary Leave Transfer Program.

  

Telework

The types of telework offered in DLA are:

  • Regular and Recurring Telework.  An employee is scheduled to work at an approved alternative worksite in a regular and recurring pattern (e.g. every Monday).
     
  • Situational Telework (sometimes referred to as periodic, ad hoc, or intermittent telework).  An employee’s telework is unscheduled, project-oriented, or irregular in nature.  Examples include telework to:
    • Continue operations when the traditional worksite is closed to the public, access is limited, or commuting is dangerous.
    • Practice telework to ensure readiness for continuing operations in the event of a crisis or national emergency.
    • Perform short-term projects or assignments that require concentration and uninterrupted blocks of time for successful completion.
    • Allow work by an employee who is temporarily unable to physically report to the traditional office (e.g., when recovering from illness or injury).
    • Complete web-based or other distance learning.
       
  • Unscheduled Telework.  An employee on an approved regular and recurring or situational telework agreement that elects unscheduled telework in the event of emergency situations (e.g. emergency based in the event of weather, Continuity of Operations Plan [COOP] event, etc.).
     

During the gradual reentry period, supervisors will use situational telework to adhere to occupancy limits and physical distancing requirements outlined in the DLA Reentry and Safety Plan. Supervisors may extend situational telework to individuals who self-identify as immunocompromised or being at high risk for severe disease on a case-by-case basis when a location is at HPCON levels higher than Level A.

Occupancy in the workplace will remain limited while a location is at an elevated HPCON. Given this limit and social distancing requirements, much of the telework-ready population will be in a transition period between maximum and occasional situational telework until the Agency reaches “normal” operations and HPCON 0. There is no requirement to formally change telework agreements during the period of gradual reentry. Managers may authorize the appropriate amount of situational telework IAW maximum occupancy levels specified in HPCON guidance.

Supervisors may authorize telework-ready employees who self-identify as immunocompromised or as being at high risk for severe disease to situationally telework during the gradual reentry period. Information on high-risk populations continues to evolve. Please see CDC's latest guidelines on this population. Employees in these categories who are telework-eligible but not on telework agreements are encouraged to submit a telework agreement to become telework-ready. Should it become necessary based on a mission-critical need, DLA has discretion to recall individuals who have been approved for telework under this provision.

Under normal circumstances, telework may not be used as a primary substitute for childcare, even when schools/childcare are closed. However, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued some additional guidance in light of the coronavirus situation many communities are dealing with. Under a coronavirus health crisis, telework-ready employees who have supervisor approval may telework when there are children or other persons requiring care and supervision in the alternate worksite (typically the employee’s home). However, the employee must carefully account for work and non-work hours and take appropriate leave to account for time spent away from normal work-related duties (i.e. time spent actually providing care-giving duties). The Department extended this exception to policy through Sept. 30, 2022. However, this extension should not be viewed as discretion to permit those with dependent care responsibilities to delay reentry until October 1. Employees should use the 30-day reentry notice period to establish appropriate child or eldercare in preparation for reentry. Short-term reentry delays based on temporary dependent care challenges may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

The DLA Telework Program promotes telework as an emergency management preparedness tool, which supports the continuity of operations during temporary circumstances such as hazardous weather, natural/man-made events, or short term family/medical emergencies. Regular/recurring telework for DLA service members is not permitted, however supervisors of military personnel have authority to approve situational telework. In a coronavirus health crisis, local leaders may direct DLA military members to telework. Documented telework agreements and training are recommended but not required for military members performing situational telework.

 

An employee facing this situation should contact their supervisor to discuss the connectivity issues and if there is any work available that could be done while teleworking. Under current workplace restrictions, most employees may not report to the office. Based on the employee/supervisor discussion, if there is no work and the connectivity issue is DLA systems related, then weather and safety leave would be appropriate until resolved.  If the issue is due to the employee’s personal internet service then personal leave would be appropriate until resolved.  The caveat is if it is a widespread connectivity issue which is impacting internet service in the employee’s community, then that potentially could be considered a situation appropriate for weather and safety leave until resolved.

Continued communication with the supervisor as to connectivity status, the cause, and potential work availability.  Please also refer to the telework protocol in the DLA Coronavirus Guidance.
 

Teleworking employees are expected to have sufficient work to perform throughout the workday. If, however, a teleworking employee does not have enough work then the employee must notify his or her supervisor and receive additional work or discuss options. In certain situations, supervisors may grant weather and safety leave to a telework-ready employee if it is determined there is no other work available to perform.  It is imperative the supervisor and employee follow the telework protocols posted in the DLA Coronavirus Guidance and regularly discuss work availability. 

Under normal circumstances, employees must physically report to the official worksite at least twice per bi-weekly pay period in order to maintain entitlement to their locality pay. This requirement is temporarily waived during emergency situations (i.e. pandemic) until the Agency resumes normal operation levels.

  

Leave Flexibility

Leave flexibilities for employees adversely affected by a coronavirus health crisis
 

An employee who has been diagnosed with coronavirus may use accrued sick leave or annual leave, request advanced sick leave or annual leave, request donated leave under the DLA Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) (DLA Common Access Card required), or use any earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, or earned credit hours.

In addition, an employee may invoke his or her entitlement to unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and take a total of up to 12 weeks of leave without pay for a serious health condition. An employee may substitute his or her accrued annual leave and sick leave, as appropriate, for unpaid leave under the FMLA.

An employee may use a total of up to 104 hours (13 days) of sick leave each leave year to provide general medical care to a family member and up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of sick leave to care for a family member who develops a serious health condition. If the employee has already used 13 days of sick leave for general family care and bereavement purposes, that amount must be subtracted from the 12 weeks (480 hours) of sick leave an employee may use to provide care for a family member with a serious health condition. In addition to sick leave, an employee may use annual leave, accrued compensatory time off, compensatory time off for travel, or credit hours. The employee also may request to receive donated annual leave through the DLA Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) (DLA Common Access Card required). Finally, an employee may invoke his or her entitlement to unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and take a total of up to 12 weeks (480 hours) of leave without pay to provide care for a spouse, son or daughter, or parent with a serious health condition.

If the employee is asymptomatic but took a COVID-19 test due to potential exposure, the employee is highly encouraged to not report to the worksiteThe employee may request to use annual leave, compensatory time, or credit hours. If the employee does not have any leave to his/her credit, he/she may request advanced annual leave or take leave without pay (LWOP). If the employee is telework-eligible and has an approved telework agreement, the supervisor may grant situational telework.

If the employee is symptomatic and is pending COVID-19 test results, the employee is highly encouraged to not report to the worksite. The employee may request to use annual leave, compensatory time, credit hours, or sick leave. If the employee does not have any leave to his/her credit, he/she may request advanced annual leave, advanced sick leave, request donated leave under the DLA Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) (DLA Common Access Card required), or LWOP.  If the employee is telework-eligible and has an approved telework agreement, the supervisor may grant situational telework if requested/the employee is able. 

Weather and Safety Leave may be authorized to a civilian employee under the following circumstances:

  • The employee is asymptomatic of COVID-19 and is directed by a medical professional, public health authority, commander or supervisor to stay home and is not telework-ready.
  • Other circumstances when an employee is not able to safely travel to or perform work at an approved location.

Weather and Safety Leave is not an entitlement and must be approved by a supervisor.

An employee must fulfill his or her daily basic work requirement (e.g., eight hours). For many reasons, an employee in this situation may want to bring a lunch to work. If the employee’s agency allows only 30 minutes for lunch, and he or she chooses to take 1.5 hours for lunch, the employee may request annual leave, other paid time off, or leave without pay to account for the additional hour. A lunch or other meal period is an agency-approved period of time in a non-pay or non-work status. A lunch or other meal period is not an entitlement.

  

Workplace Practices

Contact your healthcare provider immediately and follow their instructions, then contact your supervisor to discuss telework and leave options. Your supervisor will conduct a risk assessment, taking into account various factors.

Asymptomatic personnel with potential exposure to COVID-19 based on close contact who are: (1) not fully vaccinated; (2) are more than 5 months out from their second mRNA vaccine dose (i.e., Pfizer BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna/Spikevax) and have not received a COVID-19 booster dose; or (3) more than 2 months out from their Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine and have not received a COVID-19 booster dose will remain out of the workplace for 5 days. Regardless of vaccination status, asymptomatic personnel with potential exposure to COVID-19 based on close contact must wear a mask in the workplace for 10 days, even if mask wearing otherwise is not required by DoD guidance.

If you are asymptomatic and must remain out of the workplace, then you would be expected to telework if telework-ready or be placed on weather and safety leave if not a telework program participant. Remain at home and follow self-observation or quarantine guidance as appropriate.  If after the observation period ends you show no signs of the virus and you have been cleared by your healthcare provider to return to work, notify your supervisor and do so. If you develop symptoms, then you would be placed on appropriate leave (sick, annual, credit hours, etc.) for the time spent recovering from the virus.  When you are cleared to return to duty by your healthcare provider, notify your supervisor and do so.

When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is high in the county where a DoD installation or facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is required for all Service members, DoD civilian employees, onsite DoD contractor personnel (collectively, "DoD personnel"), and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. The screening testing program shall be utilized in that installation or facility.

When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is medium in the county where a DoD installation or facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is not required for DoD personnel or visitors. The screening testing program shall be utilized in that installation or facility.

When the CDC COVID-19 Community Level is low in the county where a DoD installation or facility is located, indoor mask-wearing is not required for DoD personnel or visitors. The screening testing program is not required for that installation or facility.

Individuals may choose to wear a mask regardless of the COVID-19 Community Level.

Face masks worn in the workplace must consistently cover the nose and mouth and meet current CDC guidance. They also must not include symbols or sayings that might be considered offensive to other employees. If an employee is unable to comply with this requirement due to an existing medical condition, the individual should request information regarding the reasonable accommodation process from his/her supervisor.

Current masking guidelines will be posted in each DLA installation, facility and worksite. DLA employees required to go into a worksite who are unsure of the local masking status should check with their local chain of command. 

As with any illness, any medical diagnosis by a supervisor is very problematic and should be avoided. However, when a supervisor observes an employee exhibiting signs of illness, he or she may express general concern regarding the employee’s health and remind the employee of his or her leave options for seeking medical attention, such as requesting sick or annual leave. Employees on approved sick or annual leave will continue to be paid during their absence. Although leave is generally voluntary, an agency may direct an employee to take leave. Directing an employee to take leave may constitutes enforced leave, which is an adverse action (see discussion in next question).

Excused absence (administrative leave) is not an entitlement, and supervisors are not required to grant it. An agency’s determination to provide excused absence should be consistent with the Administration’s government-wide policy on granting excused absence during a coronavirus health crisis. Requiring an employee to use leave when he or she has not requested leave is very rare, and can only be done under certain circumstances and procedures. Contact your servicing DLA Human Resources Office for additional information.

Unless DLA has evidence (suspicion is not enough) that an employee is physically unable to perform the job or poses a risk to himself/herself or others, it may not prohibit the employee from reporting to work. Such action would constitute a constructive suspension and would be an adverse action requiring advance notice, opportunity to reply, agency decision, and possibly appeal or grievance rights. Supervisors should consult their servicing DLA Human Resources Office, J1 Customer Account Manager before refusing to allow an employee to report for work or to return to work so that proper procedures will be followed and constructive suspension issues can be considered.

Management may require a medical examination when the position occupied by the employee contains properly developed physical or medical requirements (see 5 CFR § 339.301). Most positions do not have established physical or medical requirements. If the criteria are met for requiring a medical examination and the employee refuses the exam, he or she may be disciplined, up to and including removal from Federal service. Requiring a medical examination based on perception of an employee’s coronavirus-like symptoms is very problematic and should be avoided.

However, when a supervisor observes an employee exhibiting signs of illness, the supervisor may express concern regarding the employee’s health and remind the employee of his or her leave options for seeking medical attention, such as requesting sick or annual leave. If the employee has no leave available, supervisors may approve requests for advanced leave or leave without pay based on agency policy. Supervisors must approve requests for sick leave when the employee would, as determined by appropriate health authorities or by a health care provider, jeopardize the health of others by his or her presence on the job because of exposure to a communicable disease.

  

Benefits

As of March 18, 2020, all Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) carriers must provide coverage, waive cost-sharing, and waive prior authorization or other medical management requirements for testing for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 or the diagnosis of Coronavirus Disease 2019, known as COVID-19, as well as testing to detect the presence of antibodies against the virus, and office visits related to such testing.

Additionally, when preventive services or vaccines for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are available, FEHB carriers must cover them without any cost-sharing.  Employees should also review the FAQs regarding coverage of Over-The-Counter (OTC) COVID-19 tests. 


Employees should contact their health plan provider with specific questions regarding their FEHB plans’ coverage and reimbursement, including reimbursement for tests purchased before January 15, 2022.

To ensure FEHB plan members have uninterrupted access to necessary services, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance to carriers regarding their role in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. OPM is encouraging enrollees to reach out to their plan providers directly for details on the services available to them – including availability of telehealth services, possible waiver of out-of-pocket expenses, testing center locations, and procedures to follow to ensure timely care in the event they become infected. Several carriers also have Q&A resources posted on their individual websites. To obtain your plan contact information, please refer to your insurance card or you can obtain your plan brochure and contact information online. You can also contact the DLA Benefits Center at 1-877-692-0276 for assistance in obtaining plan/contact information. 

The CARES Act offers temporary loan and withdrawal options to TSP participants affected by COVID-19.  The loan options described below became available in June, and the withdrawal option described here will be available in mid-July 2020. Both the loan and withdrawal options are available to you only if you can certify that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You have been diagnosed with the virus SARS–CoV–2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19) by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Your spouse or dependent (as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) has been diagnosed with such virus or disease by such a test.
  • You are experiencing adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, being furloughed or laid off or having work hours reduced due to such virus or disease, being unable to work due to lack of child care due to such virus or disease, closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to such virus or disease, or other factors as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury (or the Secretary's delegate).

Increased maximum loan amount
The maximum loan amount is increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and the portion of your available balance you can borrow is raised from 50% to 100%. The deadline for applying for a loan with this increased maximum will be in September 2020.

Temporary suspension of loan payments
You may suspend your obligation to make payments on your TSP loan or loans for 12 months, which will also extend the term of your loan by 12 months. This applies to existing loans and loans taken in the remainder of 2020. You have until Dec. 31, 2020, to have your payments suspended.

CARES Act Withdrawal
You may make a one-time withdrawal of up to $100,000 from a civilian or uniformed services account. For those still in federal service, the usual requirements that you be at least 59½ years old or certify that you meet specific financial hardship criteria are waived. This withdrawal will be eligible for the favorable tax treatment with all of the same options and restrictions. The deadline for applying for this withdrawal will be in December 2020.

For more information, please visit: https://www.tsp.gov/whatsnew/Content/index.html.

TSP will temporarily accept certain digital signatures on TSP forms without requiring notarized signatures. All forms signed electronically with personal identity verification (PIV) or common access card (CAC) credentials may temporarily leave the notary section blank. TSP will also temporarily accept handwritten signatures without notarized signatures. Eligible participants using the digital signature process must use their unexpired PIV credentials or CAC to sign their forms before they are submitted to TSP.

Effective July 1, 2020, Flexible Spending Account participants have 60 days to may make a one-time change (increase or decrease) in the amount of their annual election in each FSA account in which they are enrolled. Eligible accounts include Health Care FSA (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA), or Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA). Changes are effective prospectively, which is the first pay period after approval by FSAFEDS.  Accordingly, participants cannot receive a refund of allotments from pay they have already made to FSA accounts year-to-date. In addition, participants cannot decrease their election below the amount already allotted to the FSA account OR the amount already reimbursed for eligible expenses, whichever is greater.

This limited period to increase or decrease the FSAFEDS election should not be confused with the existing opportunity to increase or decrease DCFSA or HCFSA elections through Sept. 30 based on a QLE such as cost or coverage changes in childcare or elder care. This 60-day limited period affects both HCFSAs as well as DCFSAs, does not require the participant to establish a QLE, and does not preclude a participant from submitting a QLE change before or after submitting a change during this 60-day limited period, provided the QLE is submitted no later than Sept. 30, 2020.

The following should also be noted regarding newly updated information for existing participants:

  • FEDVIP participants who made an election to a DCFSA in the plan year ending Dec. 31, 2019, can now use any 2019 funds remaining in their DCFSA account until Dec. 31, 2020.  The extended claim period is automatic for qualified participants.
  • The IRS is allowing an increase in the carryover amounts for HCFSA and LEX HCFSA from $500 to $550, beginning with funds remaining at the end of 2020 and carried over into 2021.

To request a change, participants must notify FSAFEDS within 60 days of July 1, 2020. Participants can call to speak with an FSAFEDS Benefits Counselor toll-free at 877-FSAFEDS (372-3337), TTY: 866-353-8058, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time or access their account by visiting www.fsafeds.com.

A federal employee who contracts COVID-19 while in performance of their job duties would have the full coverage of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) for related medical treatment and for wage loss or disability related to that condition or associated complications. For more information, visit the DLA Human Resources website (DoD CAC required for access).

Exposure to COVID-19 alone does not constitute a work-related injury entitling an employee to benefits under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA). The employee must actually be diagnosed with COVID-19 to potentially be afforded coverage. To establish coverage, the employee may be required to submit a medical report from a qualified physician as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 8101(2) reflecting a positive test result for COVID-19 based on established employment-related exposure to COVID-19.  Additional information may be obtained at the Department of Labor website.

It depends on your location. In general, there are three options: U.S. military medical treatment facilities (MTFs); medical facilities accessible through negotiated national (non-U.S.) or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); or private local medical providers. If the local treatment provider or facility requires advance payment for emergency services, an employee can request advance payment.  The prepayment is a reimbursable loan made to the employee and paid directly to the service provider (i.e. a local host country doctor or hospital) for emergency health care. For additional information, see Enterprise SOP 1404.03-064, Prepaid Costs for Emergency Health Care Abroad (DLA Common Access Card required). For guidance concerning individual locations and circumstances, employees should contact OCONUS supervisor.