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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.
 

  

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.).
     

Effective April 1, 2020, DLA reduced ONSITE operations to emergency and mission-essential/critical personnel only, i.e., only employees who must be physically present to perform such functions.  These mission-essential functions include:  onsite functions in support of COVID-19 operations and other contingency operations; onsite operations necessary to preserve and protect life, health, and safety of personnel and installations; onsite activities necessary to maintain command and control of DLA operations that cannot be performed remotely through telework; onsite operations supporting Service industrial activities, including receipt, storage, and issue of material through distribution centers and forward industrial retail supply, storage, and distribution which require physical onsite activity; essential disposition services in direct support of COVID-19, contingency operations, and other direct functions directly supporting warfighter mission-essential functions; and other activities necessitating onsite presence to support continuity of mission-essential functions.  Non-mission-essential functions and activities that require onsite physical presence (e.g., audit inventories, classroom training, etc.) will be deferred until normal mission operations resume.

Mission-essential and non-mission-essential activities that can be accomplished through telework will continue.

Military members should consult with their supervisors to determine their status, to include situational telework.

Telework-eligible employees who are temporarily barred from telework will now be permitted to situationally telework after consultation with their supervisors.
 

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 March 1, 2022. Employees who are not telework-ready may request annual leave or other paid or unpaid time off to care for family members when schools are closed.

Telework-ready employees considered to be at a higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 are to situationally telework. 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. Employees in these categories who are not telework-ready may receive weather and safety leave at the supervisor’s discretion.

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.
 

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.

 

In light of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, restrictions on telework for new employees have been temporarily waived. New employees who are telework-eligible are now immediately eligible to situationally telework.

Telework-eligible employees are strongly encouraged to submit a telework agreement for either regular/recurring telework or situational telework so they are deemed telework-ready. Once on an agreement, the following steps should be completed as soon as possible.

  • Complete DLA’s telework training course available in the Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Become oriented with how to telework, test connectivity, and ensure equipment works properly.


Employees who are telework-eligible may submit an agreement in Eagle Telework Management (ETM) for both situational and regular/recurring telework. Please visit this link for instructions (DLA Common Access Card required) on how to submit a telework agreement in Eagle Telework Management (ETM).

ETM is DLA’s official system of record for telework agreement. Under normal circumstances, all telework agreements must be submitted through ETM. Given the current emergency situation, employees who do not have access to ETM may contact the AskHR Inbox at askHR@dla.mil to request PDF copies of the telework agreement and safety checklist. During this time, employees may submit paper/PDF copies of telework agreements to their supervisor for approval, but should also submit into ETM as soon as possible.
 

Telework-eligible employees who choose not to submit a telework agreement will be carried on weather and safety leave if asymptomatic. If an employees becomes symptomatic, then sick leave is to be used.

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. 
 

Employees identified as “Emergency-essential” may not be permitted to telework and are expected to report to the official worksite.
 

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. During an emergency situation, however, telework-ready employees who are eligible to situationally telework in a pattern that is effectively full-time telework, are not required to meet the normal bi-weekly reporting requirements to maintain entitlement to their locality pay.
 

Mission-essential employees are expected to work, but depending on mission requirements and whether the position is telework-eligible, could be permitted to work from an alternate worksite. Consult your supervisor to determine if telework is an option for your mission-essential position. Mission-essential employees whose duties are conducive to telework should be prepared to be recalled back into the physical worksite should mission requirements necessitate it.
 

Yes. The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 states that “each executive agency shall incorporate telework into the continuity of operations plan of that agency.” Telework-ready employees can be leveraged during a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Plan activation. If DLA’s COOP plan is in operation, that plan “shall supersede any telework policy” and allow greater flexibility to expand telework to a larger segment of the workforce in support of agency operations so as many telework-eligible employees as possible are working during a COOP activation.
 

Employees currently barred from teleworking may now be approved to telework (subject to supervisory discretion) unless, as described in the Telework Enhancement Act, an employee was disciplined for AWOL for more than 5 days or for accessing pornography on a government computer.
 

  

Leave Flexibility

Leave flexibilities for employees adversely affected by a coronavirus health crisis
 

The American Rescue Plan Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund provision provides up to 600 hours (15 weeks) of emergency paid leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $2800 per pay period) when an employee is unable to work because he/she is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. The Government set aside $570 million in an emergency leave fund for federal employees to draw from. Please see the complete Interim Guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for more information.
 
An employee who has been diagnosed with coronavirus may also 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.

This is a new, temporary paid leave program established in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) intended to help Federal employees who are impacted by COVID-19. Unlike other leave programs, ARPA EPL is set up as an Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund. Employees may request leave and, if eligible, DLA can conditionally grant ARPA EPL and submit a request for reimbursement to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which administers the fund. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

If an employee is eligible for ARPA EPL, the employee may use EPL if unable to work because the employee meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • Subject to COVID-19 governmental quarantine or isolation order/advisory;
  • Self-quarantining due to COVID-19 concerns on the advice of a health care provider;
  • Caring for an individual subject to (1) such order/advisory or (2) such advice;
  • Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and actively seeking (i.e., taking immediate steps to     obtain) a medical diagnosis;
  • Caring for a child when required because, due to COVID-19 precautions, the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child is participating in virtual learning instruction, or the child’s care provider is unavailable;
  • Experiencing any other substantially similar condition (as approved by OPM);
  • Caring for a family member (i) who has a mental or physical disability or who is 55 years of age or older and (ii) who is incapable of self-care, without regard to whether another individual other than the employee is available to care for such family member, if the place of care for such family member is closed or the direct care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19; and/or
  • Obtaining immunization related to COVID-19 or recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or    condition related to such immunization (after using any administrative leave).
     

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.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund provision provides up to 600 hours of paid leave where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to federal, state, or local government order or advice of a health care provider) at) the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $2800 per pay period). The Government set aside $570 million in an emergency leave fund for federal employees to draw from. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.

Federal employees became eligible for EPL when the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law March 11, 2021. ARPA EPL may not be used for periods of time before March 11, 2021, and is available until Sept. 30, 2021, unless the applicable fund is exhausted before then. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

No, ARPA EPL is a new and separate category of paid leave created on March 11, 2021, when President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. ARPA EPL has different requirements, qualifying circumstances, and features than the emergency paid sick leave that was available under FFCRA in 2020. Time codes associated with the FFCRA emergency paid sick leave cannot be used for EPL. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

The granting of any ARPA EPL is conditional as it is dependent on the availability of money in the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund. EPL is available until Sept. 30, unless the $570 million fund is exhausted before then. If the fund becomes exhausted, any ARPA EPL that was conditionally approved and cannot be paid for out of the fund will have to be canceled and other leave substituted for it. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

Per DoD policy, employees are granted administrative leave when obtaining COVID-19 vaccinations (up to four hours per vaccine to include travel time) and, if needed, for recovery time (up to two workdays per dose). The use of administrative leave for vaccinations and recovery time preserves money in the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund for other qualifying circumstances. If the employee needs additional time to recover from the vaccine beyond the two workdays authorized, then ARPA EPL could be requested for that purpose. As a reminder, the time and attendance reason code for administrative leave for the COVID-19 vaccine (LV-23) is different from ARP EPL (LV-DW).
 

Full-time employees experiencing qualifying circumstances can receive a maximum of 600 hours (15 weeks) of EPL. For part-time employees, the total hours are prorated based on the employee’s tour of duty, e.g., a half-time employee can receive up to 300 hours. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

Federal employees receive the same pay for ARPA EPL hours they would receive if they were on annual leave.
 

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund provision provides up to 600 hours of emergency paid leave when an employee is unable to work because he/she is caring for a son or daughter where the school or place of care of the has been closed; if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models; or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions. The Government set aside $570 million in an emergency leave fund for federal employees to draw from. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

The school closure must be due to COVID-19 precautions for an employee to be eligible for ARPA EPL.  Therefore, an employee is not eligible based on the school being closed for summer.  The employee is eligible for ARPA EPL only if his/her regular summer care provider is closed due to COVID-19 precautions and cannot care for the employee’s child(ren). Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

 

Yes, an employee may be granted ARPA EPL hours only to the extent that the value of those EPL hours in a biweekly pay period does not exceed $2,800 for a full-time employee or an equivalent limit for a part-time employee (e.g., $1,400 for a half-time employee).  Click here to calculate your biweekly limit. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

Employees must complete an EPL request form and sign a written agreement to use EPL. The forms and information required for each form are detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

Documentation requirements vary depending on the qualifying circumstance. The leave request form describes the required documentation. Employees need to make certain certifications and may need to provide explanations in certain circumstances. DLA may request supplemental information, explanations, or certifications if it believes it is necessary.
 

As indicated in the written agreement, employees (a) may substitute other available paid leave or paid time off or (b) will retroactively be placed on leave without pay for the affected period and voluntarily provide monetary reimbursement to the agency to cover the resulting overpayment debt, limited to 15 percent of an employee’s disposable pay except in the case of a final check at the time of separation from employment. An employee may seek to apply advanced annual or advanced sick leave (as appropriate) under the normal rules governing such advances of leave. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

ARPA EPL should be coded with time code “LV – Administrative Leave” and reason code “DW – American Rescue Plan Emergency Paid Leave.”
 

Employees may request to retroactively convert other categories of leave taken to ARPA EPL, if they meet the eligibility requirements. Timecard entries must be corrected to “LV-DW.”
 

 

The law provides that an employee’s total service used in computing their retirement annuity must be reduced by the amount of ARPA EPL used. EPL is treated like other paid leave for all other retirement purposes.  For example, EPL time is creditable service for establishing annuity entitlement, computing the high-3 average salary, and applying retirement deductions and agency contributions.
 

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 worksite.  The employee may request to use annual leave, compensatory time, credit hours, or emergency paid leave under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund. 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 asymptomatic but took a COVID-19 test without potential exposure, the employee may report to the worksite. The employee may request to use annual leave, compensatory time, credit hours, or emergency paid leave under the ARPA Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund if ordered to quarantine by a federal, state, or local public health official. If the employee does not have any leave to his/her credit, he/she may request advanced annual leave or take 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, sick leave, or emergency paid leave under the ARPA Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund.  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. 
 

DLA may ask for supporting medical documentation for an extended period of sick leave. DLA will consider an employee’s self-certification and medical certification and supporting medical documentation as administratively acceptable evidence as to the reason for an absence for any of the purposes described in DLA Instruction 1424.01, Leave Administration (DLA Common Access Card required).
 

An employee may use accrued sick leave when he or she would, as determined by appropriate health authorities or a health care provider, jeopardize the health of others because of his or her exposure to a communicable disease. An employee may also take accrued annual leave or other paid or unpaid time off if he or she was exposed to a communicable disease.

In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund provision provides up to 600 hours (15 weeks) of emergency paid leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $2800 per pay period) when an employee is unable to work because he/she is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. The Government set aside $570 million in an emergency leave fund for federal employees to draw from. Complete information is detailed in the DLA ARPA EPL Guidance.
 

An employee may use a total of up to 104 hours (13 days) of sick leave each leave year to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or attend the funeral of a family member. In addition, an employee may request to use accrued annual leave or other paid time off, such as earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, and earned credit hours.
 

Employees may substitute regular sick leave if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or to care for a family member experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Regular sick leave is not appropriate to care for a child under 18 years of age whose school or place of care is closed or childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. Employees may substitute annual leave for this purpose.

Asymptomatic employees directed to quarantine by public health authorities, either by possible direct exposure to COVID-19 or traveling from a country requiring mandatory quarantine, assigned to telework-eligible positions with signed telework agreements are expected to telework during the quarantine period. Asymptomatic employees not eligible for telework receive weather and safety leave for the quarantine period. Employees may substitute sick leave for annual leave, leave without pay, etc. as appropriate.

Please see the complete Interim Guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for more information.
 

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.
  • The employee is at higher risk to COVID-19 as identified by the CDC and 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.
 

Weather and safety leave only applies to Federal civilian employees. Heath status of family or other household members has no bearing on the approval or disapproval of weather and safety leave. Current civilian employees who are non-mission-essential and non-telework-ready may be granted weather and safety leave regardless of whether or not a spouse or other household member is in a high-risk category. Approval/disapproval of weather and safety leave is subject to mission needs. Telework-ready employees would not receive weather and safety leave for the situation described. 
 

A mission-essential asymptomatic employee may request annual leave for the period of absence from his or her job. An employee has a right to take annual leave, subject to the right of the supervisor to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken. In addition, an employee may request to use other paid time off, such as earned compensatory time off, earned compensatory time off for travel, or earned credit hours. 
 

If you are not designated as mission- or emergency-essential, then you would be granted weather and safety leave. If you are designated as mission- or emergency-essential, then you must report to the duty station.
 

Supervisors are encouraged to approve annual leave as much as possible throughout the leave year so employees have a chance to rest and recuperate and spend time with family and friends. Leave is earned, and it’s important that supervisors balance the need to meet the critical agency mission with the need of employees to take much-deserved breaks throughout the leave year. Employees who are using sick leave, donated leave, or other paid time off during the COVID-19 health crisis must also be diligent about scheduling and using any excess annual leave (“use or lose” annual leave) by the end of the leave year if at all possible.

However, if an employee schedules “use or lose” annual leave in writing before the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year and the leave is canceled due to an exigency of the public business (i.e., an urgent need for the employee to be at work), the employee may request restoration of the forfeited annual leave. Supervisors may cancel employees’ scheduled annual leave and have the right to schedule the time at which annual leave may be taken. DLA has no obligation or authority to reimburse an employee for costs incurred by an employee resulting from the cancellation of leave.
 

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund authorizes employees emergency paid leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. All DLA civilian employees are covered by the emergency paid leave provision.

This provision provides up to 600 hours (15 weeks) of paid leave when an employee is unable to work because he/she is:

  1.  Subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  2. Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  3. Caring for an individual who is subject to such an order or has been so advised;
  4. Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  5. Caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed; if the school of such son or daughter requires or makes optional a virtual learning instruction model or requires or makes optional a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning instruction models; or the childcare provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions;
  6. Experiencing any other substantially similar condition;
  7. Caring for a family member with a mental or physical disability or who is 55 years of age or older and incapable of self-care, without regard to whether another individual other than the employee is available to care for such family member, if the place of care for such family member is closed or the direct care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19; or
  8. Obtaining immunization related to COVID-19 or is recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to such immunization.

The emergency paid leave is in addition to other types of paid leave but may not be used at the same time as any other type of paid leave. The leave benefits are capped at $2800 per pay period and may be used from March 11, 2021 through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2021. The employee’s federal retirement service computation date is amended by the amount of emergency paid leave used, i.e., time spent on emergency paid leave does not count towards the employee’s retirement benefits. Please see the complete Interim Guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for more information.


There are a number of alternatives for an employee who has exhausted his or her accrued annual and sick leave and any additional leave authorized under ARP. An employee may request advance annual and/or sick leave or request leave without pay (LWOP). The amount of annual leave that may be advanced may not exceed the amount the employee will accrue during the remainder of the leave year. A maximum of 30 days of sick leave may be advanced for an employee’s serious disability or ailment. In addition, an employee who has a personal or family medical emergency and who has exhausted his or her own available paid leave may be eligible to receive donated annual through the DLA Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP) (DLA Common Access Card required). 

No, an employee may request donated leave before he or she exhausts available annual and sick leave. However, before an employee may become an approved leave recipient under the DLA Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP), the agency must determine that the employee’s absence from duty without available paid leave because of a medical emergency is (or is expected to be) at least 24 hours. (For part-time employees or employees on uncommon tours of duty, the period absence without paid leave is prorated.) An employee may receive donated annual leave under the DLA VLTP when he or she becomes an approved leave recipient. Under the VLTP, an employee is required to exhaust his or her available paid leave before receiving donated annual leave.
 

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.
 

Depending on the type of leave, a supervisor can deny or cancel leave to a civilian who is traveling outside the local commuting area based on mission requirements. A supervisor may not deny personal leave solely because an employee is traveling outside of the local commuting area or to a CDC-designated level 2 or 3 area.
 

Employees should review the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Fact Sheet: Effect of Extended Leave Without Pay (LWOP) (or Other Nonpay Status) on Federal Benefits and Programs.
 

Effective June 19, 2020, the Department granted an exception to policy, removing the one-year time limit on TOAs effective between March 13, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020. This exception was granted due to numerous civilian employees supporting DoD’s whole of government response to COVID-19 without the opportunity to use their TOA. Therefore, if your TOA was effective during the period of March 13, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020, your TOA will not be subject to the one-year time limitation and those hours will be restored. The exception to policy is specific to TOAs within this specific date window. TOAs effective on or before March 12, 2019, OR on or after Oct. 1, 2020, will be subject to the normal one-year limitation.
 

The exception does not remove the 80-hour TOA award limit. The amount of time off granted to any one individual in any one leave year may not exceed 80 hours.
 

No. TOAs cannot be transferred between DoD Components or outside of DoD. Therefore, if an employee separates or transfers from DLA, they will forfeit their TOA and the exception no longer applies. Employees are encouraged to use their TOAs in a timely manner to avoid forfeiture of TOA hours.
 

Yes. Supervisors are still encouraged to recognize their employees through monetary and non-monetary awards. However, supervisors should be mindful of the total leave hours (i.e., use or lose or TOA) their employees have before granting additional time off.
 

No.
 

 

Vaccine Availability

The Defense Department has full confidence in the safety and efficacy of vaccines approved by the FDA and has stated it is procuring enough federally approved vaccines for active-duty military members and their family members, retirees, reserve components, DoD civilian employees, and contractors. DoD is currently giving initial priority to healthcare workers, first responders, deploying forces, and certain other employees responsible for maintaining essential national security functions. As a defense agency, DLA falls under the DoD Vaccination Schema. As such, DLA leaders at all locations are working with local military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and where applicable other federal authorities and local public health authorities to facilitate opportunities for DLA employees who are willing to volunteer to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. When doses of vaccine are made available, DLA employees in the appropriate priority phase who have volunteered will be advised.  Employees willing to voluntarily receive the vaccine are encouraged to discuss the matter with their personal healthcare provider and follow communications from local and state health departments and take advantage of any opportunity available to them through their community. Information on vaccine safety and efficacy is available through the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At this time, there is no enterprise-wide plan to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to employees at DLA worksites. The approved COVID-19 vaccines have specific requirements for storage and distribution that make it infeasible for DLA to manage this task for our widely distributed workforce. However, DLA leaders at all locations are working with local military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs), and where applicable other federal authorities and local public health authorities to facilitate opportunities for DLA employees who are willing to volunteer to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Employees willing to voluntarily receive the vaccine are encouraged to discuss the matter with their personal healthcare provider and follow communications from local health departments and take advantage of any opportunity available to them through their community. Detailed information on the safety and efficacy of the approved COVID-19 vaccines is available through the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 

Available COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in the United States under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), so immunization against COVID-19 is completely voluntary. No employee will be compelled to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Detailed information on the safety and efficacy of the approved COVID-19 vaccines is available through the Military Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
 

In areas of substantial or high community transmission, all service members, federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors must wear a mask while indoors on installations or other DoD facilities regardless of vaccination status. Substantial or high community transmission is reported by county on the CDC COVID Data Tracker website.

In areas not reporting substantial or high community transmission, fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask at DLA facilities, though they may choose to do so. Personnel are considered fully vaccinated when two full weeks have passed since the second dose of a two-shot vaccine or the one dose of a single-shot vaccine.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a face mask that consistently covers the nose and mouth in all indoor situations at DLA worksites regardless of community transmission 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. 
 

No. COVID vaccinations are completely voluntary. DLA is facilitating vaccine availability, but not requiring employees to be vaccinated so has no authority to provide any form of compensation in this circumstance. Due to the urgent need, many facilities are holding vaccination clinics seven days a week and at all hours. If you are willing to be vaccinated, we encourage you to take advantage of the first opportunity available to you, even if it is outside of your working hours.
 

If you initially elect to receive the vaccine and later change your mind or vice versa, please alert your supervisor. Allowing your name to be added to the list for your location does not obligate you to take a vaccination. Likewise, if you add your name to the DLA list at your work location and you subsequently receive a vaccination from another source, such as your personal healthcare provider or community public health department, please let your supervisor know so you can be removed from the DLA list.
 

You would stay on the list and be notified when the next opportunity becomes available.
 

We encourage employees who voluntarily agree to receive COVID-19 vaccination to accept the shots from whatever official/reputable source becomes available to them first.
 

Yes. DLA employees are authorized up to four hours of duty hours per COVID-19 vaccination event. This includes time spent traveling to and from the vaccination location, time at the vaccination location, and, if needed, for a reasonable amount of recovery time. The four hours of duty time 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 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. Employees are not authorized to receive overtime hours for purposes of receiving a vaccination outside their scheduled tour of duty.

The EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 - disease/virus prevention) should be used for time off for any associated adverse reaction.  Employees receiving a vaccination outside of scheduled work hours are not authorized overtime pay or compensatory time off. 

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 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.

No. If an employee receives their vaccination outside of their scheduled work hours, they will not be granted overtime pay or compensatory time off.

Yes. If an employee’s COVID-19 vaccination requires more than one vaccination event, up to four hours of duty hours will be granted for each vaccination event.

Under usual circumstances, an employee will be granted no more than four hours of duty time for each vaccination event. However, supervisors may grant additional time as needed for extenuating circumstances. 

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. Employees are not authorized to receive overtime hours for purposes of receiving a vaccination outside their scheduled tour of duty.

The EAGLE timecard code for administrative leave (LN) and reason code (23 - disease/virus prevention) should be used for the vaccinations and for time off for any associated 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.

 

Reconstitution FRAMEWORK AND GUIDANCE

The DLA Reconstitution Plan is based on the joint Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) memorandum that provides planning guidance for agencies to return their workforce to standard operations as public health conditions and other factors permit.  Resuming operations is outlined in a three-phase approach to lifting shelter-in-place across the United States based on a set of public health criteria codified in the White House-issued Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. Returning employees to DLA sites under the reconstitution plan starts with state and regional assessments of the COVID-19 pandemic for those areas, but also the operating status of schools, daycares, and public transportation availability.  Each state or region is to satisfy gating criteria to progress in phases.
 

Gating criteria are data-driven conditions that must be applied and satisfied before proceeding to the next phase in the DLA COVID-19 Reconstitution Guidance and Framework.  The Senior Accountability Representative (SAR) at each DLA location is responsible for collecting state/region data, assessing risk, and making recommendations to the Senior Accountable Officer (SAO) for phase movement.  To progress in phase, the duty location area (50-mile radius) should meet the state/region and DLA gating criteria for 14 days. Per the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, gating criteria includes a two-week (14-day) period with: stay-at-home orders lifted; downward trend of influenza-like illnesses; downward trend of COVID-like syndromic cases; downward trend of documented or positive cases as percent of total tests; local hospital ability to meet medical care demand; and local DoD Health Protection Conditions (HPCONs) and installation guidance align/support change in gates.
 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, mission-essential employees have reported to the worksite to accomplish DLA customer requirements.  During Phase 1, employees designated as mission essential and teleworking may begin reporting to the duty location using staging and staggered work arrangements.  In addition, organizations may begin returning to the duty location employees who are not eligible for telework or eligible but not on a telework agreement (generally those on weather and safety leave who are not high-risk), and employees in positions that require accessing classified materials. Phase 2 may include the return of those who do not self-identify as high-risk using staging and staggered work arrangements.  In Phase 3, all employees return to normal reporting schedules including those who self-identify as being high-risk for COVID-19 or care for a family member who is high-risk.
 

As noted in OMB’s guidance, M-20-23, Aligning Federal Agency Operations with the National Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a phased return from maximum telework is appropriate and encouraged as local conditions improve.  In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, employers with employees who self-identified as being at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19 should maximize telework for those workers until Phase 3, i.e., the last phase of the reconstitution process. In addition, to the extent possible, employers are encouraged to consider telework options for employees caring for vulnerable household members until their state or region has entered Phase 3 in accordance with the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.
 

Yes.  DLA will review the full spectrum of available workplace flexibilities, including telework and flexible work schedules, to support employees with young children in the household and other dependent care obligations.
 

Before DLA reconstitution plans may be executed, collective bargaining obligations must be met, and the appropriate union representatives should be notified as soon as possible regarding these plans. Agency officials should coordinate with offices of human resources, facilities, and other appropriate stakeholders to determine the appropriate time period to transition back to normal operations.

Each agency activity will have a different plan to put in place based on conditions of the state/county they reside in or that of their detachment sites.  The plans are locally developed and require union involvement or negotiation prior to effecting the plan.  Where a union represents employees from more than one DLA entity, it is practical to involve all DLA activities and bargain for a single agreement.
 

DLA employees work in vastly varied working environments. Supervisors are working hard to identify and mitigate risks based on local conditions and incorporating lessons learned from industrial sites, where employees have been working onsite throughout the pandemic. In all situations, DLA is following expert guidance on protecting the workforce including the cleaning/disinfecting protocols aligned with CDC recommendations. Cloth face coverings (masks) are being provided for employees returning to worksites. In situations where maintenance of six feet distance is not possible, employees are required to wear the face coverings. Depending on the type of work performed, some employees may receive gloves or have plexiglass installed at their workstation. 

It is important for everyone to follow the protocols – socially distance at least six feet whenever possible, wear face coverings, avoid large gatherings, avoid sharing office supplies/equipment, and practice frequent and thorough handwashing. Supervisors are developing plans to maximize social distancing, reconfigure some workspaces, and rotate telework days for team members.
 

All facilities will be thoroughly and routinely cleaned, including common workspaces such as conference rooms and restrooms, as well as every employee’s individual desk area and office space. This will also include careful and frequent cleaning of dining areas, elevators, stairs, wall surfaces and panels, phones, and desk areas and surfaces. In shared workspaces, particular attention will be paid to cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment (common area printers, copiers, cupboards, door handles, etc.).

DLA will ensure that the cleaning provider follows the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE). DLA will follow CDC guidelines for cleaning a building or portion thereof following a confirmed or suspected COVID case. For additional cleaning protocols, employees and managers should follow CDC guidelines.

 

Leaders at each location determine the appropriate level of screening required based on mission and type of work.  Some may require screening at the duty location entrance (i.e., questionnaire, temperature scanning), while others may ask employees to self-screen before reporting. Social distancing requirements such as limiting building capacity, staggering shifts, closing common areas, and installing physical barriers are also being implemented as organizations progress through reconstitution phases.
 

DLA Training developed a training course to increase health and safety awareness of COVID-19 and how our new work environment will look as DLA employees incrementally return to work, and to prevent potential exposure to and spread of the virus.  Protecting the workforce depends on emphasizing basic prevention measures such as promoting frequent and thorough handwashing, encouraging employees to stay home if they are sick, discouraging employees from using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible.
 

By following the approach to reopening the country reflected in the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, taking into account phase determinations made by state governments, and continuing to use available and appropriate workforce flexibilities, DLA will continue to fulfill the mission while protecting the health and safety of employees. Some employees may have reservations about returning to their workplace even as the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 diminishes. Once DLA has determined that sufficient conditions allow for employees to safely work in a given environment, employees will be expected to report to their office unless in an approved leave status or teleworking in accordance with their telework agreement.

Before requiring employees to report to duty onsite, and when considering any administrative action based on non-compliance with a reporting requirement, managers will consider all facts and circumstances in each case. Such considerations may include an employee’s vulnerability to serious complications if infected, the presence of an individual in a CDC-identified high-risk category in the home, or child-care or other dependent care responsibilities resulting from daycare, camp, or school closures. DLA will determine if other options are appropriate, such as allowing employees to continue to telework or asking them to request personal leave (e.g., annual leave, sick leave if applicable, or leave without pay).

DLA has protocols in place based on CDC guidance and is partnering with local public health departments on contact tracing.  If someone tests positive and contact tracing shows they were in a DLA workspace, anyone who has potentially been in contact with that person or was in a location where that person was will be notified.  There will be increased cleaning in any area where an infected person visited, and the breadth and method of notifications will be decided on a case-by-case basis.  As this is a new disease with an evolving body of knowledge, DLA will adjust the protocols as necessary based on the expert recommendations.
 

Employees that exhibit signs of illness should leave work immediately and follow standard leave request procedures. Supervisors should remind the employee of his or her leave options, such as: requesting sick leave, annual leave, or leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), if available to the employee.

If the employee has no paid leave available, supervisors are authorized to approve requests for advanced leave or leave without pay in certain circumstances.

Telework allowed DLA to quickly move to a maximum telework posture while maintaining employee health and safety during the pandemic. The whole enterprise remained effective in this crisis and figured out how to carry out our missions in different ways. Telework has been a net positive during this crisis and we now have great experience operating in dispersed environments and are more comfortable with the tools available to us.

At this point, we are still not doing everything we do under normal operations.  It’s also more difficult to train new people who come into this environment and establish corporate culture. There is still value in regular personal contact, professional development, and relationship building.

As we move through Reconstitution phases, telework will help facilitate a gradual, cohort-based return to DLA worksites. Continued telework also will be help support employees at high-risk for COVID-19 and employees whose childcare facilities remain closed.  It is important to understand maximum telework was a solution to a temporary challenge – not an ideal, long-term approach.

Telework is here to stay and we are likely to see more situational telework. We must exercise and maintain this phenomenal capability but balance it with the need to work effectively at fixed facilities. It is too early to tell what impact our “new normal” will have on agency operations and premature to speculate on wholesale changes to the telework program. 
 

DLA is still operating in a crisis situation and performing at less than full strength.  Any costs we incur are passed on to our warfighting and whole of government partners. In the midst of this international crisis, we have to do all we can to rein in costs and expect fitness time to be reinstated sometime after we enter Phase 3.
 

 

PAYROLL & Travel

No. There is no authority within the hazardous duty pay or environmental differential statutes to pay for potential exposure. To pay hazardous duty pay or environmental differential pay for an unusual physical hardship or hazard covered under the regulations, a local installation must find that there is credible evidence that an employee was actually exposed.
 

No. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations define exposure to “virulent biologicals” as “work with or in close proximity to … [m]aterials of micro-organic nature which when introduced into the body are likely to cause serious disease or fatality and for which protective devices do not afford complete protection.” (See Appendix A to subpart I of part 550 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations.) Agencies may pay a hazard pay differential to a General Schedule employee for exposure to “virulent biologicals” only when the risk of exposure is directly associated with the performance of assigned duties. An employee may not receive a hazard pay differential under the “virulent biologicals” category if exposure to a qualifying virus was not triggered by the performance of assigned duties. The hazard pay differential cannot be paid to an employee who may come in contact with the virus or another similar virus through incidental exposure to the public or other employees who are ill rather than being exposed to the virus during the performance of assigned duties (e.g., as in the case of a poultry handler or health care worker). Also, the virus must be determined to be likely to cause serious disease or fatality for which protective devices do not afford complete protection.

Federal Wage System (FWS) employees may not receive an environmental differential for incidental exposure to the pandemic COVID-19. The environmental differential for FWS employees is additional pay for job-related exposure to hazards, physical hardships, or working conditions of an unusually severe nature which cannot be eliminated or significantly reduced by preventive measures. The environmental differential is not intended to compensate employees for exposure to a safety risk unrelated to their assigned duties.

To be eligible for the hazard pay differential, the agency must determine that the employee is exposed to a qualifying hazard through the performance of his or her assigned duties and that the hazardous duty has not been taken into account in the classification of the employee’s position. A hazard pay differential is not payable if safety precautions have reduced the element of hazard to a less than significant level of risk, consistent with generally accepted standards that may be applicable. (See 5 CFR 550.904-550.906 for further information and exceptions.)
 

  

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. If you are asymptomatic but 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.
 

If an employee:

  1. Refuses to submit to a medical check – Employees must contact their supervisor regarding their absence consistent with the requirements of applicable collective bargaining agreements for bargaining unit employees. Employees may be charged absence without leave (AWOL) and subject to disciplinary action. Administrative leave will not be approved for refusal to participate in enhanced screening. Supervisors should consult with appropriate HR staff in these cases.
     
  2. Fails the medical check – Employees must contact their supervisor regarding their absence consistent with the requirements of applicable collective bargaining agreement for bargaining unit employees. Telework-ready employees may be authorized to telework or request appropriate leave. Employees who are not telework-ready must contact their supervisor to discuss leave options, to include weather and safety leave and Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), if appropriate and obtain approval. 
     

In areas of substantial or high community transmission, all service members, federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors must wear a mask while indoors on installations or other DoD facilities regardless of vaccination status. Substantial or high community transmission is reported by county on the CDC COVID Data Tracker website.

In areas not reporting substantial or high community transmission, fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask at DLA facilities, though they may choose to do so. Personnel are considered fully vaccinated when two full weeks have passed since the second dose of a two-shot vaccine or the one dose of a single-shot vaccine.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear a face mask that consistently covers the nose and mouth in all indoor situations at DLA worksites regardless of community transmission 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.
 

Only fully vaccinated individuals may be in DLA workspaces without wearing a face covering. Supervisors/leaders will not inquire about or require “proof” of vaccination for personnel relative to the updated mask guidance. In addition, those wearing a mask should not be construed as not fully vaccinated. There are many reasons individuals may elect to continue wearing a mask.
 

Any such designated employees are expected to report for work where deployed or remain at work in dismissal or closure situations, unless otherwise directed. DLA may determine that circumstances justify excusing a designated employee from duty and allowing the employee to use accrued leave because of an individual hardship or circumstances unique to the employee.

For example, factors such as the illness of a family member or lack of available alternatives to childcare or eldercare may be considered. An employee may not go home instead of deploying to the designated worksite, and employees who refuse to follow emergency-related orders may be subject to appropriate discipline, up to and including removal from Federal service. Unauthorized travel expenses are not reimbursable.
 

Employees in occupations that are designated to work during emergency situations are expected to report for work and perform the normal duties of their positions. If an employee fails to report for duty without an administratively acceptable reason for his or her absence, the employee could be considered absent without leave (AWOL) and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including removal from federal service. DLA makes the determination as to whether the employee has an administratively acceptable reason for his or her absence. When an employee reports for work, he or she is expected to first carry out lawful supervisory orders to work and may later choose to appeal or grieve an order after complying with it.


An employee who refuses to comply with a supervisor’s order may be disciplined, up to and including removal from Federal service. In accordance with 29 CFR 1960.46(a), an employee may refuse to carry out a particular work assignment if the employee reasonably believes that under the circumstances the task poses an imminent risk of death or seriously bodily harm coupled with a reasonable belief that there is insufficient time to seek effective redress through normal hazard reporting and abatement procedures.
 

DLA may discipline an employee who is AWOL. The decision to take such action is at the discretion of the supervisor after consideration of the facts and circumstances regarding the unauthorized absence. Employees having difficulty reporting to work should discuss the circumstances of their absence with their supervisor in a timely manner.
 
  

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 evidence-based preventive services or vaccines for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 become available, FEHB carriers must cover them without any cost-sharing.

Employees should contact their health plan provider with specific questions regarding their coverage.
 

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.
 

  

Miscellaneous

Please follow our DLA guidance on how to respond when a DLA colleague passes away (DLA common access card required. If prompted, select or provide your DLA email address). As this is related to COVID-19, please stay in contact with your J1 customer account manager (CAM) so you follow protocol related to social distancing.  Also consider different ways to recognize your co-worker by virtual means as opposed to gathering in person. Keeping in contact with the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the DLA Chaplain, and other supportive groups may provide your staff the support they need to get through this difficult time. 
 

Yes.  Before taking any action that would be inconsistent with the requirements of a collective bargaining agreement, managers and supervisors must contact their servicing J1 Customer Account Manager (CAM) and Labor/Employee Relations Specialist.
 

All agreements require employees to obtain approval from their supervisor prior to working/earning credit hours.