A representation of the Coronavirus


Employee Resources

   DLA Senior Leader Messages      DLA Guidance   
   FAQ: DLA Workplace Flexibilities   
 

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). 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 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorizes employees paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

All DLA civilian employees are covered by the emergency paid sick leave provision in the FFCRA. This provision provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave where an employee is unable to work because he/she is:

  1. Quarantined pursuant to federal, state, or local government order or advice of a health care provider (at employee’s regular rate of pay).
     
  2.  Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine for a COVID-19 reason. FFCRA Section 826.20(a)(3) explains that the advice to self-quarantine must be based on a health care provider’s belief that the employee has COVID-19, may have COVID-19, or is particularly vulnerable to COVID 19, and self-quarantining must prevent the employee from working (at employee’s regular rate of pay).
     
  3. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis (at employee’s regular rate of pay).
     
  4. 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 two-thirds (2/3) the employee’s regular rate of pay).
     
  5. Care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19 (at two-thirds (2/3) the employee’s regular rate of pay).
     

Only employees on intermittent or temporary appointments of less than one year and part-time employees without a regular tour of duty are covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions. DLA has very few employees covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions. This provision provides up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds (2/3) the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.
 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provision provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay when an employee is unable to work because he/she is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ 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.

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 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorizes federal employees paid sick leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Under the FFCRA, federal employees are eligible by request for two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay when the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to federal, state, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.

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.
 

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.
 

You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only for a total of 12 weeks of paid leave. You may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed or childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 related reasons. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave. This period thus covers the first 10 workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act, unless you elect to use annual leave under current DLA policy.  After the first 10 workdays have elapsed, you will receive two-thirds (2/3) of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent 10 weeks under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act. However, only employees on intermittent or temporary appointments of less than one year and part-time employees without a regular tour of duty are covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions. DLA has very few employees covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions.

Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.

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 FFCRA provision provides up to 80 hours of paid sick 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 two-thirds (2/3) the employee’s regular rate of pay. Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.

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. 
 

You are entitled to paid sick leave if you are unable to work or telework due to a qualifying reason related to COVID-19. The same approval and documentation procedures apply as regular sick leave.  You must provide documentation in support of the reasons for your paid sick leave, including:  name, qualifying reason for requesting leave, statement you are unable to work, including telework, for that reason, and the date(s) for which leave is requested. Documentation of the reason for the leave will also be necessary, such as the source of any quarantine or isolation order, or the name of the health care provider who has advised you to self-quarantine.

You must provide to your supervisor documentation in support of your expanded family and medical leave taken to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons. You must submit appropriate documentation in support of such leave to include: name; qualifying reason for requesting leave; statement you are unable to work, including telework, for that reason; the date(s) for which leave is requested; name of the child being cared for; name of the school, place of care, or childcare provider that is closed or unavailable; and statement no other suitable person will be caring for the child during the period for which you are taking leave.  The same approval and documentation procedures apply as regular FMLA leave.  Your employer must retain this notice or documentation in support of expanded family and medical leave, including while you may be taking unpaid leave that runs concurrently with paid sick leave if taken for the same reason.  However, only employees on intermittent or temporary appointments of less than one year and part-time employees without a regular tour of duty are covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions.  DLA has very few employees covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions.

Please also note that all existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by your employer.

Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.
 

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. 
 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorizes federal employees paid sick leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

Under the FFCRA, federal employees are eligible by request for two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay when the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to federal, state, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ 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 FFCRA. 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). 

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.
 

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.
 

It depends on your normal schedule as well as why you are taking leave.

If you are taking paid sick leave because you are unable to work or telework due to a need for leave because you (1) are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or (3) are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis, you will receive for each applicable hour the greater of:

  • your regular rate of pay,
  • the federal minimum wage in effect under the FLSA, or
  • the applicable state or local minimum wage.


In these circumstances, you are entitled to a maximum of $511 per day, or $5,110 total over the entire paid sick leave period.

If you are taking paid sick leave because you are: (1) caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or an individual who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or (2) caring for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons, you are entitled to compensation at 2/3 of the greater of the amounts above.

Under these circumstances, you are subject to a maximum of $200 per day or $2,000 over the entire two-week period.

If you are taking expanded family and medical leave, you may take paid sick leave for the first 10 days of that leave period, or you may substitute any accrued annual leave. For the following 10 weeks, you will be paid for your leave at an amount no less than 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would be normally scheduled to work. However, you will not receive more than $200 per day or $12,000 for the 12 weeks that include both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave when you are on leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19-related reasons.  However, only employees on intermittent or temporary appointments of less than one year and part-time employees without a regular tour of duty are covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions.  DLA has very few employees covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions.

Please see the complete DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.

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 DLA Coronavirus Response Act FAQ for more information.

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.
 

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.
 

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 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.
 

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.
 

 

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. 
     

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.
 

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. 
 

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.
 

Flexible Spending Account participants may make changes to their Health Care FSA (HCFSA), Limited Expense Health Care FSA (LEX HCFSA), or Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA) elections if there has been a qualifying life event (QLE).

QLEs include:
  • Change in employment status for you, your spouse, or dependent.
  • Change in legal marital status (marriage, divorce, or death of your spouse)
  • Change in the number of your dependents (birth or adoption of a child, or death of a dependent)
  • Change in your dependent’s eligibility (for example, your child reaches age 13 and is no longer eligible under a DCFSA).
  • Change in child care or elder care provider, change in cost, or change in coverage. This applies to a DCFSA only.

DCFSA participants who have experienced a QLE due to changes in cost or coverage for child/elder care can decrease future contributions to the plan. If the cost of the child/elder care provider increases prior to September 30, 2020, participants can request a QLE to make necessary changes to the coverage.

To request a change, participants must notify FSAFEDS as early as 31 days prior, but no later than 60 days after the date of the qualifying event. 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.
 

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.
 

  

Miscellaneous

To the extent practical, military personnel, DoD civilian employees, family members, DoD contractors, and any other individuals visiting DoD property, installations or facilities will wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers. Please see the complete DLA guidance on cloth face coverings on the DLA Coronavirus Guidance page, and specific guidance on making and using cloth face coverings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 

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.