There are extra benefits for federal workers within the $1.9 trillion emergency aid package designed to aid in the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, primarily being that it offers extra paid time off as long as the federal employees’ child isn’t back to in-classroom, full-time instruction.
This benefit is funded through a new $570 million family leave account that is exclusively for federal workers.
It can be found in the House bill that was released last Friday night, in a new Treasury Department fund called the “Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund.”
The new money is available through September 30th. Federal employees who are taking care of others due to COVID-19 are eligible for paid leave. This includes those who are “unable to work” because they are caring for school-aged children that are not physically in school full time due to COVID-19 precautions, meaning that a federal employee “caring for a son or daughter” will qualify for the paid leave, specifically:
“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 child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to Covid-19 precautions;”
With the bill as it stands, a full-time worker can acquire up to 600 hours in paid leave, with which the person will be paid up to $35 an hour and $1,400 a week. This means a federal employee can get up to $21,000. A part-time employee or an employee with a seasonal work schedule will both also be eligible for the paid leave according to equivalent hours established by the applicable agency.
As long as the school “makes optional” virtual or hybrid schooling available to the federal worker’s child, the parent can keep the son or daughter at home and still qualify for paid-time off under the bill. This does not apply to kids in private schools because no taxpayer-funded paid time off is available under the bill.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said last Friday (3:26 mark) that the pandemic relief legislation expands emergency leave for federal and postal workers, “so that they don’t have to choose between their jobs or caring for loved ones who get infected with coronavirus.”