The Office of Personnel Management has informed agency leaders that their organizations are now required to offer employees administrative leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine, following a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that all adults receive a booster shot.

“The administrative leave will cover the time it takes to travel to the vaccination site, receive the vaccination dose and return to work,” the Dec. 2 guidance stated.

The administrative leave may also be applied retroactively to any employee that took time off work between now and Sept. 22 — when the Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization to include booster shots — and may be applied as far back as Aug. 12 for any immunocompromised employee that received an additional dose.

The leave allowance differs slightly from what is allowed for the initial doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, as employees may use duty time to receive them as part of the mandate that all federal employees be vaccinated.

Because a booster shot is not currently part of the mandate, feds cannot use duty time to receive that shot.

Employees must obtain advance approval from their agencies before using administrative leave to get a booster shot.

The White House recently celebrated the federal government’s policy of offering employees time off for vaccination, calling on the private sector to follow suit.

“The president will call on employers throughout the country to remove a barrier to vaccination access by providing the same paid time off for their employees if they are not doing so already, including paid time off for family members getting their first, second, or booster shots. No one should have to choose between their paycheck and getting the additional protection of a booster shot or a child vaccination,” the White House guidance to private employers stated.

Jessie Bur covered the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees for Federal Times.

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