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Lawmakers urge OPM to grant leave for vaccinations

Members of Congress who have high federal employee populations joined together to pen a letter to the Office of Personnel Management requesting that federal employees receive time off to get vaccinated.

Using findings from the Centers for Disease Control’s that show approved vaccines are highly effective at preventing the spread and death of COVID-19, the lawmakers wrote in the letter that it is “imperative that the federal government take every possible step to encourage federal employees to receive the vaccine, including providing them with the administrative time to do so.”

Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia lawmakers Reps Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Eleanor Holmes Norton, David Trone, Jennifer Wexton, Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin wrote the Feb. 5  to the acting director of OPM.

“We understand that some federal agencies are not providing employees with administrative time off to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Under current Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines, it is advised that administrative leave policies across individual agencies satisfy that the absence is directly related to the agency or department’s mission,” the letter states.

The lawmakers contend that mandating agencies to provide the time off is necessary – especially post vaccination – in order to ensure the safety of the federal workforce in case an employee experiences any post-vaccination symptoms.

“The health and safety of federal employees is absolutely paramount to the mission of every federal agency,” the letter states, continuing, “Our federal employees have been challenged throughout this pandemic by adjusting their jobs to work under these strenuous circumstances. Ensuring an environment for employees to easily vaccinate is the fastest way for federal agencies to be to function at in their most productive level.”

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