Hirono Joins Colleagues to Introduce Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act
US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai`i), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai`i) and six of their senate colleagues introduced legislation that would allow federal workers to carry over the leave they have accrued during the pandemic.
The Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act makes sure that no federal worker loses their leave when they are prevented from taking time off during a pandemic.
Federal workers that accrue over 240 hours of annual leave either lose the hours above the cap or have to attempt to use it before the end of the year. Using leave hours during a national pandemic may not be possible because a worker provides a critical government service for taxpayers, needs to limit exposure to COVID-19, or follows state and local restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.
“Thousands of dedicated federal workers have been tirelessly responding to the coronavirus pandemic, including U.S. Postal Service employees, Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration workers, and National Institutes of Health researchers,” Senator Hirono said. “Our nation has leaned on them as they deliver medicines and Social Security checks, assist Americans with filing their taxes, develop a vaccine, and provide other vital services. This bill makes sure that no federal worker loses their leave because of this or any future pandemic.”
“Our bill will allow all federal employees to carry over unused annual leave to next year, making sure no federal employee is forced to lose earned leave due to this pandemic,” said Senator Schatz.
The Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act was introduced in the House by Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Ed Case (D-Hawaiʻi), and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
The Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act is endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, American Federation of Government Employees, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Federal Managers Association, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, FAA Managers Association, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, National Federation of Federal Employees, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
“AFGE Local 1234 supports federal legislation for ALL federal employees that preserves and protects annual leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hawaiʻi is unique compared to the mainland United States. During this pandemic, it is hard for many residents of the state of Hawaiʻi to travel to the mainland and back due to strict quarantine rules, regulations, and mandates. This will be very helpful for federal employees that have had to cancel their family plans this year and possibly next year as well,” AFGE Local 1234 President of the Pacific Concetta Fialkowski, Vice-President of the Pacific Joshua Christie, and National Organizer Lisa Marie Akau said.
“IFPTE Local 121 thanks Sen. Hirono for introducing this legislation aimed at protecting the earned annual leave of federal workers during this pandemic. This is particularly important to federal workers here in Hawaii, where essential and frontline workers, as well as those who are teleworking, are not able to use annual leave due to the ongoing pandemic. This bill will allow carry over of annual leave, rather than losing it. We applaud the bill and are hopeful that it will get enacted into law,” Jamie Uyeunten, President of IFPTE Local 121, Hawaiʻi said.