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Raskin, Wexton, Beyer, Lynch, and Holmes Norton Introduce Legislation to Protect Annual Leave Benefits for Frontline and Essential Federal Workers

May 5, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) today joined Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) in introducing the Federal Frontline Worker Leave Protection Act to ensure that the essential federal employees who have been working to aid the government’s response to COVID-19 do not lose their annual leave due to an inability to take time off as a result of the crisis. The Federal Frontline Worker Leave Protection Act is co-sponsored by Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

"During the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, our federal workers are stepping up and working tirelessly to help Americans weather this crisis," said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. "It’s all hands on deck right now and taking time off is not an option for many federal employees. Federal workers should not be forced to lose their benefits while they carry out the essential work of government. We owe it to them to protect what they’ve earned.”

Most federal employees are allowed to carry over no more than 240 hours (30 days) of leave each year and any additional leave accrued is lost at the end of the benefit year; however, there are limited instances that will enable leave to carry over in the event that there is an urgent need for the employee’s work. Congresswoman Wexton’s bill would amend the existing law to include work responding to COVID-19 as an instance that would allow workers to roll unused hours over to next year.

Congresswoman Wexton has been a leader in advocating for federal workers and contractors during the COVID-19 crisis: calling on the Trump administration to mandate telework for all eligible federal employees and contractors, leading an effort to prevent the termination of federal contracts during the pandemic, and pushing for the expansion of paid leave options for federal employees who have families with complex medical needs and who are unable to telework.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

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