Last month, union boss Everett Kelley, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, sent out a self-congratulatory memo to all of his members celebrating the election of Joe Biden and the return of Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. But rather than just taking a victory lap, he cautioned union members to not “pat ourselves on the back” because “windows of opportunity rarely stay open for long.” He warned them that there may be only two years to undo the “damage” (translation: ‘progress’) that Donald Trump made in curbing abusive union practices in the federal government.
It looks like the AFGE has gotten their message through to the White House and Democrats in Congress. Tucked into the COVID relief bill currently being jammed through the legislative process are some huge perks for federal workers.
One of the more eye-popping ones is a provision mandating fifteen weeks (!) of automatic paid leave above and beyond the normal, generous amounts of paid time off workers receive, for anyone “affected” by the pandemic.
For those without a napkin and a pencil handy to do the math, that works out to nearly a third of the entire working year. (Government Executive)
Senate Democrats on Thursday unveiled their amendments to the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which still contains a provision that would provide federal employees with up to 15 weeks of additional paid leave for COVID-related matters…
The additional leave would be available from between when the bill is signed into law and Sept. 30. Gone is a provision in the original House version of the bill but stripped during the House Oversight and Reform Committee’s markup process requiring feds to exhaust all other forms of sick leave before they can tap into the new leave fund. The bill sets aside $570 million to pay for the new benefit.
The leave cannot be used concurrently with any other form of paid leave, and any paid leave provided under this provision would reduce the “total service” used by the federal government to calculate federal retirement benefits.
You could almost… almost… understand if the unions were pushing for a provision allowing paid leave for anyone who is hospitalized with severe COVID symptoms. Of course, even then it would be overly generous. Private sector workers are still expected to use their own sick time (assuming they have that benefit) and then disability payments if they are ill for an extended period of time.- READ MORE
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