Personal Pandemic Leave

I-2022-2


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Dec. 1, 2021 July 31, 2022 12  

Overview

To address the recent and rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the District government is temporarily providing a paid Personal Pandemic Leave benefit to District government employees who are unable to work or telework because they have tested positive for COVID-19 and, under local health guidance, are required to isolate.

This leave benefit is available to employees as of the effective date of this issuance and expires July 31, 2022. This benefit cannot be used for leave taken prior to the effective date of this issuance and only covers absences due to an employee’s need to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test.

This paid leave benefit allows eligible employees to take up to 80 hours of leave without loss of pay or other benefits if they test positive for COVID-19. Each employee will receive a leave credit of 80 hours for this leave program. However, Personal Pandemic Leave hours have no monetary value, and no employee shall receive payment for unused Personal Pandemic Leave hours upon the expiration of the benefit or their separation from the District government.

NOTE: The time reporting code for using Personal Pandemic Leave should be available beginning January 24, 2022. However, it may take several weeks before employees can see their Personal Pandemic Leave balances in PeopleSoft.

Paid Personal Pandemic Leave Benefit

As of the effective date of this issuance, District government employees will receive a Personal Pandemic Leave account credited with 80 hours of leave. Employees may use these hours when they are unable to work or telework due to isolation requirements arising from a positive COVID-19 test. Personal Pandemic Leave is an employee benefit that is in addition to an employee’s accrued annual, compensatory, and sick leave.

To qualify for the use of Personal Pandemic Leave, an employee must:

  1. Supply proof that they have tested positive for COVID-19;
  2. Be unable to work or telework due to COVID-19;
  3. Need leave because the employee must isolate under DC Health’s or the employee’s local health department’s guidelines; and
  4. Has made a request and been approved for Personal Pandemic Leave in PeopleSoft.

Requesting Leave

Employees may request Personal Pandemic Leave the same way they request other forms of leave. In PeopleSoft, click the Request Absence tile, and select Personal Pandemic Leave as the requested Absence Type.

If an agency uses a leave request system other than PeopleSoft, the agency is responsible for information employees on the appropriate procedures for requesting Personal Pandemic Leave.


Approving Leave

For most agencies, employees’ immediate supervisors approve leave requests. In other agencies, assigned timekeepers will approve such requests. Regardless, the leave approver must approve an employee’s request for Personal Pandemic Leave when:

  1. An employee cannot report to a worksite because they must isolate due to COVID-19 under D.C. Health or the employee’s local health guidelines; and
  2. The employee cannot perform work remotely due to their own health or a lack of work given the nature of their job.

An employee may only receive Personal Pandemic Leave for isolation purposes in accordance with current DC Health guidance or guidance from the employee’s local health department.

An employee who requires additional time for isolation beyond the credited 80 hours of Personal Pandemic Leave may use any available accrued leave, take advantage of the District’s leave bank and voluntary leave transfer programs, and consult their agency’s FMLA Coordinator for other available leave options.

Agency Verification

Agency timekeepers and supervisors are responsible for verifying employees’ eligibility to use Personal Pandemic Leave. When an employee can telework, supervisors should advise employees to telework instead of taking leave when practicable. However, if an employee cannot telework due to symptoms related to COVID-19, supervisors may request reasonable documentation as to why the employee cannot telework.

NOTE: While supervisors may request proof at their discretion, requests for proof should be done in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner.

Using Approved Personal Pandemic Leave

When approved for Personal Pandemic Leave, the employee or their timekeeper (or equivalent) must submit time using the Personal Pandemic Leave time reporting code (“Personal Pandemic Leave - COVDY”) for the day(s) that the employee is on approved leave.


Premium Pay

District government employees who qualify for and have been approved for leave under Personal Pandemic Leave are not entitled to receive premium pay for any hours(s) for which the employee receives Personal Pandemic Leave, unless otherwise required by an applicable labor agreement.


Confidentiality

Agency supervisors and timekeepers that have access to information pertaining to employees’ Personal Pandemic Leave eligibility are responsible and accountable for safeguarding the integrity, security, and confidentiality of these records regardless of form. Agency supervisors and timekeepers must protect such records from unauthorized access, use, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure.


Other Considerations

An employee who is unable to work or telework because of COVID-19 may also be entitled to unpaid COVID-19 leave under DCFMLA. COVID-19 leave under DCFMLA can overlap with the Personal Pandemic Leave benefit. For questions about how COVID-19 leave under DCFMLA can overlap with Personal Pandemic Leave, please contact your FMLA Coordinator.


References

Authority

  1. Human Resources Guidance for the COVID-19 Emergency - December 2021 Mask Update, DCHR Iss. No. 2021-43 (December 21, 2021);
  2. Chapter 12 of Title 6-B of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.
  3. Extension of COVID-19 Public Emergency, Mayor’s Order 2022-007.
  4. Declaration of Limited Public Health Emergency Related to Healthcare Capacity, Mayor’s Order 2022-008.

Applicability

The provisions of this issuance apply to those District government agencies under the personnel authority of the Director of the D.C. Department of Human Resources. Other personnel authorities or independent agencies may adopt any or all of these procedures to provide guidance to employees under their respective jurisdictions.


Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on Jan. 19, 2022, 9:49 a.m.