We have received numerous inquiries regarding the recent removal of Safety Leave for COVID-19. We have forwarded your concerns and questions to our attorneys and received the following reply from the Law Offices of Patrick J. McAndrew, LLC.
As you mentioned, law enforcement positions have been designated as “high-risk,” and so members should have an easier path to receive relief under FECA. If a member tests positive, they should complete the Department of Labor Form CA-1 “COVID-19” and provide proof of the positive test result or a doctor’s confirmation. A link to the form is below. I believe it has to be submitted within 30 days of the positive test. If the agency supports the claim, and the form is filed within 30 days, they should receive Continuation of Pay.
For members who are sent home for having symptoms, because they have not tested positive they do not appear to have a similar Department of Labor form to complete and file. The mandatory in-house notifications do, though, at least create a record of the agency having knowledge of the symptoms. In our opinion that would be most important, to be able to prove that the agency had notice of the symptoms and that it was the agency who made the decision to send the member home.
It is an unfortunate trend that employers are less willing to continue to provide admin leave in these situations. However, for at least the members who have symptoms and are sent home, there is potential for a grievance, either filed by the individual member or the union. The member should not be sent home involuntarily, and then also be forced to give up their sick leave due to a decision they had no say in.
Hope this helps. If you need anything further just let us know.
Devon J. Miller, Esquire
Law Offices of Patrick J. McAndrew, LLC.
Capital Office Park
6305 Ivy Lane, Suite 408
Greenbelt, Maryland 20770-6300
If you feel that you have cause to submit a grievance or file an EEO based on a Title VII protected class, please reach out to us for guidance.