Issue Briefs

An agency must grant up to 2 workdays of administrative leave if an employee has an adverse reaction to any COVID-19 vaccination dose.

Following are newly issued questions and answers regarding leave entitlements for federal employees to be vaccinated, to accompany a family member to vaccination, or to recover from the side effects of vaccination.


Q: Would it be appropriate for an agency to grant administrative leave to cover the period of time it takes an employee to receive a COVD-19 vaccination shot?

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A: Yes. To facilitate expeditious vaccination of the federal workforce, agencies must offer leave-eligible employees a minimum of four hours of administrative leave per dose to use as needed—for example, a minimum total of twelve hours of leave for employees receiving three doses. (If an employee needs to spend less time getting the vaccine, only the needed amount of administrative leave should be granted.) Agencies should also recognize that some employees may face extenuating circumstances warranting additional administrative leave as appropriate (e.g., they may need to travel long distances to get the vaccine). Teleworking employees should normally obtain advance approval from their supervisor before being permitted to use administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccination purposes. Employees may not be credited with administrative leave or overtime work for time spent getting a vaccination outside their tour of duty.

Q: Would it be appropriate for an agency to grant administrative leave to cover post-vaccination recovery?

A: An agency must grant up to 2 workdays of administrative leave if an employee has an adverse reaction to any COVID-19 vaccination dose (i.e., no more than 2 workdays for reactions associated with a single dose). If an employee requests more than 2 workdays to recover, the agency may make a determination to grant emergency paid leave as created by the American Rescue Plan Act —if available— or other appropriate leave (e.g. sick leave) at that point.

Q: Must an agency grant administrative leave to cover the period of time it takes an employee to accompany a family member who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Yes, an agency must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany a family member who is receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Based on President Biden’s direction that the Federal Government should work aggressively to maximize the number of people receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, the Administration has determined that, going forward, agencies must grant administrative leave to federal employees who accompany a family member who is receiving any dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. For this purpose, a “family member” is an individual who meets the definition of that term in OPM’s leave regulations (see 5 CFR 630.201).

Under this policy, agencies must grant leave-eligible employees up to 4 hours of administrative leave per dose—for example, a maximum total of 12 hours of leave for a family member receiving three doses. (If an employee needs to spend less time accompanying a family member who is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, only the needed amount of administrative leave should be granted.) Employees should obtain advance approval from their supervisor before being permitted to use administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccination purposes. Employees may not be credited with administrative leave or overtime work for time spent outside their tour of duty helping a family member get vaccinated. This policy applies to covered vaccinations received after posting of this FAQ on July 29, 2021.

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