Federal employees can now be offered administrative leave to help their children that are five and older get a COVID-19 vaccination, according to a Nov. 3 memo issued by Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja.

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force previously issued guidance directing agencies to grant administrative leave to feds accompanying their older children to get a vaccine. Now, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nov. 2 determination that everyone five years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine, that guidance now applies to a younger group of children.

Feds can be granted up to four hours of such leave per dose per child, though agencies have been instructed to only grant the amount of leave necessary for each dose, rather than defaulting to the maximum.

Employees also have to get advance approval before using administrative leave for such purposes and cannot be credited leave or overtime work for time spent getting a child vaccinated outside their normal duty hours.

As defined under U.S. code, a person constitutes as a child of a federal employee if they are the biological, adopted, or a step or foster child of that employee; they are the legal ward of that employee; they are determined to be under in loco parentis of that employee; or they are the child of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.

Such leave would also apply in the future to a booster shot against COVID-19, although people under 18 years old have not yet been approved to receive such a booster.

Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.

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