Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a March 20 letter to issue more detailed guidance on paid leave and telework options for uniformed, civilian, and Defense Department (DoD) personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“An area of particular concern is how administrative leave, weather and safety leave, sick leave, and annual leave apply under a variety of COVID-19 related scenarios,” the senator said. “These personnel should not face uncertainty or obstacles in their efforts to preserve our individual or collective health,” he said.

Sen. Warner cited “fragmentation” in current DoD leave policy that “creates ambiguity” regarding leave that would apply in the event that employees have COVID-19 symptoms, are exposed to the virus but not symptomatic, or need to care for family members who contract the virus.

He also said that guidance issued by DoD and the Office of Management and Budget is “creating confusion and anxiety,” and continued, “Personnel whose duties and responsibilities do not immediately contribute to critical national security function would benefit from a clear directive instructing them to work remotely and would make a significant impact for our nation.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.