New Leave Under the American Rescue Plan (ARPA)
Effective March 12, 2021,theAmerican Rescue Plan Act (Act) provides employees with up to 600 hours of paid Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL). This leave is available to employees beginning on March 12, 2021, and continuing through September 30, 2021—or until the funding established in the Emergency Federal Employee Leave Fund (Fund) for reimbursement is exhausted. The leave is available to eligible employees who are unable to work due to one of eight qualifying reasons as summarized in the chart below:
As a reminder, the Postal Service provides an essential federal government service as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Therefore, postal employees are generally not subject to Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation orders related to COVID-19, so employees will generally not be eligible to use EFEL for qualifying reason (1) above. Additionally, no substantially similar condition has been identified that would qualify an employee to use leave for qualifying reason (6) above.
We are continuing to work the issues associated with implementation of these new leave requirements, and we anticipate receiving additional guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which will administer the Fund, in the coming weeks. In the interim, employees seeking to use EFEL should submit a PS Form 3971 indicating for which of the eight qualifying reasons they must take leave, and employees must affirmatively state that they are unable to work because of the qualifying reason.
For now, this leave should be managed and tracked within the Enterprise Resource Management System (eRMS). Timekeepers will be instructed to enter the interim hours code 086-21 in eRMS for all employees, and then verify the Administrative Leave is entered in the appropriate timekeeping system using either hours code 086-21 for City or DACA Code O for Rurals. For immediate reference, attached is the timekeeping quick reference table.
We will update you with additional instructions and guidance as our processes for managing this new leave are developed and implemented. We ask that you share this information with your teams as soon as possible, given that this leave will become available on March 12.
Thank you for your support as we continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our employees during this challenging time.
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