Congresswoman Elaine Luria Calls on Department of Defense to Provide Safety Leave Guidance for Civilian Personnel

May 1, 2020
Press Release

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA –Congresswoman Luria joined with several of her colleagues in calling on Secretary Esper and Secretary McPherson to grant weather and safety leave to non-telework eligible civilian personnel who either live with a high-risk family member or are asymptomatic of COVID-19 in order to protect public health and prevent community spread. 

“We are living in unprecedented times, and we all must make accommodations in order to protect those most vulnerable in our community and slow community spread of COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Luria. “I commend the actions taken by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Navy to quickly work on an updated leave policy, but there is more work to be done to protect civilian personnel, their families, and our communities.”

The DoD’s interpretation of the OMB and OPM weather and safety leave guidance excludes those who live with a high-risk person and therefore endanger them by going to work. Additionally, having asymptomatic COVID-19 workers travel from their home to a federal installation, such as a Navy shipyard, could harm those conducting mission-critical work. As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, Congresswoman Luria and her colleagues urged the Department of Defense to make resource and personnel decisions that minimize the risks to public health while maintaining the readiness of our military.

The letter can be read here

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.