Team coverage: COVID-19 and the federal workforce

coronavirus molecule (creativeneko/ 

FCW is covering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the federal workforce. This page will be updated frequently with new coverage. NOTE: CDC and OPM maintain up-to-date information for the latest on the outbreak and guidance on individual and agency response.

DHS contractors subject to new COVID-19 screening procedures

The new restrictions come as federal agencies and industry grapple with how best to collaborate on projects under quarantines and social distancing guidelines designed to limit in-person gatherings. (April 3)

National Labs turn to 3D printing for medical supplies

National labs look to 3D printing to ease COVID medical supply chain squeeze, but reports show need remains stark. (April 2)

Lawmakers look to shield defense contractors from COVID-19 fallout

Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner and Texas Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry hope to protect national security by bolstering the industrial base. (April 2)

IRS outlines expanded flexible work schedule

The IRS, which is operating under an evacuation order that mandates telework for all eligible employees, released new guidance outlining its flexible work schedule policy. (April 2)

Pandemic delays GSA's e-commerce plans

With COVID-19 support response prioritized, the General Services Administration puts a hold on its e-commerce portal proof of concept contract. (April 1)

DOD issues permission slips for workers in national capital region

The Defense Department issued memos and permission letters for personnel working in the Washington, D.C. region as local and state governments' stay-at-home orders go into effect. (April 1).

COVID-19 could hamper national security, new data shows

Govini, a data and analytics fir3m, projected where the pandemic could impact Defense Department operations as cases increase and hospital beds become scarce. (April 1)

DOD suspends MHS Genesis deployment amid COVID-19 pandemic

The rollout of a commercial electronic health record system to Defense Department hospitals on pause to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (March 31)

OPM on balancing caregiving and official duties for teleworking feds

Agency stresses flexible work schedules, reserved on evacuation pay and administrative leave. (March 31)

FBI warns on Zoom conference security

New teleworkers can unintentionally open up videoconferences to unwanted intruders, warns the FBI. (March 31)

Vendors pile on the telework bandwagon

Companies that haven't considered federal markets are coming around to it, thanks to increased telework mandates, according to experts. (March 31)

AFGE sues for hazard pay

The national union alleges that "thousands of feds" likely exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 while on the job. (March 30)

$2 trillion stimulus bill offers needed relief but falls short on added costs, contractors say

Defense contractors would get some relief for personnel costs under the Senate-passed $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus and relief bill but worries over increased production costs remain. (March 27)

IRS planning workforce evacuation order

The order would mandate telework for all eligible employees regardless of their prior arrangements. (March 27)

OPM launches plan to help feds find COVID-19 response work details

The planned Surge Response Program is designed to consolidate pandemic response opportunities for current federal employees. (March 27)

$2T Senate rescue bill passes with some workforce protections, but absent measures sought by the House

The $2 trillion pandemic rescue bill does not include a rollback of three years of Trump administration federal workforce policy included in a bill formulated by House Democrats. (March 26)

Federal credentialing shifts to accommodate telework, distancing

With fingerprinting services not always available, agencies are going to have to take some calculated risks with new employees. (March 26)

States would get $400 million to run elections under COVID-19 threat

The money will be administered by the Election Assistance Commission, but some experts and lawmakers say it's not nearly enough. (March 26)

DOD official: 'Adversarial capital' threatens industrial base

The Defense Department is concerned that foreign investment will take advantage of small businesses experiencing severe financial consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic. (March 25)

Higher easy acquisition thresholds help the pivot to telework

OMB's expanded easy-acquisition procedures will be useful tool as pandemic response continues, said a trade group executive. (March 25)

Tech money, workforce provisions in $2.5 trillion House stimulus

The Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act offered by House Democrats expands telework, grants hazard pay to certain front line workers and would overturn a number of Trump administration workforce policies. (March 24)

DOD to extend maximum telework to contractors

The Pentagon is asking for "maximum telework flexibilities" extended to DOD service members and civilian employees also be made available to contractors when possible. (March 24)

SEWP cuts turnaround time to support COVID-19 response

Customers including DOD and FEMA are pressing NASA's acquisition vehicle for faster quotes to support COVID-19 response. (March 24)

Employee onboarding goes virtual

Swearing-in for feds along with certain document submission can be done remotely, advises the Office of Personnel Management. (March 24)

Let's call Dr. Fauci by his proper title -- public servant

Steve Kelman argues that Americans need to understand the essential contributions civil servants make to our society's mix. (March 23)

Can Congress work from home?

The legislative branch may soon follow much of the corporate world and institute telework for its core functions, but there are serious questions about whether it has the legal and technological infrastructure in place to make it practicable for very long. (March 23)

Barr presses states to allow critical feds to go to work

Attorney General William Barr asked states to ensure that mission-critical personnel can perform official duties despite local lockdowns. (March 23)

Labor Dept. waives some contractor compliance requirements

The Department of Labor's compliance program office temporarily waived some contractor affirmative action requirements to speed up COVID-19 response. (March 23)

White House tells agencies to take on virtual collaboration, service delivery

Agencies are being asked by the White House to look into the existing toolbox for ways to manage collaboration and access internally and service delivery to citizens as government withdraws from public view during the coronavirus pandemic. (March 22)

OPM fast-tracks hiring for coronavirus response

New, temporary appointment authority for Schedule A hires is in effect until March 2021 or public emergency is declared over. (March 22)

'Parts don’t get sick, people do': A look at DOD’s logistical challenges

The Defense Department is extremely efficient at planning and logistics, but the uncertainty surrounding how long and how widespread COVID-19 will be raises concerns on how parts, people, and acquisition will be affected. (March 20)

Contractors parking in Energy Dept. HQ to steer clear of Metro

As its employees move to telework, the Energy Department relaxes contractor parking rules at its D.C. headquarters. (March 20)

Contractors still waiting on consistent pandemic guidance

A few agencies have advised their contractors on how to proceed in the current uncertain environment, but lawmakers and trade groups want clear guidance and legislation amid the worsening pandemic. (March 19)

FAA administrator instructs employees to avoid agency facilities

Only mission-critical employees are required to report to agency facilities, the administrator -- who is himself quarantined after COVID-19 exposure -- told staff March 19. (March 19)

Weichert explains employee-facing crisis communications

Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert said OMB has been leading federal agencies in how to respond to employee questions operating status, telework and taking weather and safety leave. (March 19)

COVID-19 funding package includes federal building safety and security

The Trump administration wants hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding to clean and secure federal buildings from exposure to coronavirus. (March 19)

Trump inches closer to exercising powers over medical supply chain

A March 18 executive order positions President Trump to invoke enhanced contracting powers granted under the Defense Production Act. (March 18)

CFPB mandates telework

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is requiring employees to telework while frontline agencies are sharing assessments for lowering risk of exposure for employees who cannot telework. (March 18)

House leaders join Senate in asking Trump to mandate telework

Teleworking should be seen as an essential protection for mission-critical work, lawmakers say. (March 18)

DOD looks to industry for anti-COVID-19 prototypes

The Defense Department wants prototype solutions to combat the novel coronavirus disease and other emerging bio-threats, according to a March 15 request to industry. (March 18)

Are federal facilities prepared for COVID-19?

Former DHS officials and unions worry whether existing security measures will help protect federal employees from the growing coronavirus pandemic. (March 17)

NIST offers tips for secure telework

As virtual meetings and other online interactions become a reality for many federal agencies and businesses, so too do cybersecurity threats. (March 17)

The rush to telework is testing federal systems

The sudden expansion of federal telework in response to the coronavirus pandemic is teaching agencies how to move ahead with remote workers. (March 17)

White House rolls out operational pivot to manage pandemic

Federal agencies are being asked to realign non-mission critical activities and minimize face-to-face interactions with the general public to reduce coronavirus transmission. (March 17)

House Dems ask Trump to invoke emergency contracting authority

Special acquisition powers in a 1950 law could help the government obtain needed medical equipment in the coronavirus response. (March 16)

Agencies respond to White House telework guidance

As coronavirus measures tighten, many agencies are looking to offer workplace flexibilities for all employees regardless of previous eligibility. (March 16)

DOD faces network attacks amid telework uptick

The Defense Department's networks have been stressed since expanding telework to minimize coronavirus at defense agencies. (March 16)

Coronavirus spread may affect CMMC implementation efforts

It's unclear whether emergency measures to stem coronavirus' spread will affect DOD's roll out of its unified cybersecurity standard, but mitigation efforts will likely rely on teleconferencing for training. (March 16)

OMB urges 'maximum telework flexibilities' for DC-area feds

A Sunday evening memo ahead of a potentially chaotic commute urges agency heads to pivot to telework as much as possible. (March 15)

DOD halts domestic travel for its personnel through May 11

The Defense Department expanded its travel ban with new restrictions on domestic travel civilian and military personnel. (March 14)

White House looks to curtail U.S. travel for feds

Federal employees are recommended against domestic travel to conduct agency business, except for trips deemed mission-critical. (March 14)

CISA stress tests DHS telework capacity

Not every agency will be ready to flip the switch from F2F to WFH, according to experts and former officials. (March 13)

Spinning up telework presents procurement challenges

As concerns over the coronavirus outbreak drives more agencies towards expanding employee telework, federal acquisition contracts can help ease some of the pain. (March 11)

CDC: Data modernization would have improved coronavirus detection, tracking

Officials said more money would improve the agency's detection and tracking capabilities for emerging diseases. (March 10)

USCIS, SEC extend telework amid coronavirus concerns

The Securities and Exchange Commission said it was encouraging headquarters employees to telework as a cautionary measure. (March 10)

OPM presses agencies to prep for telework in updated COVID-19 guidance

Office of Personnel Management Director Dale Cabaniss urged agency heads over the weekend to "ensure that written telework agreements are in place for as many employees as possible," and encouraged agencies to extend ad hoc telework agreements to all telework eligible employees. (March 8)

DOD stresses telework, social distancing in COVID-19 guidance

Civilian employees at the Defense Department are urged to telework, teleconference and use leave when necessary while other agencies are formulating their own workforce policy responses. (March 9)

Contractors and COVID-19

Contracting work could require some creative thinking for agencies and contractors in the event facilities are affected by the spread of coronavirus. (March 9)

AFGE urges telework expansion amid coronavirus spread

A group of Senate Democrats urged the Office of Personnel Management to assure federal employees and contractors that they won't face any discipline or adverse employment actions for following official guidance on when to stay home from work. (March 6)

Supply chain jolts linked to coronavirus hit federal IT

A governmentwide federal contract vehicle joined large commercial suppliers in voicing concern over COVID-19's impact on IT supply chains. (Feb. 28)

About the Author

Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.


  • Workforce
    coronavirus molecule (creativeneko/

    OMB urges 'maximum telework flexibilities' for DC-area feds

    A Sunday evening memo ahead of a potentially chaotic commute urges agency heads to pivot to telework as much as possible.

  • Acquisition
    Shutterstock ID: 1993681 By Jurgen Ziewe

    Spinning up telework presents procurement challenges

    As concerns over the coronavirus outbreak drives more agencies towards expanding employee telework, federal acquisition contracts can help ease some of the pain.

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