Workforce

OPM lifts caps on hazard pay for COVID-19

By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268 

Government employees who are considered essential frontline workers could receive extra pay during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management.

Acting OPM Director Michael Rigas sent a memo on April 14 to agency heads informing them that a recent relief bill lifted limits on how much agencies could pay their employees and waived annual constraints on how much overtime employees could claim.

"The head of an agency [can] waive the premium pay limitation [under Title 5 of the U.S. Code] and apply a higher annual premium pay cap for services performed by an employee during fiscal year 2020 that the head of the agency determines are primarily related to the preparation, prevention, or response to COVID-19," Rigas wrote.

According to OPM, only employees whose agencies receive funding or reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their premium pay rates are eligible.

Guaranteeing workers extra pay and personal protective equipment during the pandemic has remained a pressing concern.

Last week, a group of Democratic Senators led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced they were drafting legislation that would grant essential workers -- including federal employees ordered to work during the pandemic -- hazard pay that would be on par with a $13 per hour raise.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a former staff writer and associate editor at FCW.

Featured

  • Comment
    Diverse Workforce (Image: Shutterstock)

    Who cares if you wear a hoodie or a suit? It’s the mission that matters most

    Responding to Steve Kelman's recent blog post, Alan Thomas shares the inside story on 18F's evolution.

  • Cybersecurity
    enterprise security (Omelchenko/Shutterstock.com)

    Does Einstein need a post-SolarWinds makeover?

    A marquee program designed to protect the government against cybersecurity threats is facing new scrutiny in the wake of Solar Winds Orion breach, but analysts say the program was unlikely to have ever stopped the hacking campaign.

Stay Connected