As federal employees continue to be recalled to workplaces, NTEU remains on the forefront urging agencies to take steps to ensure a safe return. National President Tony Reardon outlined the safeguards the union is calling for in a statement last week to a House subcommittee examining how the government can protect federal employees while maintaining operations. Reardon called for measures including COVID-19 testing of employees and contact tracing, increased cleaning of workspaces, social distancing policies, plexiglass barriers for public-facing employees and staggered scheduling.
The NTEU leader also advocated for maximizing telework policies and other flexibilities for employees with ongoing caregiving responsibilities, and weather and safety leave for high-risk employees who are still unable to work. Reardon reiterated NTEU's support for the HEROES Act, which would provide premium pay for employees who have regular contact with the public, as well as legislation to protect annual leave benefits for employees who cannot take time off due to the pandemic.