COVID-19 is an Act of God (Nature)

The USPS COVID-19 decision tree (1-21-2021) says when a non-symptomatic employee shares a household with a COVID-19 positive individual or has been exposed outside of work to a COVID-19 positive individual, they are to be sent home without pay unless they use their own annual or sick leave. The employee that reveals this private information is rewarded with loss of pay and/or leave. The employee is under no legal obligation to reveal this private information.

The only justification I can find for management to deny work or pay to a FTR employee with or without COVID-19 symptoms is Article 16.7 Emergency Procedure: “An employee may be immediately placed on an off-duty status (without pay) by the Employer, but remain on the rolls … where the employee may be injurious to self or others.”

Without COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, the supervisor has no proof that the employee may be injurious to others. It is speculation. The COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency. It is an Act of God (Nature) that affects everyone.

OPM’s policy for other federal employees is very sensible: “An agency may authorize weather and safety leave (admin leave) to an employee exposed to COVID19, even if asymptomatic, if a local health authority determines the employee would jeopardize the health of others if allowed to return to work.”

First Name: Don
Last Name: Cheney
Union/Local: APWU – Auburn WA Local
Office held if any: Retired President

Related: APWU vehemently opposes USPS COVID-19 Decision Tree

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