May 07, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) joined a bipartisan group of 19 Senators to urge the Administration to take immediate steps to support federal employees and contractors during the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Russell T. Vought and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Acting Director Michael J. Rigas, the Senators emphasize several actions that the administration should take to support essential public servants who continue to fulfill their duties during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many federal workers and contractor employees are putting themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 to work on the frontlines of the public health response and continue essential public-facing services,” wrote the senators. “We appreciate the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance on recruitment, retention, and relocation bonuses in response to COVID-19, and we urge you to build on this by using existing hazard pay authority to provide a 25% increase in basic pay for employees in essential, frontline, or public-facing positions whose jobs cannot be accomplished while maintaining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing recommendations. The statute provides for hazardous pay differentials for duties involving unusual hazards that are not typical for the job, which certainly describes the current situation for many workers.”
“The need for adequate supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a significant concern for frontline and essential workers across the country, including federal employees and contractors, who have not had access to the PPE as well as cleaning and disinfecting supplies they need to do their job safely,” continued the Senators. “Congress has provided significant resources to address these needs for workers across the country, as well as appropriations for several agencies to procure the safety equipment and supplies needed for their workforces. All federal employees and contractors – like workers across the country – should have everything they need to stay safe on the job.”
Joining Senator Collins and King on the letter are U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
The full letter can be downloaded HERE.