Path Forward Toward Resuming Normal Operations from the Global Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Last edited 02/15/2023

Interior Team, 

We are all incredibly appreciative of how hard everyone across the Interior Department is working to support the important and critical work of our agency as we adjust to the all of government COVID-19 response, while continuing to manage the impacts of the pandemic on our personal lives. Thank you for all you are doing.

To get us started down the path toward resuming normal operating conditions, this memorandum modifies some terms and extends other terms, through May 23, 2020, of previous guidance regarding telework and leave options.

Telework will no longer be mandatory for all telework-ready Interior employees once their work locality passes into the Phase 1 gate as described on our COVID SharePoint site. National and regional leadership, in consultation with the Secretary’s Field Special Assistants (FSAs), may continue flexible telework and leave options for their employees through the pay period ending May 23, 2020 consistent with the President’s and OMB/OPM's guidelines, and informed by the guidance of local and state authorities. When making leave and telework determinations and approving alternative work arrangements, senior executives will be guided by the DOI phases in Appendix A (attached) as they affect states and regions within states. During the rise of the pandemic the FSAs worked with their regional executive teams to achieve inter-bureau consistency on a regional level; that role will continue to be important as we emerge from the pandemic.

Maximum telework or weather and safety leave remains appropriate for some employees, with further consideration given to those employees who self-identify as being at high risk based on criteria as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Depending on the relevant circumstances, leave options may include: use of excused absence administrative leave, sick leave or other forms of personal leave, weather and safety leave, leave requested pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act, and emergency paid sick leave requested and authorized under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Teleworking employees who have childcare and/or dependent care responsibilities that have been affected by COVID-19 may continue to have access to up to 20 hours per pay period of excused absence administrative leave, with the approval of their supervisor.

As we move through the gates and phases, we expect that fewer employees will need to be on COVID-19 related hazardous duty pay. Regional executives should end hazardous duty pay as governors or local governments suspend stay at home orders within their jurisdictions.

We have created a new tab on the DOI COVID-19 Portal with the latest information and guidance to support returning to normal operations. The Portal remains an excellent source of information as we all work toward reestablishing normal conditions. More FAQs will be added over the coming days and weeks so check back frequently as it is an excellent source of information. Additionally, employees who need additional assistance or are encountering difficult challenges during this time are encouraged to reach out to their supervisors, as well as Interior’s Employee Assistance Program (ESPYR).

This memorandum is effective immediately. As we achieve the gating criteria and move through the phases as outlined in The White House guidelines related to the resuming normal operations, this policy will be revised.

Scott J. Cameron 
Acting Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget


Click here for a signed copy of this memo which contains the same information as above.

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