Federal government staff OPPOSE going back to work because of Delta variant spread – despite massive backlogs and wait times for passports and benefits
- Federal government workers are balking at in-person work with the Delta variant causing COVID cases to spike
- Agencies are detailing plans for hundreds of thousands of employees returning to the office after Labor Day, with a full return planned by the end of the year
- Unions representing federal workers have concerns about Delta variant
- Delta variant accounts for 83 percent of all new infections on U.S. soil
Federal government workers, who were supposed to return to their offices this fall, are balking at in-person work with the Delta variant causing COVID cases to spike in the United States.
The Biden administration, in June, released a memo outlining the goals for the large-scale return to in-person work across the government. Federal agencies were asked to respond with a detailed plan for their office buildings by July 19.
That plan included hundreds of thousands of employees returning to the office after Labor Day, with a full return planned by the end of the year.
But now there is rising concern among Biden administration officials and unions representing federal workers about returning to in-person work for the more than 2.1 million federal employees, The Washington Post reported.
Federal government workers are balking at in-person work with the Delta variant causing COVID cases to spike
President Joe Biden’s administration has asked agencies for plans about in-person work
The detailed plans submitted to the White House for the agencies reopen do include COVID provisions, including office cleaning, testing, staggered work schedules and having desks social distanced. Also some jobs will remain eligible for continued full- and part-time telework.
But rising COVID cases across the country have some federal employees worried that won’t be enough.
The US recorded more than 42,706 new cases on Tuesday with a seven-day rolling average of nearly 37,056.
Just three weeks ago, the seven-day rolling average was 10,678 new cases.
Every state aside from Iowa has seen infections rise or hold steady in the last week, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins data.
Additionally, 298 COVID-19 deaths were recorded on Tuesday with a seven-day rolling average of 274.
Fatalities, which are a lagging indicator, have not dramatically risen but instead have slightly increased by 6.6 percent from the average of 257 recorded three weeks prior.
Meanwhile, several aides on Capitol Hill have had breakthrough COVID – testing positive after being vaccinated – while the White House admitted there have been more COVID breakthrough cases among staff than publicly announced.
Many White House staff are working back in the complex after starting off the Biden administration teleworking due to the COVID restrictions.
President Joe Biden is considering recommending that all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, go back to masking up, another Post report revealed, as the top doctor on Capitol Hill advised congressional staff to consider doing the same.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its mask guidance back in May, saying fully vaccinated Americans could go without masks in almost all indoor and outdoor settings, with the exception of public transport.
But since then, the Delta variant has spread rapidly, now accounting for 83 percent of all new infections on US soil and sending COVID-19 cases soaring 244 percent in the last three weeks.
Some federal workers had to continue in person work, such as Post Office employees. But there were delays in mail service due to the combo of more people doing their shopping online and the Postal Service implementing COVID protective measures to keep staff safe.
TSA staff and Customs and Border Protection staff also had no choice but to work in-person.
Other government services have been impacted, such as passport applications, which are taking up to 18 weeks to process.
The State Department has an application backlog of between 1 and a half million to 2 million.
About 60 per cent of federal workers teleworked during the height of the COVID pandemic.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders are pushing for the federal work force to return to the office.