Emergency Paid Leave Fund

Federal Employees looking to take advantage of the Emergency Paid Leave may have to act fast as funds are getting gobbled up by agencies.

The American Rescue Plan Act was passed by Congress earlier this year and created a special fund to provide emergency leave to Federal Employees. Once the delegated $570 million is used up, though, it will not be replenished. If all of the money isn’t used, the paid leave becomes unavailable regardless after September 30th. Until either of these outcomes happen, the emergency benefit can be utilized by eligible full-time employees- and some part-time feds, depending on the number of hours they work. This special leave can even be exchanged retroactively with scheduled sick or annual leave for days already taken off. However, any of the hours covered by the emergency paid leave will not count towards an employee’s total service hours when calculating their pension amount.


The specific circumstances that make an employee eligible for the leave are:

  • They’re subject to a local, state, or federal quarantine due to COVID-19.
  • They’ve been advised by a healthcare professional to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  • They’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • They’re experiencing a condition similar to COVID-19 (may need additional approval from your agency).
  • They’re caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed, or the daycare provider is unavailable.
  • They’re caring for a family member 55 years of age or older, who has a mental or physical disability.
  • They’re recovering from an illness related to the COVID-19 vaccination.

If eligible, an employee can claim the paid leave, which will pay their hourly rate plus any premium pay- up to a point. The amount cannot exceed $2800 in a single biweekly period. The maximum amount that an employee can use is 600 hours.

Money and Time Taken

As of the end of June, roughly 86% of the initial $570 million had been claimed, meaning about $491 million is spent, with $79 million remaining. The top five agencies that had utilized the most money and time from the fund were:

  • The US Postal Service: 2.7m hours - $71.4m
  • Social Security Administration: 112,800 hours - $3.9m
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs: 58,100 hours - $1.5m
  • Department of Justice: 19,400 hours- $680,500
  • Department of Defense: 4,700 hours- $262,000


Until Next Time,

Benefits Ben, STWS

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

Emergency Paid Leave Fund

Emergency Paid Leave Fund