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A medical technician uses a nasal swab to test a patient for coronavirus at the COVID-19 clinic at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, March 20, 2020.
A medical technician uses a nasal swab to test a patient for coronavirus at the COVID-19 clinic at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, March 20, 2020. (Brian Ferguson/Stars and Stripes)

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Defense Department civilians can take up to two weeks of paid emergency leave if they or a family member are affected by the coronavirus, the Army said this week.

Civilians are eligible if they are under government orders to quarantine or if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, the Army said in a statement Monday.

The new emergency leave category is separate from sick leave and is authorized through Dec. 31.

Employees who have symptoms of coronavirus and are diagnosed with it also can receive emergency leave at their normal pay rate.

“They must, however, provide documentation of the government agency that issued the quarantine order or the name of the health care provider who advised the self-quarantine,” the Army said.

Employees caring for a person under a government order to stay at home or directed by a doctor to quarantine will be paid at two-thirds of their normal pay rate, the Army said.

“This includes parents who care for a child under the age of 18 whose school may be closed or had their place of care closed due to quarantine restrictions,” the Army said.

But because the civilian pay system has not yet been adjusted to account for those who take emergency leave to care for others, that category of employee will be paid at the full amount but will have to repay one-third of the sum received, the Army said. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service will take back the owed sum in future pay periods.

The Army cautioned that some agencies could establish exemptions that make some workers ineligible if they are deemed essential.

vandiver.john@stripes.com Twitter: @john_vandiver

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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