Reminder regarding COVID-19 and COP

Don’t let your supervisor screw up your OWCP case

In light of the dramatic increase in new COVID-19 cases among U.S. Border Patrol employees, we’ve seen problems all over again with supervisors who still do not understand how continuation of pay (COP) works.

If you test positive for COVID-19, tell your supervisor, and then go fill out a CA-1 on the DOL ECOMP website, which you can access from your cell phone or home computer. Your supervisor might tell you to wait and fill it out when you get back to work, but they would be giving you terrible advice you should definitely not listen to. Fill it out as soon as you can.

If you do not fill out a CA-1 right away, your supervisor is going to put you down as using your own sick leave, which you don’t need to do. When you submit the CA-1, there is an option near the end to elect to use COP — make sure you choose COP.

Now, if your supervisor is someone who is challenged by OWCP claims, they might tell you that you do not get to claim COP until the case is accepted by DOL — they’re doing it wrong. COP goes into effect as soon as you submit the CA-1, starting with the first full day you were out of work because of your illness.

If your supervisor insists they are correct and makes you use sick leave until DOL approves the case, contact a union rep in your station so we can get the issue fixed right away.

The agency is getting ready to release guidance that is in line with the CDC’s new guidance about a five-day quarantine period. Since there’s a greater chance that people will still be sick on Day 6, know that you are not required to return on Day 6 just because your supervisor tells you to. There are only certain situations in which the agency can terminate your COP, which you can read about here. If you are sick, you are sick, so make sure your supervisor understands that.

If your supervisor orders you to return to work after Day 5 and you are still sick, contact a union rep right away.

If it has been a while since you read the union’s member advisory and FAQ regarding COVID-19 and OWCP claims, be sure to check them out.