Guidance for Department of Defense Civilians

Current as of March 30, 2020


The Department of Defense is committed to evaluating the threat from coronavirus disease 2019 and its impact on the nation’s security. Actions include restricting official travel and other steps to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health of our civilian employees, contractor employees, service members and families.

Supervisors or base commanders can answer your questions about civilian and military policies. Local and state health departments will have information specific to your community.

Travel restrictions

The Department of Defense has halted official domestic travel through May 11, 2020, and overseas travel for 60 days starting March 25. This applies to civilian military employees, service members and families. Learn more about the travel restrictions.

Changes at your workplace

Keeping a safe distance from others is key to limiting the spread of COVID-19. Your supervisor may ask you to:

  • Work an alternative schedule, such as compressed hours or flexible workdays or hours.
  • Participate in teleconferences rather than in-person meetings.
  • Work from home, if you can carry out your duties through telework.

If your workplace closes due to COVID-19, your command may authorize Weather and Safety leave to employees who can’t perform their duties at home. Teleworkers should continue to work as normal.

When you must stay at home

There may be times when staying home is in the best interest of your coworkers and the community.

  • You must self-quarantine for 14 days if you recently returned from overseas travel. You should telework during this time, if possible. You may receive Weather and Safety leave if you can’t perform your duties remotely.
  • You may receive Weather and Safety leave if public health authorities order you to self-quarantine.
  • You may request telework if you have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 and want to self-quarantine. You may also request annual leave, advanced annual leave, other paid time off or leave without pay.
  • You may request telework if you need to care for a family member who is not sick, but who is in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19. You must track your hours and use paid or unpaid leave for time spent on caregiving.

Working when school or day care closes

If your child’s day care or school has shut down because of COVID-19 and you don’t have alternative child care, check with your supervisor about the following options:

  • Continue teleworking while your children are home. You must track your hours and use paid or unpaid leave for time spent on caregiving.
  • Use annual leave or other paid time off, such as accrued compensatory time or credit hours.
  • Work an alternative schedule, such as compressed hours or flexible workdays or hours.

If you or a family member is sick

  • Speak with your supervisor if you or a family member becomes sick and you run out of sick leave. You may receive an advance of up to 30 days of sick leave for yourself, and up to 13 days of sick leave to care for a family member who is ill.
  • If you become ill and need emergency care while working overseas, your command may prepay the cost of your care.
  • If your illness is work-related, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Healthy habits at work and home

We all have a role in keeping ourselves, our coworkers and others healthy and safe.

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Call your doctor if you have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you regularly touch — counters, desktops, door handles, coffee pots, keyboards.

We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves and additional guidance for civilian employees develops. You can find this guidance at Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service Emergency Preparedness.

Our understanding of COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Stay up to date by checking the Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page.