Navigating the FEMA Employee Exodus: Understanding the Impact, New Legal Protections, and Available Resources
The federal emergency management agency (FEMA) is losing employees at an alarming rate and has been since the pandemic. FEMA strives to make sure our country is equipped to prepare for and respond to disasters. With the recent global pandemic, emergency preparedness has been a constant need. This constant need has caused an increase in stress and burnout among its employees.
A new law was recently signed to protect FEMA reservists’ job protections while they are deployed to a disaster, even if they are unable to give prior notice before deploying. These new protections will hopefully help the recruitment and retention of FEMA employees.
Regardless, working in an agency that focuses on responding to disasters can be overwhelming. FEMA employees should know about the resources and benefits available to them.
Mental Health Resources for Government Employees
May was mental health awareness month and agencies across the country have been sharing mental health tips for those struggling. The Department of Labor recently shared some important information regarding mental health in the workplace and have information on their site regarding your legal rights and mental health.
The VA has shared mental health resources all accessible to Veterans, Veterans’ supporters, and the general public.
The OPM has even talked about a new interagency listserv called Mindful Fed that will offer tools and activities that federal employees can use to maintain their mental health.
Additionally, FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security websites include resources available for their employees to reference.
Support throughout your career is crucial if you’re facing difficulties at work.
Every federal agency offers Employee Assistance Programs for employees confronting life’s challenges. Employee Assistance Program services include “assessments, counseling, and referrals for additional services.” These services can be life-changing for those dealing with high amounts of stress, financial issues, mental health diagnoses, or any other problem affecting their work.
Another form of support is the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA). FEEA is a non-profit exclusively provides emergency financial aid and scholarships to civilian federal and postal public servants and their families.
For recovery breaks, the federal government provides various leave options. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in addition to any sick or annual leave you may have accrued.
FEMA career employees should also consider Federal Disability Retirement. This benefit allows federal employees to retire early if they are unable to perform their job due to an injury or illness. This benefit can be especially beneficial for FEMA employees who may face burnout or other medical conditions due to demanding work schedules.
Harris Federal Law Firm is here to educate all federal employees and to help you through the Federal Disability Retirement process and get the benefits you deserve. Schedule a FREE consultation today to see if you qualify.