HERD Act mandates federal employees at agencies including the IRS, SSA and VA return to duty.

On Thursday, a group of Republican senators led by Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), introduced the Having Employees Return to Duty (HERD) Act. U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith joined Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Rick Scott (R-FL) in cosponsoring the legislation.

The HERD Act would require federal government workers to return to their duty stations as COVID-19 vaccines and health management practices make it safer to resume in-person activities.

This bill also requires all federal employees to return to the hours and locations they worked prior to the pandemic’s beginning in March 2020. The measure includes an exception for the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We’ve learned a lot over the past 19 months through best practices, science, and vaccines for federal workers to return to their duty stations safely.  The limitations of prolonged absences from offices is affecting casework and other services on which seniors, veterans, and others in Mississippi rely,” Hyde-Smith said. “I think it makes sense for folks to get back to the office.”

Senator Lummis, author of the bill, stated that it is long past time for federal workers to be back in the office helping the people across the United States.

“There is a huge casework backlog, and that is negatively impacting our veterans, our seniors, our business owners and American citizens,” Senator Lummis said. “It’s time to put aside politics, follow the science and get back to work. Americans across the country have been returning to in-person work, and the federal bureaucrats who work for them should do the same.”

Government agencies were required to submit their reentry plans to the Office of Management and Budget by July 19. President Biden announced on July 29 that federal employees must certify being vaccinated or submit to frequent testing and then in September, issued a vaccine mandate.