January 4, 2001

Contact: Joe Cowart
(202) 606-2402

President Clinton Approves Time off for Health
Screening for Federal Employees

Washington, DC - Federal employees with limited available sick leave will be able to take up to four hours of additional paid time off each year for health screenings like mammography, pap smears, and blood pressure and cholesterol checks, according to an announcement by President Clinton, today.

The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the health insurance plan for federal employees, covers a wide range of preventive health services, including screening for prostate, cervical, colo-rectal and breast cancer and screening for sickle cell and blood lead levels.

"This initiative is an incredible opportunity for federal workers to take a proactive role in defeating serious disease while it is in its earliest and most curable stages," said OPM Director, Janice R. Lachance. "For a simple investment of a few hours per employee, significant improvements in the health and well-being of the entire federal workforce will be the ultimate result," Lachance added

The President's memorandum also wants agencies to step up health screenings by:

The President's memorandum, signed today, directs agencies to review their policies and make maximum use of existing work scheduling and leave flexibilities to allow federal employees to take advantage of screening programs and other preventive health measures. Such flexibilities include flexible and compressed work schedules and sick and annual leave programs. In addition, the President directs agencies to excuse employees from work to participate in agency sponsored health activities.

The Office of Personnel Management will have a new publication -- "A Federal Workplace guide to Preventive Health Services," available on its website which will answer many of the administrative questions agencies might have in implementing preventive health programs and provides relevant examples and resources. Link to this publication at


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Web page created 4 January 2001