Working for the federal government as it reopens offices during the Covid-19 pandemic offers advantages unavailable to private sector employees. But that doesn’t necessarily make federal return-to-work less challenging.
The nation’s 2.1 million federal employees generally have more job security than those in the private sector. The government isn’t going to run out of money, about half the workers are represented by unions, and civil service protections insulate them from layoffs.
Unlike their private sector counterparts, however, federal workers face unique pressures—based on politics, paper requirements, and other considerations—to return to work despite safety concerns. This has created tension between agencies and government unions.