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Civilians authorized exercise time

WASHINGTON -- Air Force appropriated-fund civilian employees are now authorized to take up to three hours off each week to exercise according to a policy change memorandum issued June 23.

It is all about encouraging employees to adopt lifestyles that support healthy working environments, said Maj. Gen. John M. Speigel, director of personnel policy.

“Incorporating this policy into our current environment is reflective of our continuing interest in fostering healthy lifestyles, and is especially important considering the stressful environment in which we work and live,” Speigel said.

This policy will be left up to local commander discretion, based on mission requirements and major command guidance, the general said. As workloads permit, managers and supervisors will determine the employees’ use of time off for exercise activities. In addition, commanders are free to use other flexibilities already in place such as alternative work schedules, credit hours, compensatory time-off, annual leave or leave without pay.

Physical exercise activities may include participation in intramural sports, running, walking or use of the base gym. The physical activity must enhance the Air Force’s mission in some appreciable manner. The goal is to ensure the health and wellness of the Air Force’s workforce, both civilian and military, Speigel said.

Participants must meet certain civilian health promotion criteria to realize this benefit, Speigel said. Civilians wishing to participate in a local program may be required to obtain a fitness education assessment from their primary care provider or physician and should maintain a log or record of their activities, goals and progress.

Participation in a health promotion program is generally restricted to the use of facilities under the direct control of the installation commander. Participants must also complete a request for approval for excused absence and get approval from their second-line supervisor. As with many new programs, local bargaining obligations must be satisfied before implementation.

This policy change will be reflected in the next revision of Air Force Instruction 36-815, “Absence and Leave.”

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