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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Annual Leave

  • Yes. An employee who has received a RIF notice and is being involuntarily separated from an agency due to reduction in force or transfer of function may elect to use annual leave and remain on the agency's rolls after the date the employee otherwise would have been separated in order to establish initial eligibility for immediate retirement, including discontinued service or voluntary early retirement. The same option is also available to acquire eligibility to continue health benefits into retirement. In addition, an employee who is being involuntarily separated under adverse action procedures because of his or her decision to decline relocation (including transfer of function) may use annual leave to remain on the agency's rolls after the effective date of the relocation to establish initial eligibility for immediate retirement (including discontinued service or voluntary early retirement) and/or to establish initial eligibility to continue health benefits coverage into retirement. For further information, contact your agency personnel office or retirement counselor.
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  • No. The Comptroller General has ruled consistently that if restored leave is forfeited again, there is no legal authority for its further restoration. Any restored leave unused at the expiration of the established time limits is again forfeited with no further right to restoration. In addition, administrative error may not serve as the basis to extend the time limit for using restored annual leave. This is so even if the agency fails to establish a separate leave account, fix the date for the expiration of the time limit, or properly advise the employee regarding the rules for using restored annual leave absent agency regulations requiring otherwise. (See Comptroller General opinions B-188993, December 12, 1977; B-213380, August 20, 1984; and B-256975, October 11, 1994.)
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  • Agencies may restore annual leave that was forfeited because it was in excess of the maximum leave ceilings (i.e., 30, 45, or 90 days) if the leave was forfeited because of—
    1. an administrative error;
    2. an  exigency of the public business; or
    3. sickness of the employee.  
    Leave that is forfeited because of an exigency of the public business or sickness of the employee may be considered for restoration only if the annual leave was scheduled in writing before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year. (See 5 CFR 630.308.) The determination as to what constitutes an administrative error is the responsibility of the employing agency. A determination that an exigency is of major importance and that excess annual leave cannot be used must be made by the head of the agency or his or her designee.  For more information, see the Restoration of Annual Leave fact sheet.
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  • Agencies may restore annual leave that was forfeited because it was in excess of the maximum leave ceilings (i.e., 30, 45, or 90 days) if the leave was forfeited because of—
    1. an administrative error;
    2. an  exigency of the public business; or
    3. sickness of the employee.  
    Leave that is forfeited because of an exigency of the public business or sickness of the employee may be considered for restoration only if the annual leave was scheduled in writing before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year. (See 5 CFR 630.308.) The determination as to what constitutes an administrative error is the responsibility of the employing agency. A determination that an exigency is of major importance and that excess annual leave cannot be used must be made by the head of the agency or his or her designee.  For more information, see the Restoration of Annual Leave fact sheet.
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  • In most cases, restored annual leave must be scheduled and used not later than the end of the leave year ending 2 years after --
    • the date of restoration of the annual leave forfeited because of administrative error;
    • the date fixed by the head of the agency or designee as the date of termination of the exigency of the public business; or
    • the date the employee is determined to be recovered and able to return to duty.
    The above limitations do not apply to
    • Department of Defense employees at installations undergoing closure or realignment (BRAC) (see 5 CFR 630.306(b));  
    • employees whose annual leave was forfeited because of an extended exigency of the public business (see 5 CFR 630.309); or
    • employees who are subject to an exigency of the public business because they are determined necessary to respond to the “National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks” (see 5 CFR 630.311).
    For more information, see the Restoration of Annual Leave fact sheet.
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