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An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Leave Policy

  • Yes. Even if an agency or installation is closed, a supervisor may require any employee to report for, or remain at work.  Emergency employees are expected to report to or remain at their worksite in dismissal or closure situations unless otherwise directed by their agencies. In rare events, an agency may determine that circumstances justify granting excused absence to an emergency employee. An agency may grant a reasonable amount of excused absence to an emergency employee who is unable to report for work or faces a personal hardship. For example, factors such as distance, availability of public transportation, available alternatives to childcare or eldercare, or health/medical limitations may be considered. When Government operations are disrupted and offices are closed to the public for an extended period of time, an agency may determine that changing circumstances require non-emergency employees to report for work. Consequently, each agency should establish a procedure for notifying and recalling these employees. OPM advises agencies to identify non-emergency employees who are expected to remain in contact with their agencies at all times during dismissal or closure situations to maintain continuity readiness. Such employees may be called to work during emergencies dealing with national security, extended emergencies, or other unique situations. Agencies should anticipate the emergency situations in which such employees will be expected to report for work at a regular worksite or alternative worksite and the circumstances under which they will be permitted to telework, if they prefer, and should notify affected employees of this policy. The Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures, available at https://www.opm.gov/oca/compmemo/dismissal.pdf, discusses closure situations in more detail.
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  • For information on how a period of leave without pay (LWOP) may affect various benefits and programs, please see our Leave without Pay - Effect on Federal Benefits and Programs fact sheet.
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  • No. The Comptroller General has advised that a lump-sum payment for unused annual leave which is correctly and legally made to a Federal employee upon his or her separation from Government service may not later be considered an "erroneous" payment within the meaning of the statute authorizing waiver of erroneous overpayments of compensation (5 U.S.C. 5584). This is true even though the employee accepts another Federal appointment without any awareness that he will then become legally obligated to refund part of that lump-sum leave payment by accepting reemployment. (See B-200327, November 13, 1980.)
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  • For information and guidance on court leave, which is available to employees called to jury duty, please see the Court Leave fact sheet.
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  • Military leave is available to full-time and "part-time career" (PTC) employees only. Normally, PTC employees must work between 16 and 32 hours per workweek (5 U.S.C. 3401(2)). When an employee works two PTC positions, the amount of military leave that may be credited in each PTC position is in direct proportion to the number of hours scheduled for duty in each PTC position, not to exceed in the aggregate 15 days of military leave each fiscal year. However, military leave credited to one PTC position cannot be used for hours of absence from a second PTC position.
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  • A part-time employee earns annual leave and sick leave on a pro-rata basis. (See 5 CFR 630.303 and 630.406.) Therefore, an employee who works concurrently in two part-time Federal positions earns annual and sick leave on a pro-rata basis for the hours worked in each part-time position. In addition, only the leave earned in a given part-time position may be used for absences from that position. For example, if an employee who works 4 hours a day/20 hours a week in the first part-time position and 4 hours a day/20 hours a week in the second position is ill for 1 workday, he or she should be charged 4 hours of sick leave in the first part-time position and 4 hours of sick leave in the second part-time position.
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  • By law, under 5 U.S.C. 6103,  the holiday is known as “Washington’s Birthday.”  The holiday had been celebrated on George Washington’s actual birthday on February 22 for many years, but it was changed to the third Monday in February as a result of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968.  Though some State and local jurisdictions and retailers may jointly honor Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and refer to the holiday as “Presidents’ Day,” the official Federal holiday is “Washington’s Birthday."
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  • Yes. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), a covered employee is entitled to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for certain family and medical needs, including a serious health condition of the employee. An employee may substitute annual leave or sick leave for any or all of the period of unpaid leave, consistent with current law and regulations. An employee awaiting approval of his or her request for disability retirement is entitled to use any or all of the 12 workweeks of leave under the FMLA, if he or she continues to meet the requirements and obligations under the FMLA.
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  • For information and guidance on the leave and work scheduling flexibilities available for childbirth or adoption, see our Leave and Work Scheduling Flexibilities Available for Childbirth and Leave and Work Scheduling Flexibilities Available for Adoption fact sheets.
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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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