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Pay & Leave Leave Administration

Fact Sheet: 5 Days of Excused Absence for Employees Returning from Active Military Duty

Description

Federal civilian employees who are called to active duty in support of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) (formerly the Global War on Terrorism) are entitled to 5 days of excused absence upon their return from active duty. The intent of this entitlement, which was granted through Presidential Memorandum, is to provide 5 days of paid time off (excused absence) to employees returning to Federal civilian service from active duty to aid in their readjustment to civilian life.

Entitlement to 5 days of Excused Absence

A civilian employee is entitled to 5 days of excused absence after he or she returns from active military duty in support of the contingency operation -- such as those called to active duty as part of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn, as well as any other current or future military operations deemed to be part of the OCO. The President’s memorandum applies to all employees called to active duty in support of the OCO, regardless of whether they are deployed overseas or stateside. The 5 days of excused absence are pro-rated for employees on uncommon tours of duty (see Q&A 12).

Minimum Service Requirements

Since the intent of the 5 days of excused absence is to aid employees in their readjustment to civilian life, employees must have served a significant period of time on active duty before being eligible for the 5 days of excused absence. Therefore, an employee may be granted 5 days of excused absence only after he or she returns from at least 42 consecutive days of active military service in connection with the continuing OCO.

Multiple Deployments

For subsequent periods of active duty in support of the OCO, an agency may not grant more than 5 days of excused absence within a 12-month period. The 12-month period begins on the first day of excused absence and ends 365 days later. An employee called to active duty on multiple occasions is therefore entitled to receive 5 days of excused absence as long as the service meets the 42 consecutive days standard and the employee has not received 5 days of excused absence during the previous 365 days.

Timing

The 5 days of excused absence must be granted as soon as an eligible employee reports back for Federal civilian duty or notifies the agency of his or her intent to return to civilian duty, except in the following situations:

  1. If the employee had received 5 days of excused absence following a period of active duty, but was not granted the 5 days of excused absence for a second or subsequent period of active duty, he or she may take the 5 days of excused absence at a time mutually agreeable to the employee and the agency.
  2. If, for any other reason, the employee was not granted the 5 days of excused absence upon return, he or she should be granted the 5 days of excused absence at a time mutually agreeable to the employee and the agency.

Additionally, the 5 days of excused absence must be used for a continuous period immediately upon return. The days may not be “stockpiled” for use at a later date. The commencement of the 5 days of excused absence represents a return to Federal civilian employment (i.e., to pay and duty status), and the employee is obligated to report for work at the end of the 5-day period.

Questions and Answers on Excused Absence for Employees Returning from Active Duty in the Overseas Contingency Operations

Eligibility Examples

Example 1:

On July 31, 2011, an employee is called to active duty in support of the OCO for 120 days. Upon return to Federal civilian service, the employee is granted 5 days of excused absence to aid in readjustment to civilian life. The 5 days of excused absence are used November 28 through December 2, 2011, and the employee returns to his or her Federal civilian duties on December 5, 2011. On April 3, 2012, the employee is again called to active duty in support of the OCO for 45 days. Upon return to Federal civilian service on May 21, 2012, the employee is not eligible for 5 days of excused absence, as the employee is still within the same 12-month period. The first 12-month period during which 5 days of excused absence was granted expires on November 27, 2012.

Example 2:

On May 1, 2011, an employee is called to active duty in support of the OCO for 120 days. Upon return to Federal civilian service, the employee is granted 5 days of excused absence to aid in readjustment to civilian life. The 5 days of excused absence are used August 29 through September 2, 2011, and the employee returns to his or her Federal civilian duties on September 6, 2011. On July 23, 2012, the employee is again called to active duty in support of the OCO for 45 days. Upon return to Federal civilian service on September 10, 2012, the employee is eligible for 5 days of excused absence, as the first 12-month period during which 5 days of excused absence was granted expires on August 28, 2012 (i.e., will end on the day before the first anniversary of the employee's beginning to use excused absence). The first day of excused absence, September 10, 2012, would be the start of a new 12-month period, which will end September 9, 2013.

Example 3:

On March 5, 2012, an employee is called to active duty in support of the OCO for 30 days. Upon return to Federal civilian service, the employee requests 5 days of excused absence prior to returning to his or her Federal civilian duties. The employee is not eligible for 5 days of excused absence since the period of active duty did not meet the qualifying requirement of at least 42 consecutive days.

Example 4:

On February 6, 2012, an employee is called to active duty in support of the OCO for 20 days. On May 14, 2012, the employee is again called to active duty in support of the OCO for 10 days. On October 1, 2012, the employee is called to active duty for the third time in support of the OCO for 20 days. The employee returns to his civilian duties after each period of active duty. Upon return to Federal civilian service on October 22, 2012, the employee requests 5 days of excused absence based on 50 days of active duty. The employee is not eligible for 5 days excused absence since none of the individual periods of active duty meet the qualifying requirement of at least 42 consecutive days.

References

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