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Pay & Leave Leave Administration

Fact Sheet: Advanced Sick Leave

Agency Discretion

At its discretion, an agency may advance sick leave to an employee, when required by the exigencies of the situation, for the same reasons it grants sick leave to an employee, subject to the limitations described below. An agency should not advance sick leave to an employee when it is known (or reasonably expected) that the employee will not return to duty, e.g., when the employee has applied for disability retirement. Before granting advanced sick leave, it is recommended that the approving authority consider such matters as the expectation of return to duty, the need for the employee's services, and the benefits to the agency of retaining the employee.

Advanced Sick Leave Limitations

An agency may advance up to 240 hours (30 days) of sick leave to a full-time employee*-

  1. Who is incapacitated for the performance of his or her duties by physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth;
  2. For a serious health condition of the employee or a family member;
  3. When the employee would, as determined by the health authorities having jurisdiction or by a health care provider, jeopardize the health of others by his or her presence on the job because of exposure to a communicable disease;
  4. For purposes relating to the adoption of a child; or
  5. For the care of a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness, provided the employee is exercising his or her entitlement to FMLA leave to care for a covered servicemember.

An agency may advance up to 104 hours (13 days) of sick leave to a full-time employee*-

  1. When he or she receives medical, dental or optical examination or treatment;
  2. To provide care for a family member who is incapacitated by a medical or mental condition or to attend to a family member receiving medical, dental, or optical examination or treatment;
  3. To provide care for a family member who would, as determined by the health authorities having jurisdiction or by a health care provider, jeopardize the health of others by that family member's presence in the community because of exposure to a communicable disease; or
  4. To make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or to attend the funeral of a family member.

* For a part-time employee (or an employee on an uncommon tour of duty), these amounts must be prorated according to the number of hours in the employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek.

Maximum Amount of Advanced Sick Leave

Two hundred forty (240) hours (30 days) is the maximum amount of advanced sick leave a full-time employee may have to his or her credit at any one time. For a part-time employee (or an employee on an uncommon tour of duty), the maximum amount of sick leave an agency may advance to the employee must be prorated according to the number of hours in the employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek.

Supporting Evidence for Advanced Sick Leave

A request for advanced sick leave is essentially a request for sick leave, therefore, the medical documentation requirements for granting of sick leave apply. For details on supporting evidence for the use of sick leave, please see our fact sheet entitled Sick Leave (General Information). Employees should consult their agency-specific human resources guidance and review applicable policies set forth in collective bargaining agreements for information specific to their agency.

Liquidation of Advanced Sick Leave

Advanced sick leave may be liquidated by subsequently earned sick leave, by a charge against annual leave (provided this action is completed prior to the time the leave would be forfeited and the annual leave would have been granted), or by a refund upon separation. If an employee is a participant in an agency's voluntary leave transfer or leave bank program(s), advanced sick leave may be liquidated by substituting donated annual leave for sick leave that was advanced on or after the date of the medical emergency. (See voluntary leave transfer program or voluntary leave bank program fact sheets for the definition of medical emergency.) With the consent of the agency, an employee may arrange to refund advanced sick leave in cash if mutually agreeable and administratively feasible. (The pay rate applicable to refund is that rate which was in effect at the time the advanced sick leave was taken.)

When an employee who is indebted for advanced sick leave transfers to another Federal agency without a break in service, the agency from which the employee transfers must certify the employee's sick leave account to the new agency for charge. Agencies may not require an employee to refund the amount of the advanced leave in order to achieve a "zero" balance at the time of transfer. In such cases, a negative sick leave balance should be transferred to the employee's new agency.

When an employee who is indebted for advanced sick leave separates from Federal service, he or she is required to refund the amount of advanced sick leave or the agency may deduct that amount from any pay due the employee upon separation. However, if the employees dies, retires for disability, or is separated or resigns because of disability, the requirement to repay does not apply. The agency makes the determination as to whether an employee has separated or resigned because of disability.

An employee who enters active military service with a right to restoration is not considered as having separated and is not required to refund the amount of advanced sick leave when entering military service. The advanced sick leave should be liquidated either after the employee returns to duty or is separated from Federal service.

Other Available Leave Options and Work Schedule Flexibilities

Sick leave may be used only for those circumstances specified in law and regulation. The Federal Government offers a wide range of leave options and workplace flexibilities to assist an employee who needs to be away from the workplace. These flexibilities include annual leave, sick leave, advanced annual leave or advanced sick leave, leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), donated leave under the voluntary leave transfer program, leave without pay, alternative work schedules, credit hours under flexible work schedules, compensatory time off and telework. Agencies may also have a voluntary leave bank program.

References

  • 5 CFR 630.209
  • 5 CFR 630.402
  • 5 CFR 630.502(a)
  • 37 Comp Gen. 439 - permits liquidation using annual leave subject to forfeiture

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