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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Leave Policy

  • 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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  • For information and guidance on family and medical leave, see the Family and Medical Leave fact sheet.

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  • The head of an agency or his or her designee generally should identify emergency personnel at least annually and notify them in writing that they are designated as emergency employees.  The term emergency employee is used to designate those employees who must report for work in emergency situations.  The notice should include the requirement that emergency employees report for, or remain at work in emergency situations and an explanation that dismissal or closure announcements do not apply to them unless they are instructed otherwise.  Because of the unique circumstances of this emergency situation, an agency may have designated additional employees as emergency employees who were also required to report for or remain at work. 
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  • Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), a covered employee is entitled to use a total of 12 administrative workweeks of unpaid leave (leave without pay) during any 12-month period for certain family and medical needs. For a part-time employee, the 12 administrative workweeks of unpaid leave is calculated on an hourly basis and equals 12 times the average number of hours in the employee's regularly scheduled administrative workweek. An employee working two part-time positions may use only the amount of FMLA leave earned in each part-time position for absences from that position.
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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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  • 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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  • See our Definitions Related to Family Member and Immediate Relative

    fact sheet at http://www.opm.gov/oca/leave/HTML/FamilyDefs.asp.

     

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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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  • 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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  • 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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