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Frequently Asked Questions Work Life

Can an agency grant time off for fitness activities?

Each department or agency has discretion to excuse employees from their duties without loss of pay or charge to leave.  OPM advises that the granting of excused absence satisfies one or more of the following criteria: (1) the absence is directly related to the department or agency’s mission; (2) the absence is officially sponsored or sanctioned by the head of the department or agency; (3) the absence will clearly enhance the professional development or skills of the employee in his or her current position; or (4) the absence is brief and is determined to be in the interest of the agency. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of each department or agency head to balance support for employees health/wellness activities with the need to ensure that employees work requirements are fulfilled and that agency operations are conducted efficiently and effectively.

That being said excused absence for fitness activities can vary agency to agency; therefore, you should discuss this matter with your local HR or Work/Life office for a definitive answer.  To find your agency’s work/life contacts, use the searchable database at:

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