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OPM Contact: Jo-Ann Chabot
This is a claim for payment for 131 hours of annual leave. For the reasons stated below, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may not issue a decision on this claim because it was subject to a negotiated grievance procedure.
The claimant retired from federal service on February 28, 1997. She reports that, while she was employed with the[agency], she used advance sick leave for surgery occurring on February 15, 1996 and annual leave for surgery occurring on July 5, 1996. She reports that she bought back the sick and annual leave when her workers compensation claims were being settled after her retirement. She also reports that, although she purchased back 234 hours of annual leave, she was only paid for 103 hours. The claimant further alleges that her agency did not advise her until September 1997 that she could only reinstate up to 240 hours.
The agency provided documentation showing that the claimant's periods of injury ran from February 15, 1996 through March 27, 1996, and from July 5, 1996 through August 15, 1996. These documents also include a February 7, 1997 memorandum from the National Finance Center advising the agency that the claimant completed repayment for 232 hours of sick leave, and an April 27, 1997 memorandum advising the agency that the claimant had completed repayment for 234 hours of annual leave. The agency advises that the claimant was in a collective bargaining unit while she was employed, and it appears from the negotiated agreement that this matter was not specifically excluded from the grievance procedure.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not have jurisdiction to consider a matter that is or was subject to a negotiated grievance procedure under a collective bargaining agreement between the employee's agency and labor union, unless that matter is or was specifically excluded from the agreement's grievance procedure. Congress intended that such a grievance procedure would be the exclusive remedy for matters not excluded from the grievance process. Cecil E. Riggs, et al., B222962.3 (April 23, 1992). In this case, the negotiated grievance procedure was available to the claimant when the claim arose, and that procedure was her exclusive remedy. The fact that the grievance procedure may no longer be available to the claimant to pursue her claim does not provide OPM with a basis for reviewing a claim that OPM could not have reviewed in the first instance. Paul D. Bills, et al., B260475 (June 13, 1995). Accordingly, OPM cannot assert jurisdiction over, or issue a decision concerning, this matter.
This determination is final. No further administrative review is available within OPM. Nothing in this settlement limits the employee's right to bring an action in an appropriate United States Court.