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Leave Without Pay

Fact Sheet: Leave Without Pay

Leave without pay (LWOP) is a temporary nonpay status and absence from duty that, in most cases, is granted at the employee's request.  In most instances, granting LWOP is a matter of supervisory discretion and may be limited by agency internal policy.  Employees, however, have an entitlement to LWOP in the following situations:

  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) (Public Law 103-3, February 5, 1993), provides covered employees with an entitlement to a total of up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave (LWOP) during any 12-month period for certain family and medical needs.  (See 5 CFR part 630, subpart L.)

  • The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (Pub.L. 103-353) provides employees with an entitlement to LWOP when employment with an employer is interrupted by a period of service in the uniformed service.  (See 5 CFR 353.106.)

  • Executive Order 5396, July 17, 1930, provides that disabled veterans are entitled to LWOP for necessary medical treatment.

  • Employees may not be in a pay status while receiving workers' compensation payments from the Department of Labor.

Employees should be aware that LWOP affects their entitlement to or eligibility for certain Federal benefits.  See Effect of Extended Leave without Pay (or other Nonpay Status) on Federal Benefits and Programs.

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