Use-or-lose leave guidelines for civil service employees

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

As we approach the end of the year, federal civil service employees should examine their accrued annual leave, and make plans to use it if they are approaching the maximum.

Employees may carry over to the new leave year a maximum of 240 hours of annual leave. Under certain circumstances, some personnel may carry over to the new year up to 360 hours. All “use-or-lose” annual leave in excess of the maximum carry-over amount that is not used by the end of the leave year, is automatically forfeited.

If, however, you forfeit annual leave because your supervisor cancelled your leave because of an emergency or urgent situation (or “Exigency of the Service"), or because you became ill, the leave may be restored under the following circumstances:
 
   a. Request and Schedule Leave. You must have requested the leave and it must have been scheduled and approved in writing before the beginning of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year. The 2016 leave year ends Jan. 7, 2017. Therefore, you must have your use-or-lose annual leave scheduled and approved no later than Nov. 26 to be eligible for restoration if the leave is subsequently forfeited. Your supervisor is responsible for ensuring that you have an opportunity to use all of your use-or-lose leave before the end of the leave year.

b. Forfeiture Because of an Exigency of the Service. Before canceling your scheduled annual leave, your supervisor must have the "Exigency of the Service" approved in writing. Normally an exigency must be approved in advance. Only the 377th Air Base Wing commander or his designee, tenant commanders or heads of activities have the authority to approve "Exigencies.” Promptly after the end of the leave year, you must submit a written request to your supervisor to have your forfeited use-or-lose leave restored. You will need to attach a copy of your approved leave schedule, your leave request (such as an approved Office of Personnel Management Form 71 or other proof the leave was scheduled and approved), and a copy of the approved "Exigency” to your leave restoration request. You must specify in your request the dates that you lost scheduled leave, the number of hours that were lost on each date and why the leave could not be rescheduled before the end of the leave year. Your supervisor will be required to endorse your request and forward it to the Civilian Personnel Section.

c. Forfeiture Because of Illness. Promptly after the end of the leave year, you must submit a written request to your supervisor to have your forfeited use-or-lose leave restored. To your request, you must attach a copy of your approved leave request, such as an OPM 71. You must specify in your request the dates that you lost scheduled leave and numbers of hours that were lost on each date. For illnesses in excess of three consecutive workdays, you must attach a copy of the medical documentation from your doctor certifying your incapacity. If you are a bargaining unit employee covered by the Master Labor Agreement and you were not seen by a doctor, a personal statement self-certifying the incapacity is acceptable.

d. Taking Restored Leave. As a rule, you should use restored leave before using regularly accrued leave. Furthermore, you must use your restored use-or-lose leave within two years.

If you wish to donate use-or-lose annual leave at the end of the leave year, please remember that you can donate only the number of hours that you are scheduled to work and receive pay. For example, if two weeks before the end of the leave year you have 100 hours of use-or-lose leave and you are scheduled to work for 60 hours, you may donate up to 60 hours. Moreover, the amount of annual leave you may donate cannot exceed one-half the amount of leave you accrue during the year. For example, if you will accrue 104 hours of annual leave you may donate up to a total of 52 hours.

The form for donating leave is the Office of Personnel Management Form 630-A. It can be found at http://www.opm.gov/forms/OPM-forms/.

For questions, contact your servicing EMR specialist in the Civilian Personnel Office at 846-5995.