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Leave - Annual Leave

Annual leave is designed to give employees vacation periods for rest and relaxation and to provide time off for personal business or family needs. Generally, the use of annual leave must be scheduled and approved in advance, by completing an OPM-71, Application for Leave, or other approved method for requesting leave. However, in emergency situations, provisions are established to handle emergency notifications/requests for leave. These requirements are typically set forth in collective bargaining agreements (negotiated contracts between management and union representative), if applicable, and in local Instructions or leave reference guides. Employees should check with their supervisors to determine the appropriate requirements for requesting emergency leave. Such provisions generally allow for employees to call their supervisors, usually within two hours of the start of their normal workday, to explain their need for emergency leave.

Accrual
Annual leave is earned based on an employee's length of service as follows:

Employee Type

Less than 3 years of service

3 years but less than 15 years of service

15 or more years of service

Full-time employees

1/2 day (4 hours) for each pay period 3/4 day (6 hours) for each pay period, except 1 day (10 hours) in last pay period 1 day (8 hours) for each pay period

Part-time employees

1 hour of annual leave for each 20 hours in a pay status 1 hour of annual leave for each 13 hours in a pay status 1 hour of annual leave for each 10 hours in a pay status

Uncommon tours of duty

(4 hours) times (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) divided by 80 = biweekly accrual rate (6 hours) times (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) divided by 80 = biweekly accrual rate (8 hours) times (average # of hours per biweekly pay period) divided by 80 = biweekly accrual rate

SES, Senior Level (SL), and Scientific or Professional (ST) positions, and employees in equivalent pay systems, as determined by OPM.

8 hours for each pay period, regardless of years of service (see link under References).
  • Temporary employees who are appointed to positions not limited to 90 days or less are entitled to earn annual leave at the same rate as permanent employees upon completion of their first biweekly pay period. Temporary employees who are appointed to positions limited to 90 days or less are not entitled to earn annual leave until after being employed for a continuous period of 90 days under successive appointments without a break in service. Leave is prorated for part-time employees and employees on uncommon tours of duty. In computing leave accrual for uncommon tours of duty, the accrual rate for the last full pay period in a calendar year must be adjusted to ensure the correct amount of leave is accrued.
  • Firefighters who are paid annual premium pay in lieu of overtime, night differential and holiday pay, are credited and charged with annual leave on the basis of each 12 or 24 hour workday within the regularly scheduled workweek. Annual leave is credited as provided in the table below.

    Workweek

    Years of Service

    First 25 Pay Periods

    Last Pay Period of Calendar Year

    56-hour Less than 3 5.5 hours 8.0 hours
    3 to less than 15 8.5 hours 11.5 hours
    15 and over 11.0 hours 16.0 hours
    72-hour Less than 3 7.0 hours 12.0 hours
    3 to less than 15 11.0 hours 13.0 hours
    15 and over 14.0 hours 24.0 hours

Advancing Annual Leave

  • Permanent employees may be advanced annual leave in the amount they would earn between the time of advancement and the end of the current leave year. Annual leave may not be advanced to employees if it is known at the time of the requests that employees will not be returning from a periods of absence.
  • Temporary employees may be advanced annual leave in the amount they would earn during the term of their appointment. However, annual leave cannot be advanced to temporary employees during their 90 day qualifying period.

Ceiling

  • Employees are limited in the amount of annual leave that may be carried into the next leave year as follows:
Maximum Annual Leave That May Be Carried Over into the New Leave Year
Federal Employees Stationed within the United States 30 days (240 hours)
Federal Employees Stationed Overseas 45 days (360 hours)
Members of the Senior Executive Service, Senior-Level and Scientific and Professional Employees 90 days (720 hours)
  • SES members with more than 720 hours of annual leave (prior to 16 October 1994) may maintain a leave balance above 720 hours. However once their leave balance drops below 720 hours, this becomes their new personal leave ceiling. Any accrued annual leave in excess of the maximum allowed by law will be forfeited. Forfeited annual leave may be restored under 5 U.S.C. 6304(d).  (See Restoration of Forfeited Annual Leave).

Minimum Charge

  • Annual leave may be charged in increments of 15 minutes (1/4 hour).

Unused Annual Leave

  • Any unused annual leave remaining to employees’ credit upon separation from Federal service is paid to the employees in lump-sum payments. The lump-sum payments equal the pay (excluding any differential and allowance) employees would have received had they remained in the Federal service until expiration of the period of annual leave.
  • Unused annual leave remaining to employees’ credit upon transfer to another Federal agency covered by the same leave provisions will transfer with the employees to their new positions. Fractional hours of leave which are not transferable must be forfeited if not used prior to the effective date of the transfer.

Related Topics

References

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Last Modified 9/19/2013