Workforce

Some feds will see use-or-lose leave restored due to the pandemic

woman in mask (Reshetnikov_art/Shutterstock.com)

The Office of Personnel Management announced that federal workers who have been deemed "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic and were unable to take their annual leave, would be able to retain that unused leave that would otherwise be forfeited at the end of the year.

Under current law, any unused leave hours exceeding an employee’s annual leave-hour ceiling must be used by the end of the year or forfeited – known as "use or lose" leave.

In a June 18 memo, acting OPM Director Michael Rigas said that forthcoming regulations would be issued to consider the coronavirus pandemic such an exigent circumstance that can restore such leave to federal employees.

"The regulations will declare the COVID-19 national emergency to be an exigency of the public business for the purpose of restoring forfeited annual leave," Rigas wrote.

"The regulations will provide that employees who would forfeit annual leave in excess of the maximum annual leave allowable carryover because of their essential work during the national emergency will have their excess annual leave deemed to have been scheduled in advance and subject to leave restoration," the memo states.

The memo clarified that employees who had cancelled scheduled leave because of COVID-19 restrictions would not have their leave restored.

About the Author

Lia Russell is a staff writer and associate editor at FCW covering the federal workforce. Before joining FCW, she worked as a freelance labor reporter in San Francisco for outlets such SF Weekly, The American Prospect and The Baffler. Russell graduated with a bachelor's degree from Bard College.

Contact Lia at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LiaOffLeash.


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