Absence And Leave Handbook - United States Department

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2012Absence and Leave HandbookOffice of Human ResourcesUS Department of the InteriorMarch 16, 2012

Table of ContentsPurpose . 4Chapter 1 – Definitions . 4Chapter 2 – Annual Leave. 62-1 Annual Leave Approval . 62-2 Annual Leave Accrual . 72-3 Annual Leave Ceilings . 72-4 Advanced Annual Leave . 82-5 Annual Leave Restoration . 82-6 Lump Sum Payment for Annual Leave. 102-7 Use of Annual Leave to Reach Initial Eligibility for An Immediate Annuity . 10Chapter 3 – Sick Leave . 113-1 Sick Leave for Family Care or Bereavement Purposes. 123-2 Unused Sick Leave as Service Credit . 133-3 Advance Sick Leave . 13Chapter 4 – Military Funeral Leave or Funeral Leave . 13Chapter 5 – Military Leave . 14Chapter 6 – Military Leave and Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) . 14Chapter 7 – Leave Without Pay (LWOP) . 147-1 LWOP Authorization. 147-2 LWOP Limitations and Exceptions . 15Chapter 8 – Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) . 15Chapter 9 – Family and Medical Leave Act . 159-1 Eligibility . 169-2 Military Family Leave Entitlements . 169-3 Active Military Duty FMLA . 17Chapter 10 – Voluntary Leave Transfer Program. 1810-1 VLTP Definitions . 1910-2 Leave Recipient Qualifications . 1910-3 Leave Recipient Application . 1910-4 Leave Application Review . 2010-5 VLTP Applicant Responsibilities . 2010-6 Supervisor of Applicant Responsibilities under VLTP . 2110-7 Leave Share Coordinator Responsibilities . 2210-8 Veteran Participation . 2210-9 Use of Donated Annual Leave . 2210-10 Application to Become a Leave Donor . 2310-11 Limitations on Donations of Annual Leave . 2310-12 Transfer of Annual Leave . 2410-13 Donation Solicitation . 2410-14 Termination of Medical Emergency . 2510-15 Bureau/Office Termination of Applicant’s Enrollment in the VLTP Program. 25Chapter 11 – Excused Absences . 2611-1 Blood Donation . 2611-2 Bone Marrow and Organ Donation. 2611-3 Voting and Registration . 262

11-4 Employees Returning from Active Duty. 2711-5 Health and Fitness Activities . 2711-6 Court Leave . 2811-7 Excused Absence for Employee Assistance Program (EAP) . 29Chapter 12 – Administrative Leave . 2912-1 Compensation While on Administrative Leave . 2912-2 Administrative Leave Considerations . 2912-3 Employee Notification . 3012-4 Independent Criminal Review . 31Chapter 13 – Home Leave . 31Appendix 1: Voluntary Leave Transfer Program Forms . 32Appendix 2: Medical Release Form for VLTP . 33Appendix 3: Sample Voluntary Leave Transfer Announcement Memo . 343

PurposeThe purpose of the Absence and Leave Departmental Handbook is to set Departmentalabsence and leave procedures based upon leave laws, regulations of the Office of PersonnelManagement and Comptroller General Decisions. The Absence and Leave DepartmentalHandbook will be an accompanying volume to DM 370 Chapter 630: Absence and Leave.Where labor contracts exist, Bureaus and Offices are cautioned to follow negotiated collectivebargaining agreements regarding topics covered in this Handbook.Chapter 1. DefinitionsAbsence without official leave (AWOL). A period of absence without pay for which anemployee did not obtain prior approval and the absence is not subsequently approved.Accrued Leave. Leave an employee earns during the current leave year that is unused atany given time in that leave year.Accumulated Leave. Unused leave remaining to the credit of an employee at the end of aleave year.Advanced Leave. Annual or sick leave hours granted for use prior to being earned.Approving Official. A supervisor or manager who has the delegated authority to approveleave or take other personnel action.Committed Relationship. One in which the employee, and the domestic partner of theemployee are each other’s sole domestic partner (and are not married to or domesticpartners with anyone else); and share responsibility for a significant measure of each other’scommon welfare and financial obligations. This includes, but is not limited to, a relationshipbetween two individuals of the same or opposite sex that is granted legal recognition by aState or by the District of Columbia as a marriage or analogous relationship (including, butnot limited to, a civil union).Covered Active Duty. In the case of a member of a regular component of the ArmedForces, duty during the deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreigncountry; and in the case of a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces, dutyduring the deployment of the member with the Armed Forces to a foreign country under a callor order to active duty under a provision of law referred to in section 101(a) (13) (B) of title 10,United States Code. (29 USCS § 2611)Covered Service member. (1) a member of the Armed Forces, including a member of theNational Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy,is otherwise in an outpatient status, or is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list, fora serious injury or illness; or (2) a veteran who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation,or therapy, for a serious injury or illness and who was a member of the Armed Forces4

(including a member of the National Guard or Reserves) at any time during the period of 5years preceding the date on which the veteran undergoes that medical treatment,recuperation, or therapy.Domestic Partner. An individual who is in a committed relationship with a Department of theInterior employee. Partners may be the same or opposite gender. (See CommittedRelationship)Emergency Employee. An employee who occupies a position that has been determined bymanagement to be a critical job vital to public health, safety, welfare, national defense, or theoperation of essential facilities or functions.Exigency of the public business. An exigency of the public business may be said to existwhen circumstances are beyond the control of the employee(s) affected, and the exigencycould not have been reasonably anticipated. A sudden call to jury duty or military duty or aproject’s becoming suddenly visible politically or reaching a critical stage at the end of theyear are examples of an exigency of the public business. If other employees can besubstituted for those who forfeit leave, an exigency does not exist.Excused Absence. An approved absence from duty without loss of pay and without chargeto an employee’s leave.Family Member. (Definition applies for sick leave, funeral leave, voluntary leave transfer,military family leave and emergency leave transfer.)An individual with any of the following relationship to the employee: Spouse and parents thereof;Sons and daughters, and spouses thereof;Parents, and spouses, thereof;Brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof;Grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof;Domestic partner and parents thereof, including domestic partners of any individual inparagraphs (2) through (5) of this definition; andAny individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee isthe equivalent of a family relationship.Family Member. (Definition applies to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)). An individualwith any of the following relationship to the employee: Spouse (husband or wife pursuant to a marriage that is a legal union between oneman and one woman, including common law marriage between one man and onewoman in states where it is recognized);Children (including adopted or foster children, stepchildren or a legal ward); andParents.5

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid,job-protected leave for the birth and care of a child, placement for adoption or foster care of achild with the employee, care of an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent) who hasa serious health condition, and/ or the employee's own serious health condition.Leave Without Pay (LWOP). An approved absence from duty in a non-pay status requestedby an employee and approved by an appropriate approving official.Leave Year. A leave year begins on the first day of the first full biweekly pay period in acalendar year. A leave year ends on the last day of the 26th pay period after the leave yearbegins.Military Funeral Leave. Leave in conjunction with the burial of a military or veteran familymember.Non-pay Status. Any day(s) or hour(s) for which an employee is not entitled to pay. Theemployee is on the agency’s rolls but not in pay status; i.e. employee is on LWOP, AWOL,suspension or furlough.Restored Leave. Annual leave that was previously forfeited because the employeeexceeded the maximum leave accumulation for carryover into a new leave year, but that hasnow been restored to a restored leave account.Suspension. The placing of an employee for disciplinary reasons in a temporary statuswithout duties and pay.Unscheduled Leave Policy. A policy that addresses those occasions when the office isopen for business, but weather or other emergency conditions may require the granting ofannual leave without prior approval to non-emergency employees. In these instances, anofficial announcement is made and employees will notify their supervisor of their absence.Chapter 2. Annual LeaveAnnual leave is a period of approved absence with pay from official duties intended to allowthe employee vacation, rest and recreation. Annual leave is also intended for the employee’suse in attending to personal or emergency business. Annual leave may not be denied orcancelled solely as a disciplinary action.2-1 Annual Leave ApprovalSupervisors have the discretion to decide when and in what amount annual leave may beapproved. This decision should weigh the needs of the workplace with the desires of theemployee. The needs of the workplace include workload and/or office coverage. Employeesmay be required to request leave several days to several months in advance of the time theywish to take it so that work can be scheduled and the leave plans of other employees6

coordinated. As plans change, both for the employee and supervisor, leave requests shouldbe reviewed and updated.Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor of their leave plans and contactingtheir supervisor as soon as possible if requesting emergency annual leave. If the supervisordetermines that the needs of the work unit preclude an approval of leave, the supervisor mayorder the employee to report to duty but must have a good business case to do so.2-2 Annual Leave AccrualAnnual leave is an employee benefit and accrues automatically. Employees earn annualleave each pay period based on years of creditable service. SES members, employees inSL/ST positions, and certain employees in “SES equivalent” positions earn 8 hours of annualleave each pay period regardless of creditable service. Other employees earn leave asoutlined in Table 1.TABLE 1 – LEAVE ACCRUAL RATES (NON-SES, SL, ST)If Creditable Service** is:Less than 3 years3 years but less than 15years15 or more yearsThen Accrual Rates perPay Period are:4 hours6 hours plus 4 hours on lastpay period of leave year8 hoursAnd Annual Accrual Ratesare:13 days20 days26 days** Note: Certain types of active duty uniformed service MAY be counted as creditable servicefor leave accrual.2-3 Annual Leave CeilingsNon SES, SL and ST employees working in the United States can carry over a maximum of240 hours of annual leave into the next leave year.These same employees working outside of the United States may carry over 360 hours.When an employee leaves an overseas post in which he or she has been eligible for amaximum accumulation of 45 days (360 hours) of regular annual leave, the maximumamount of regular annual leave that he or she may carry forward into the next leave yearshall not exceed 360 hours. This maximum accumulation continues as the employee'spersonal leave ceiling for succeeding years until such time as the employee carries a smalleraccumulation of annual leave from one year to another. At that time, this smalleraccumulation becomes the employee's new annual leave ceiling, unless this accumulation isless than 240 hours in which case, 240 hours becomes the employee’s leave ceiling.2-4 Advanced Annual Leave7

Normally, annual leave is granted to an employee only after the leave is accrued. However, asupervisor may consider granting requests for advanced annual leave upon properapplication when: The employee is eligible to earn annual leave and the employee is not on leaverestriction. The request does not exceed the amount of annual leave that the employee would earnduring the remainder of the leave year or the remainder of his or her appointment,whichever is shorter. There is reasonable assurance that the employee will return to duty and is notcontemplating a resignation or retirement.Advanced annual leave is not an entitlement to the employee. If an employee is indebted foradvanced annual leave and separates from Federal service, he or she is required to repaythe agency by refunding the amount of unearned leave or having the agency deduct theowed amount from any pay due to the employee. If an employee is indebted for advancedannual leave at the beginning of the next leave year, he or she is required to repay theagency by refunding the amount of unearned leave or having the agency deduct the owedamount from any pay due to the employee. If an employee dies or retires/separates ondisability, he or she does not have to repay the debt.2-5 Annual Leave RestorationAlthough employees and supervisors should monitor, schedule and use leave throughout theyear, Employee’s who have excess use or lose annual leave may request restoration of thisleave into a new leave year when the employee is unable to use the leave due to illness,administrative error, an exigency of the public business. Bureau delegations of authorityidentify who may authorize restoration of annual leave.Examples of exigency of the public business may include disaster duty, an emergency detail,jury service, etc. The operational requirement for denying or canceling leave must be of suchsignificance that the employee could not be excused from duty during the period of requestedleave.Annual leave which was properly scheduled (or rescheduled) and approved for use beforethe end of the leave year and which must be forfeited because of an illness occurring orlasting so late in the leave year that the leave could not be used shall be restored in theamount the employee was prevented from using.An approving official shall not restore leave forfeited because of illness when: the employee could have reasonably foreseen the absence which would preclude the useof excess annual leave such as planned surgery, therapy or normal maternity cases; and8

the employee neglects to reschedule annual leave not used because of illness; or anemployee recovers soon enough to use excess annual leave.An employee may have an absence recorded as annual leave rather than sick leave but notretroactively.Employees must submit a written request for restored annual leave to their approving official.The request should include the following information: A copy of the written request to schedule the leave with the dates and the total number ofhours scheduled. The leave must have been scheduled in writing prior to pay period 23 ofthe leave year to be eligible for restoration; In the case of exigency of public business, an explanation from the supervisor explainingthe reason for denying or canceling the leave and an explanation why the leave could notbe rescheduled before the end of the leave year. The operational requirement for denyingor canceling leave must be of such significance that the employee could not be excusedfrom duty during the perio

Mar 16, 2012 · The purpose of the Absence and Leave Departmental Handbook is to set Departmental absence and leave procedures based upon leave laws, regulations of the Office of Personnel Management and Comptroller General Decisions. The Absence and Leave Departmental Handbook will be an accompanying

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