Requirements for scheduling use or lose annual leave, restoration of forfeited annual leave
By Staff Reports, Anniston CPAC OfficeAugust 20, 2020
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- We are approaching the time of year when employees need to begin scheduling excess, or “use or lose,” annual leave.All “use or lose” annual leave must be scheduled and approved in writing on the Request for Leave or Approved Absence (OPM Form 71) before the beginning of the third pay period prior to the end of the leave year. The current leave year ends for most Anniston Army Depot employees on Jan. 2, 2021.Employees subject to the maximum carryover of 30 days, or 240 hours, should be aware the deadline for scheduling “use or lose” leave is Nov. 21, 2020, in order to meet the statutory requirement.On June 18, 2020, the Office of Personnel Management issued a memorandum regarding Annual Leave and Other Paid Time-Off Guidance, which provides guidance for federal agencies on how annual leave and other paid time off balances and limitations continue to be applied during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 period.There are no changes to the normal rules for any of the authorities for Use or Lose Annual Leave.Agencies must work with their employees to ensure they continue to take any annual leave or other paid time off before it expires.The U.S. Office of Personnel Management does not have the authority to change statutory limitations.OPM has plans to issue regulations in the near future streamlining the leave restoration process for agencies which have employees with Use or Lose Annual Leave who are unable to use this leave because of work-related requirements related to the COVID-19 national emergency.The regulations will deem the COVID-19 national emergency to be an exigency of the public business for the purpose of restoring forfeited annual leave.The regulations will provide employees who would forfeit annual leave in excess of the maximum annual leave allowable carryover, because of their essential work during the national emergency, to have their excess annual leave deemed to have been scheduled in advance and subject to leave restoration.Agencies will be required to identify any employees covered under this annual leave restoration authority and inform them in writing of this designation. This means agencies and their employees will not be faced with the administrative burden of scheduling, canceling and restoring such leave for these employees at a time when all available attention and energy should be focused on the national emergency.As there are no changes to the normal rules for any of the authorities for Use or Lose Annual Leave, there remains a two-step process for having “use or lose” leave restored, which could not be used due to a work exigency.In accordance with Public Law 93-181, enacted Dec. 14, 1973, commanders/directors are responsible for approving exigencies within their organizations. In that capacity, commanders/directors should only be requested to approve exigencies in rare circumstances.This expectation applies to all employees regardless of grade. Ensure managers and supervisors are working with employees to properly schedule and use their excess leave.If an exigency does occur, which precludes an employee from using scheduled and approved “use or lose” annual leave, the manager/supervisor must process a request for restoration of that forfeited annual leave.Leave restoration requests should not be initiated until after the beginning of the next leave year – Jan. 5, 2021.Once approved, a written request must be submitted along with: (1) originals or copies of the OPM Form 71 showing the annual leave was scheduled, approved in advance of Nov. 21, 2020, and disapproved with justification and date, and (2) a written request to the commander for authorization to restore annual leave previously denied.The request for restoration must be submitted through your chain of command, to include your commander, prior to submission to the Directorate of Resource Management’s Payroll Office located in Bldg. 7, Room 211.Scheduled “use or lose” annual leave, which could not be used due to illness can also qualify for restoration. In this situation, the procedures for leave restoration cited above should be followed.Each leave year, hundreds of hours of leave are “lost” due primarily to miscalculations.Those hours represent valuable resources in time and money. No civilian should lose leave unless unforeseen mission-related emergencies occur.The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program offers a viable alternative for those individuals who wish to donate their excess annual leave to eligible federal employees. On behalf of the transfer program recipients, CPAC would like to express sincere appreciation for your generosity.For additional information about donation procedures, contact or visit the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center in Bldg. 7, Room 236D.If additional information is required, contact Scott D. Kottke in CPAC at Ext. 6919 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.