The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) says that federal agencies should restore any annual leave their employees lost at the end of 2018 due to the government shutdown.
OPM has received multiple questions regarding whether properly scheduled “use-or-lose” annual leave that was unable to be used because of the current lapse in appropriations may be restored both to furloughed employees and employees who were excepted from the furlough and thus required to work.
In a memo Wednesday, OPM stated:
“OPM and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had determined, in guidance issued prior to the lapse, that a lapse in appropriation qualifies as an exigency of the public business for purposes of annual leave restoration. Therefore, as long as the leave was properly scheduled in advance, agencies must restore any annual leave that was forfeited because of the lapse in appropriations—regardless of whether the affected employees were furloughed or excepted from the furlough.”
OPM also noted for federal employees on the standard biweekly pay period cycle, the annual leave ceiling is applied on January 5, 2019, which was the end of the 2018 leave year. In order for forfeited annual leave to be considered for restoration, it must have been scheduled in writing no later than November 24, 2018, in accordance to federal law.
According to OPM, employing agencies are responsible for determining whether an employee met the advance scheduling requirement, based on OPM regulations and agency policies and procedures. As allowed by those agency policies and procedures, the “in writing” requirement may be met in various ways, including electronic communications such as email, electronic calendar scheduling, or submissions to a time and attendance system, the agency stated.
- OPM’s “Guidance for Shutdown Furloughs,” September 2015
- OMB’s “Special Instructions for Agencies Affected by a Lapse in Appropriations Starting on December 22, 2018”