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  1. Home
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  3. Employees
  4. Leave

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Annual Leave

Leave Essentials

  • All leave must be approved by your supervisor.
  • For emergency annual leave requests, you need to call your supervisor as soon as possible.
  • Annual leave requests for vacations are due by March 1st of each year.
  • You earn leave every pay period. How much you earn with each pay period depends on the number of hours you work and years on the job. Part-time employees can also earn leave, but they earn it differently than full-time employees. Find out how much leave you earn with these charts.
  • Don’t lose your leave: find out how much you can carry over to next year.

Scheduling Your Leave

To apply for annual leave enter the request into GovTA and your supervisor will approve (or deny) it via the GovTA system. Otherwise, use form OPM-71.

Make sure you’ve been approved for leave at least 3 pay periods before the end of the leave year, otherwise you could lose your unused leave.

Leave for Senior Executive Service Member Senior Professional Employees

If you’re a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES), in a senior-level (SL) or scientific and professional (ST) position, or a member of the Senior Foreign Service (SFS), you earn 1 day (8 hours) of annual leave per pay period no matter how long you’ve been on the job.

Even if you’re not in the SES or SFS, or an SL/ST, you may still be eligible for the senior-level benefit if you are an employee covered by a pay system considered “equivalent” to either the SES pay system or the SL/ST pay system. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must first approve this eligibility.

There are formulas to calculate earned leave for a number of special cases, such as moving between full and part time employment. Call your servicing human resources office for details.

With a few exceptions, full-time employees only earn leave when they work the full pay period.

Full-time employees may lose their leave in a pay period if they have certain amounts of non-pay time. When does this happen?

If you are not a US citizen you may still be granted annual leave. It’s up to the operating unit you work for.

How Much Leave You Can Carry Over to Next Year

Both full and part-time employees can only carry over up to 30 days (240 hours) of annual leave (360 hours if you work outside the US) into a new leave year, otherwise, you lose it. SES, SFS, and SL/ST employees can accumulate and carry up to 90 days (720 hours). For all other special circumstances or questions please see here or call HR.

When You May Not Earn Leave

If your job lasts less than 90 days, you are temporary and do not earn annual leave. If you are extended, you get annual leave for all the time you’ve been on the job.

Keeping Track of Your Annual Leave

Annual leave is charged to the quarter hours - as little as 15 minutes.

You can’t charge annual leave for holidays or scheduled overtime.

Employees who are part time, on per diem, paid per hour or full time on sabbatical have some special rules.

Sick leave may be charged to annual leave under certain circumstances.

Taking Annual Leave Before You’ve Earned it

You can only be given an advance of leave if it is known that you will be returning to your job, but there’s always the option of taking leave without pay.

You will have to repay any advance leave taken with earned leave if you do not return to work.

Getting Back the Leave You’ve Lost

Any number of things can happen, like illness or a national crisis, that can prevent you from taking your scheduled leave before the end of the year. In these cases you can apply to get back the leave you’ve lost.

Odds & Ends

  • Employees cannot be approved for leave when it is known in advance they will not be returning to work.
  • If you are leaving the Department, you can use annual leave to qualify for retirement or health benefits.
  • You can use annual leave while on official travel, but you don’t get per diem for those days.
  • If you take leave to cover a disability, you can buy it back if it’s later covered by Workers Compensation.
  • Any abuse of these procedures can lead to more restrictive procedures for using your leave.