Leave Sharing in Federal Government

Leave banks and leave sharing

Leave sharing allows a federal employee who is a member of his or her agency’s voluntary leave bank to receive annual leave from that leave bank if the employee experiences a personal or family medical emergency and has exhausted his or her available paid leave.

The agency’s leave bank board operates the leave bank and determines how much donated annual leave an employee may receive from the leave bank. Any unused donated annual leave is returned to the leave bank.

To become and remain a leave bank member, an employee must donate each leave year not less than the amount of annual leave he or she normally accrues in a pay period (four, six or eight hours).

A potential leave recipient’s employing agency must determine that the full-time employee’s absence from duty without available paid leave because of the medical emergency is (or is expected to be) at least 24 hours. For part-time employees or employees on uncommon tours of duty, the period of absence without paid leave is prorated. An employee may receive donated annual leave when he or she becomes an approved leave recipient.

In any leave year, an employee may donate not more than one-half of the amount of annual leave he or she would accrue during the leave year. For employees with “use or lose” annual leave, the employee may donate the lesser of one-half of the annual leave he or she would accrue in a leave year or the number of hours remaining in the leave year for which the employee is scheduled to work and receive pay.

While using donated leave, a leave recipient may accrue no more than 40 hours of annual leave and 40 hours of sick leave in “set-aside accounts.” The leave in the set-aside accounts will be transferred to the employee’s regular leave accounts when the medical emergency ends or if the employee exhausts all donated leave.

Leave transfer

An employee may donate annual leave directly to another employee who has a personal or family medical emergency and who has exhausted his or her available paid leave. Each agency must administer a voluntary leave transfer program for its employees. There is no limit on the amount of donated annual leave a leave recipient may receive from the leave donor(s). However, any unused donated leave must be returned to the leave donor(s) when the medical emergency ends.

A potential leave recipient’s employing agency must determine that a full-time employee’s absence from duty without available paid leave because of the medical emergency is (or is expected to be) at least 24 hours. For part-time employees or employees on uncommon tours of duty, the period of absence without paid leave is prorated. An employee may receive donated annual leave when he or she becomes an approved leave recipient.

In any leave year, an employee may donate not more than one-half of the amount of annual leave he or she would accrue during a leave year. For employees with “use or lose” annual leave, the employee may donate the lesser of one-half of the annual leave he or she would accrue in a leave year or the number of hours remaining in the leave year for which the employee is scheduled to work and receive pay.

While using donated leave, a leave recipient can accrue no more than 40 hours of annual leave and 40 hours of sick leave in “set-aside accounts.” The leave in the “set-aside accounts” will be transferred to the employee’s regular leave accounts when the medical emergency ends or if the employee exhausts all donated leave.

Emergency Leave Transfer Programs

In the event of major disasters or emergencies declared by the President that result in severe adverse effects for a substantial number of employees, the President may direct the Office of Personnel Management to establish an emergency leave transfer program. Under such a program, an employee in any executive agency may donate annual leave for transfer to employees of his or her agency or to employees of other agencies who are adversely affected by the disaster or emergency.

Each agency is responsible for determining whether, and how much, donated annual leave is needed by affected employees; approving leave donors and/or leave recipients within the agency; and facilitating the distribution of donated annual leave from approved leave donors to approved leave recipients within the agency.

When a federal agency notifies OPM that the amount of annual leave donated by its employees is not sufficient to meet the needs of its approved emergency leave recipients, OPM will coordinate a government-wide transfer of annual leave from donating agencies to affected agencies for crediting to their emergency leave recipients.

If an excess amount is made available, each agency must determine the amount of annual leave to be restored to any leave bank and/or to each of the emergency leave donors still employed in the federal service. The leave returned must be proportional to the amount donated. Any unused annual leave remaining after the distribution will be subject to forfeiture.

Leave Transfer for Combat-Related Disabilities

Under 5 U.S.C. 6333(b) certain wounded veterans may participate in the leave transfer program without first having to exhaust their own available paid leave. This provision applies to an employee who sustains a combat-related disability while serving as a member of the Armed Forces (including a reserve component) and is undergoing medical treatment for that disability. A qualified leave recipient is eligible to receive donated annual leave for up to five years from the start of the employee’s treatment, as long as the employee continues to receive treatment.

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