Developments at OPM: On January 10, 2019, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued new guidance to clarify the effects of the ongoing furlough on federal employees’ use-or-lose annual leave.
The current partial government shutdown which started on December 21, 2018, have been especially problematic for furloughed employees who had scheduled leave, during one of the busiest leave timeframes for the year: the 2018 Christmas and New Year’s holidays. This concern is heightened by the annual use-or-lose carryover limits for annual leave, cutting off at the end of the 2018 leave year on January 5, 2019.
In response to “multiple questions”, OPM issued its new guidance, Restoration of Annual Leave for Employees Affected by the Lapse in Appropriations. OPM’s guidance clarified that, under present circumstances, some employees who had scheduled annual leave cancelled, and as a result lost leave hours due to use-or-lose limits, would in many cases get their lost annual leave back. To qualify, the annual leave use must have been scheduled in writing no later than November 24, 2018. This leave restoration only applies if the employee had pre-scheduled leave which was cancelled, causing a use-or-lose leave loss; employees who did not have leave pre-scheduled and who were on track to lose annual leave hours as use-or-lose leave do not get their lost annual leave restored. Finally, this leave restoration does not restore certain categories of previously-restored annual leave which was set to expire at the end of CY2018. Normally, this sort of leave restoration must be approved by the employing agency’s head (or their designee); here, OPM and the Office of Management and Budget agreed to give blanket approval for all affected agencies.
If you are federal employee and wish to discuss your rights under the furlough, contact Passman & Kaplan, P.C. to request an initial consultation.