OPM Pushes Leave Act


A law set to expire Dec. 21 giving federal employees paid sick leave to care for ill family members should be made permanent, the Office of Personnel Management recommended this week.

Under the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act, employees are granted 40 hours of paid leave a year to care for sick family members and to arrange or attend funerals. Employees can use an additional 64 hours of leave for those reasons if they have a balance of at least 80 hours of regular sick leave, giving employees a maximum of 104 hours, or 13 days, in family medical leave a year.

The act granted the additional leave from Dec. 1994 through Dec. 1997. It also required OPM to recommend to Congress whether the act should be continued.

OPM recommended the law be made permanent after agencies OPM surveyed said they supported the act.

In 1996, 335,201 employees took advantage of the act, up 46 percent from 1995. Increased employe awareness of the act led to the increase, OPM said. Employees used an average of 23.3 hours (3 days) of family sick leave in 1995 and 28.9 hours (under 4 days) in 1996.

The average number of days of sick leave taken for any reason rose 8 percent, from 8.6 days in 1994 to 9.3 days in 1996.

About 3 percent of employees who used the family sick leave used the maximum 13 days.

OPM asked agencies if they felt 13 days was sufficient. Almost half the agencies that responded suggested that employees whose family members are struck with long-term, catastrophic illnesses should be granted more than 13 days on a case-by-case basis. OPM decided, however, not to raise the 13-day cap.

Agencies said the act benefits managers by improving employee morale, giving employees more incentive to save their personal sick leave in order to qualify for the additional family sick leave, and making employees more productive on the job.

But agencies also noted concerns managers have with the act. Managers found that timekeeping procedures had not been updated to track family sick leave, there were more short-term absences, and employees disputed the meaning of the term "family member." Managers also felt pressure to approve any requests for sick leave that met the requirements of the law.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.