Most feds get an extra pay period’s worth of leave this year

Use-it-or-lose-it policies remain in effect.

Most federal employees will earn an extra pay period’s worth of leave by the end of 2012, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

A new memo from Angela Bailey, OPM’s associate director of employee services, instructs chief human capital officers to inform employees that most will accrue an additional four, six or eight hours of annual leave during the 2012 leave year, which began on Jan. 1, 2012, and ends on Jan. 12, 2013.

A leave year begins on the first day of the first full biweekly pay period in a calendar year and ends on the day immediately before the first day of the first full biweekly pay period in the following calendar year. Employees with three years but less than 15 years of service accrue 10 hours of annual leave in the last full biweekly pay period of the leave year, which ends Jan. 12, 2013, for most employees. This means leave year 2012 will have 27 pay periods. For some agencies, the first pay period in calendar year 2012 started Jan. 8, and the new guidance does not apply.

The maximum carryover ceiling -- the “use it or lose it” policy -- remains in effect, the memo stated. For most employees, the ceiling is 240 hours of accrued leave. It is 360 for those overseas, and 720 for Senior Executive Service members and senior level scientific and professional employees. Bailey instructed agencies to advise affected employees that they will accrue additional hours in 2012 and must use any annual leave above those maximum ceiling hours before Jan. 12, 2013.

Agencies still may restore annual leave that was forfeited due to “an exigency of the public business or sickness of the employee only if the annual leave is scheduled in writing before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year,” the memo stated.

Bailey’s memo noted that most employees will still have 26 pay days in 2012. “Leave accrual is affected by the number of pay periods, not the number of pay days, in a calendar year,” it said.

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