OPM establishes emergency leave transfer program to help feds affected by Typhoon Mawar
The typhoon devastated U.S. territories that are home to federal employees.
The Office of Personnel Management has set up an emergency leave transfer program to help federal employees and their family members affected by the typhoon that hit the North Pacific in late May and early June.
Agencies will administer the program for their employees since they are best positioned to assess their own needs, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja said in a June 12 memo announcing the program. The typhoon affected U.S. territories that are home to federal employees, including Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Emergency leave transfer programs allow federal employees to donate unused leave so that colleagues affected by disasters do not need to burn through their own paid leave. Employees wishing to donate leave should contact their agency. Similarly, those in need of donated leave must ask their agency in writing.
The requests can be for future annual or sick leave, even if the employee has accrued leave available. “This is necessary since donated annual leave may not be retroactively substituted for accrued annual or sick leave used because of the disaster or emergency,” Ahuja’s memo explained. “It may only be substituted retroactively for any period of leave without pay or advanced annual or sick leave used because of the disaster or emergency.”
Agencies are responsible for alerting employees to the availability of the program, accepting donations, evaluating requests to receive the donated leave and seeking help from outside agencies if they run through all of the donations they’ve accumulated internally.
The memo comes after Ahuja sent a broader memo reminding agencies of the leave benefits and flexibilities available to employees if they are affected by natural disasters. Hurricane season began on June 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 12 to 17 named storms, with five to nine growing strong enough to be classified as hurricanes. This is on top of numerous other recent disasters, from wildfires in Canada pushing smoke and poor air quality into the United States, to flooding this week in Vermont.