Scheduling “Use or Lose” Annual Leave Schedule

The current federal leave would last until January 3rd for most employees. However, November 21 is the last date to schedule “use or lose” annual leave. Typically, employees are allowed to carry forward a maximum of thirty days (240 hours). Those stationed abroad are allowed up to forty-five days. SES, senior-level employees, senior scientific, and professional employees can carry up to ninety days.


Agencies may restore the annual leave subject to forfeiture, but only if an employee could not take their leave due to “an exigency of the public business” and if the leave was scheduled to begin before the third and the last payday of the year.


Under the interim rules issued by OPM in August, employees who are in a “use or lose” situation because the agency deemed that they were needed to remain in the job to support during a national emergency, including COVID-19, will have their excess leave restored and considered to be scheduled in advance.


The (HR-8457 and S-4777) legislation was introduced last month to protect employees from losing their leave because of the coronavirus pandemic, on the grounds that the employees who don’t qualify under OPM have not been able to take their leave due to heavy workload or had to cancel planned vacations because of the travel restrictions. These measures have, however, not advanced.


Leaves that would have otherwise been forfeited can be donated to agency leave sharing programs for employees having emergencies but who have used up their leave.

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