OPM Issues Guidance on Leave Donations and the Shutdown

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memo last week instructing agencies on how they should handle “use or lose” annual donations following the government shutdown.

The end of the leave year is usually the time when employees donate the most annual leave to their colleagues participating in leave sharing programs. These donations include employees’ “use or lose” annual leave that may not be carried into the new year. OPM issued the memo in response to inquiries from agencies that were impacted by the shutdown.

According to the memo, any scheduled use of donated leave was canceled. As a result, an employee who was scheduled to use donated leave is not entitled to back pay and was instead put in a leave without pay (LWOP) status. Following a shutdown, however, a leave recipient may retroactively substitute donated annual leave for a period of LWOP used for an approved medical emergency.

Also according to the guidance, agencies may process applications to donate “use or lose” annual leave that were submitted before or during the lapse in appropriations, but prior to Jan. 5, 2019, the end of the leave year for most employees.

See the complete memo for details or contact your agency’s human resources office for information on how the memo applies to your situation.