My Coast Guard

Civilian employees time to schedule your annual leave

By MyCG Staff

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Scheduling Annual Leave

The end of the leave year is almost here and if you’re a civilian employee who wants to avoid a forfeiture of annual leave, it’s time to schedule your leave before the Nov. 21, 2020 deadline. 

The following leave scheduling requirements apply to civilian supervisors and employees as well as employees attending service-wide training courses such as Naval War College, Executive Potential Program, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Aspiring Leader, etc.

The maximum carry-over of annual leave is 240 hours (except for senior executive service members and other exceptions noted in 5 U.S.C. Section 6304).

The current leave year ends on Jan. 2, 2021. Excess (aka “use or lose”) annual leave not used prior to this date will be forfeited. If excess annual leave is forfeited and does not meet the requirements for restoration, it will not be included in the lump-sum payment for annual leave of an employee separating after January 2, 2021 (pay period 26).

To be considered for leave restoration, an employee must: 

  • Request annual leave in writing or via webTA, and 
  • Have the leave approved  by their supervisor in writing or in webTA before the end of pay period 23 (no later than Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020). 

Annual leave, above the allowable carry-over amount which is not scheduled and approved by the Nov. 21, 2020, deadline will, in all but the rarest circumstances, be forfeited.

Scheduling Annual Leave by Employees Determined Necessary to Respond To Certain National Emergencies: 

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued an interim rule implementing 5 CFR 630.310 to streamline the leave restoration process for employees with “use or lose” annual leave who are unable to use this leave because of work-related requirements (exigency of public business) related to a national emergency, such as COVID-19. The interim rule provides that employees who forfeit annual leave because they are required to work during a national emergency will have their excess annual leave considered to have been scheduled in advance and subject to leave restoration. An employee’s work may be considered essential if their work is to support the Coast Guard’s mission-related response to a national emergency, and they therefore cannot use their annual leave.

At this time there are not any occupations automatically identified as meeting this criteria. If this provision is applied, the Coast Guard will inform the designated employees in writing. 

This new provision only covers civilian employees who are unable to take leave because of their work responding to a national emergency. It does not apply when, of their own volition, an employee cancels annual leave that was previously scheduled. Nor does it apply if an employee did not schedule or take leave because their vacation or travel plans were cancelled due to movement restrictions.

Since the new provision does not apply, the process to request leave restoration must meet the conditions and the procedures outlined below.

Conditions for Restoration of Forfeited Annual Leave 

To restore forfeited annual leave, the scheduled leave must be subject to forfeiture due to one of the following situations: exigencies of the public business, illness, or administrative error. 

  • Exigencies: Supervisors must use the chain of command to submit the exigency approval request to the appropriate exigency approving official, following local procedures. An exigency approving official’s signature certifies the request meets the requirements of the exigency criteria. Once the exigency is determined, employees subject to forfeiture of annual leave due to an exigency must submit a request for restoration to their delegated leave approving official
  • Illness: Supervisors must submit a request for approval to restore annual leave through the chain of command to the delegated leave approving official, using local procedures. The signature of the delegated leave approving official certifies the request meets the requirements of the illness criteria for leave restoration.
  • Administrative error: The person discovering the administrative error must immediately prepare a request for approval to restore annual leave through the chain of command to the delegated leave approving official, adhering to local procedures. The signature of the delegated leave approving official certifies the request meets the administrative error criteria for leave restoration.

Requesting Restoration of Forfeited Annual Leave 

If the scheduled and approved annual leave cannot be used due to one of the three criteria above, a written request to restore the leave must be submitted to the delegated leave approving official, no later than Jan. 2, 2021. In rare instances, a request may be accepted no later than 60 days after the end of the leave year (March 3, 2021). Requests received after March 3, 2021, except in extenuating circumstances, will not be considered.

To streamline the process, employees are encouraged to complete the Annual Leave Restoration Request form. Submit the completed and signed form with supporting documentation in FedHR no later than Jan. 2, 2021. When in FedHR take the following steps: 

  • Select – Open New Case 
  • Case Type – Pay and Leave 
  • Activity – Leave 
  • Comments: Leave Restoration 
  • Upload Leave Restoration Request Form and webTA supporting documentation 
  • Save and Next Step 
  • Send to first level supervisor for approval 

Documentation needed to support restoration of forfeited annual leave: 

  • Employees must provide a copy of the approved* leave request from webTA (obtained from “Current Leave Requests” or “Leave Request History”), or 
  • webTA generated email, documenting approval. (Leave must be approved no later than Nov. 21, 2020.)

A request for restoration may be denied if the request is submitted after Jan. 2, 2021; or does not contain the required supporting documentation. 

Employees unable to use leave prior to the end of the leave year may donate excess annual leave to the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP). All donated annual leave (VLTP) must be submitted and approved through webTA by close of business Dec. 26, 2020. Information about VLTP can be found here. A listing of current VLTP recipients can be found at this link

Use of Restored Annual Leave 

An employee must schedule and use all restored annual leave no later than the end of the leave year ending two years after: 

  • the date of restoration if forfeited because of an administrative error; 
  • the date of termination of the exigency resulting in the forfeiture; or 
  • the date the employee recovers and returns to duty when leave was forfeited due to sickness

If restored leave exceeds 416 hours, the two-year period for use is extended by one leave year for each 208 hours or portion thereof.

Annual leave restored in different leave years will have a different end date (e.g., if not used, leave restored in 2020 will expire at the end of leave year 2022, leave restored in 2022 will expire at the end of leave year 2024). Restored annual leave that expires may not be restored again. There is nothing in existing law or regulation that allows restored annual leave to be restored a second time. 

Restored leave is held in a separate leave account. Leave requests must specifically use transaction code “Restored Annual Leave” to correctly record usage of restored leave. 

Summary 

Employees determined to be essential to the Coast Guard response to a national emergency are exempt for the scheduling requirements outlined above, and will have their annual leave restored. For all others, to be considered for restoration of forfeited annual leave and avoid forfeiture, an employee must request and have the leave approved no later than Nov. 21, 2020. Requests for restoration of forfeited annual leave restored due to exigencies of the public business, or illness must be submitted no later than Jan. 2, 2021. Requests for restoration based on administrative error must be submitted immediately upon discovery. 

A forfeited annual leave restoration process job aid is available here. For bargaining unit employees whose collective bargaining agreements cover the restoration of annual leave, negotiated provisions will be followed. In the case of a conflict with this message, negotiated provisions prevail. Your servicing field or center Human Resources Specialist is your point of contact for answers to any additional questions.