Legislation Would Allow All Federal Employees to Carry Over Unused Leave

A new bill would let federal employees roll over greater amounts of unused annual leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently introduced legislation would allow all federal employees to carry over the leave they have accrued when a national pandemic prevents employees from taking time off of work.

Current regulations stipulate that federal employees may roll over up to 240 hours of annual leave into the next calendar year and either lose the hours above this cap or have to attempt to use them before the end of the year.

The lawmakers pushing the bill say that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may not be possible for federal employees to use their leave in the normal timeframe if they are working in essential positions, have to limit their exposure to the coronavirus, or due to state and local restrictions in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The Office of Personnel Management lifted the 240 hour cap only for certain employees during the pandemic; this bill would expand it to all federal employees for the current or any future pandemics.

The Federal Worker Leave Fairness Act was introduced in the House (H.R. 8457) by Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and in the Senate (S. 4777) by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

“Our legislation would allow federal workers increased flexibility with leave policies during the pandemic, boosting morale and helping ensure strong continuity of government operations,” said Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), one of the bill’s co-sponsors who represents a district that is home to many federal employees. “This is something my constituents really want, a simple fix that would help many families.”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.