OPM Authorizes Emergency Leave Transfer Program for Hurricane Ida

OPM has authorized an emergency leave transfer program for federal employees impacted by Hurricane Ida.

The Office of Personnel Management has authorized an emergency leave transfer program (ELTP) for federal employees impacted by Hurricane Ida.

OPM can establish an ELTP in response to the president’s declaration of a major disaster or emergency as in the case of the hurricane.

OPM states:

An ELTP permits employees in the executive and judicial branches, or agency leave banks established under 5 U.S.C. 6363, to donate unused annual leave for transfer to employees of the same or other agencies (or the judicial branch) who are adversely affected by a major disaster or emergency, either directly or through adversely affected family members, and who need additional time off from work without having to use their own paid leave. Employees who are adversely affected and seek to become emergency leave recipients must apply in writing to their agencies. An employee who is unable to do so on their own may apply through a personal representative (5 CFR 630.1105). The ELTP will be in place to assist approved leave recipients as the need for donated annual leave becomes known.

OPM adds that agencies are in the best position to determine how much donated annual leave may be needed by impacted employees as well as which federal employees are directly impacted by the emergency/disaster situation per OPM guidelines. OPM has authorized agency and department heads to do the following:

  1. Determine which employees are affected and whether, and how much, donated annual leave they need;
  2. Determine the period of time for which donated annual leave may be accepted for distribution to approved leave recipients;
  3. As appropriate, approve leave donors and/or leave recipients in their agencies;
  4. Facilitate the distribution of donated annual leave from approved leave donors or (with the concurrence of an agency leave bank board) from an agency leave bank to approved leave recipients within their agencies; and
  5. Educate adversely affected employees that, dependent on agency policy, they may request advanced annual or sick leave, as appropriate (even if they have available annual and sick leave) or leave without pay, so that they are not forced to use accrued leave before donated annual leave becomes available. This is necessary since donated annual leave may only be substituted retroactively for any period of leave without pay or advanced annual or sick leave used because of the emergency; it may not be retroactively substituted for accrued annual or sick leave used because of the emergency.

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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.