Employees accrue annual (vacation) leave on a graduated basis according to their total years of federal service (civilian and military). Full time employees earn annual leave as follows:
• Sick Leave, Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA and FEFFLA).
Full time employees accrue four hours of sick leave for each full bi-weekly pay period, for a total of 104 hours or 13 days of sick leave per year. Sick leave balances may be carried over from year to year with no limit.
Following are listed the three categories for which employees can use their accumulated sick leave:
1. Employees Own Use
Sick leave is granted to employees for their absences relating to illness or medical care. Sick leave may be used under the following circumstances: when an employee is incapacitated for the performance of duty because of sickness, injury or pregnancy and confinement (the normal post delivery recovery period consists of six weeks from date of delivery); for medical, dental or optical examinations or treatments. An employee may also use sick leave for purposes related to the adoption of a child.
2. Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act (FEFFLA)
Under the Federal Employee Family Friendly Leave Act a covered full-time employee may use 104 hours (13 workdays) of sick leave each leave year for this purpose. Part-time employees and employees with uncommon tours of duty are also covered, and the amount of sick leave permitted for family care and bereavement purposes is pro-rated in proportion to the average number of hours of work in the employee’s scheduled tour of duty each week. This rule does not apply to an employee requesting to become a leave recipient under the Voluntary Leave Sharing Program.
leave under FEFFLA may be used for one or more of the following
definition of family member for the purposes of FEFFLA is:
An employee may not use FEFFLA unless approved by his/her appointing officer. Sick leave taken under FEFFLA should be clearly indicated on the appropriate Leave Form. If an employee has already used 12 weeks of sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition he or she cannot use an additional 13 days in the same leave year for general family care purposes. An employee is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of sick leave each year for all family care purposes.
3. Sick Leave to Care for a Family Member With a Serious Health Condition
Most federal employees may use a total of up to 12 administrative work weeks of earned sick leave each leave year to care for a family member with a serious health condition. (Part time employee amounts will be pro-rated.) If an employee previously has used any portion of the 13 days of sick leave for general family care or bereavement purposes in a leave year (see FEFFLA), that amount must be subtracted from the 12-week entitlement. An employee is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of sick leave each year for all family care purposes.
Family member means an individual with any of the following relationships to the employee:
“Serious Health Condition” has the same meaning as used in FMLA: “a physical and/or mental condition or illness that requires continuing treatment by, or under the supervision of, a health care provider and requires an employee to be absent from work on a recurring basis or for more than a few days. It includes treatment for a serious chronic health condition that, if left untreated, would likely result in an absence from work, school, or regular daily activities of more than 3 calendar days.”
Medical certification verifying the family member’s serious health condition may be required by your appointing officer and, if so, should be provided in a timely manner. The certification should verify that 1) the family member requires psychological comfort and/or physical care, 2) the family member would benefit from the employee’s care or presence and 3) the employee is needed to care for the family member for a specified period of time. Sick leave taken under this category should be clearly stated on the appropriate Leave Form.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, an employee who has at least 12 months of federal service and whose term of appointment is greater than one year, is entitled to a total of 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: (For part-time employees, a week of unpaid leave consists of the number of hours equal to the number of hours in their regularly scheduled tour of duty work week.)
A serious health condition is defined as a physical and/or mental condition or illness that requires continuing treatment by, or under the supervision of, a health care provider and requires an employee to be absent from work on a recurring basis or for more than a few days. It includes treatment for a serious chronic health condition that, if left untreated, would likely result in an absence from work, school, or regular daily activities of more than 3 calendar days.
Since the entitlement under FMLA is for unpaid leave, any LWOP taken beyond 80 hours within a single leave year may result in a postponement of step increases and loss of annual and sick leave accruals.
Leave for birth or adoption purposes shall not be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule unless the employee and the appointing officer agree to do so. Leave for the care of oneself or of a family member with a serious health condition may be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary.
When the need for leave is foreseeable, the employee must provide notice in writing of their intention to invoke FMLA to his/her appointing officer, not less than 30 days prior to the date the leave is to begin. In an emergency situation such request must be made as soon as possible. Not giving proper notice may result in the postponement of taking FMLA leave. An employee may take only the amount of family and medical leave that is necessary to manage the circumstances that prompted the need for leave.
An employee may use annual or sick leave in addition to the FMLA entitlement to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave. An employee may elect to substitute annual leave and/or sick leave consistent with current laws and regulations for using annual and sick leave, for any unpaid leave under the FMLA. (The amount of sick leave that may be used to care for a family member is limited. See Sick Leave to Care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition). Leave under FMLA may also be taken in conjunction with leave made available to an employee under the Voluntary Leave Sharing Program. The employee should notify their appointing officer in advance of his/her intent to substitute paid time.
A medical certificate issued by a health care provider may be required by your appointing officer and, if so, should be provided in a timely manner. The U.S. Department of Labor form WH-380 “Certification of Health Care Provider” may be used for this purpose and is available in the Human Resources Office. If specific medical information is required it will be communicated to the employee. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows the appointing officer to require medical certification from a second health care provider if the agency doubts the validity of the original medical certification.
Leave time taken under FMLA, including LWOP, should be clearly stated under the appropriate section of the leave form.
Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage is continued for an employee on unpaid leave in connection with FMLA. Arrangements will be made for the employee to pay the bi-weekly premiums. With prior approval, payments may be deferred until the employee returns to work.
Care for a Covered Service Member
Under 5 USC § 6382 (a) (3), an employee who is the spouse, son, daughter, parent or next of kin of a covered service member with a serious injury or illness is entitled to a total of 26 administrative workweeks of unpaid leave during a single 12-month period to care for the service member. An employee may elect to substitute any accrued or accumulated annual or sick leave for any part of the 26-week period of unpaid leave. During the single 12-month period described by this paragraph, an employee is entitled to a combined total of 26 administrative workweeks of leave.
An informative and interactive FMLA tutorial for employees is available on the J-NET under Human Resources.