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Annual Leave: Restoring Lost Leave

If you have annual leave that was lost (or forfeited) the head of your operating unit may authorize its restoration if it was lost due to:

  • Your illness
  • Administrative error
  • An exigency (or extended exigency) of the public business

The restoration must meet the following criteria:

Your Illness - If your annual leave was properly scheduled (or rescheduled) and approved for use before the end of the leave year and you had to forfeit it solely because your illness occurred or lasted so late in the leave year that it could not used, it may be restored. If it is, it will be credited to a separate leave account and you must schedule it and use it no later than the end of the leave year which ends two years after the date you are deemed recovered and able to return to duty. If it’s not used within this timeframe, it is again forfeited and you can’t have it restored again. For example, annual leave restored in February 2007 would have to be used before the end of the 2009 leave year.

You can’t have it restored for illness when:

  • You could have reasonably foreseen the absence (as in planned surgery or therapy or normal maternity cases) which would preclude the use of excess annual leave
  • You neglected to reschedule annual leave not used because of illness
  • You recover soon enough to use excess annual leave
  • The illness was of a family member and not yours

You also have the option to have an absence recorded as annual leave rather than sick leave - - but not retroactively.

Administrative Error - When a correction of an administrative error results in having your leave adjusted and it exceeds the amount that could have been carried forward from past leave years, you may be able to have that leave restored. A statement of the circumstances must be prepared for the appropriate approving official and, once approved, you are to be notified that the leave is being restored. Annual leave restored for this reason is placed in a separate account and must be scheduled and used no later than the end of the leave year which ends two years after the date it is restored. If it’s not used within this timeframe, it is again forfeited and you can’t have it restored again.

Administrative error includes such correctable matters as:

  • An incorrect determination as to previous service creditable for leave purposes
  • An inaccurate date for movement from one leave-earning category to another
  • Failure to maintain a proper leave ceiling for an overseas employee
  • A mistaken separation during reduction in force
  • A failure by a supervisor to act upon an employee's timely request for leave, which results in a forfeiture

Exigency of the Public Business – If your annual leave was scheduled and approved in writing before the start of the third biweekly pay period before the end of the leave year and is canceled because of an exigency of the public business and there is no opportunity to reschedule it before the end of the leave year, it may be able to have it restored. An approving official must determine that a true exigency of the service existed and that the cancellation of your leave was necessary.

Annual leave restored for this reason must be scheduled and used no later than the end of the leave year which ends two years after the date of termination of the exigency. For example, if leave is forfeited at the end of 1992 because of an exigency which does not end until April 1993, the restored leave must be used by the end of the 1995 leave year. If it’s not used within this timeframe, it is again forfeited and you can’t have it restored again.

Exigencies may arise in connection with:

  • A natural disaster or other public emergency
  • When a particular program encounters sudden public attention or importance,
  • When a specific project runs beyond its expected completion or is at some crucial phase at the end of the leave year.
  • For an individual employee, an exigency may arise because of some unforeseen public business occurring toward the end of the leave year and preventing the planned use of the annual leave, e.g., a sudden call to jury duty, or a call to military duty to preserve public order.

The pressure of normal workloads, seasonal variations in work, or other situations which careful scheduling might obviate, do not constitute a contingency of the public business.

An extended exigency of the public business is one of such significance as to:

  • Threaten the national security, safety, or welfare
  • Last more than 3 calendar years;
  • Affect a segment of an agency or occupational class, and
  • Preclude subsequent use of both restored and accrued annual leave within the regular two year time limits.

If you are requesting restoration of leave, a CD-479, Request for Restoration of Annual Leave, or memorandum to the approving official, must be completed and provide:

  • The reason leave was forfeited or could not be used (illness, exigency or extended exigency of the service) along with a concise explanation of the facts
  • The dates and amounts of leave that were scheduled in the past leave year including the documents (or copies) on which the leave was requested and approved
  • The inclusive dates of the forfeited leave
  • The number of hours to be restored
  • A schedule for use of the restored leave (along with regular annual leave)

A memo request for leave restoration must be endorsed by the employee's supervisor and contain signature blocks for the approving official’s approval or disapproval of the request.