Q: If while on leave without pay for OWCP work-related injury the LWOP used does not count against me for retirement purposes, then why does the LWOP used count against my sick leave and annual leave accrual? It doesn’t make sense to lower my accrual rate for annual leave and sick leave while I’m absent due to OWCP-LWOP work-related injury. They don’t penalize us for retirement purposes, and they shouldn’t penalize us in our accrual of annual and sick leave either. If it’s not counted against us for retirement purposes, it shouldn’t count against us for anything. It’s not our fault, the job made us sick. If OWCP accepts the condition as work-related, the U.S. Postal Service shouldn’t take our annual leave and sick leave away from us when we have to take LWOP for OWCP purposes. Can you please explain?
A: By law and regulation, when a full-time employee accumulates 80 hours of LWOP during a pay period, the employee doesn’t earn annual leave or sick leave during that pay period. The employee does earn leave in the succeeding pay periods until he or she again accumulates 80 hours of LWOP during a pay period. When a part-time employee is in a nonpay status, he or she will accrue less annual leave and sick leave, since part-time employees earn leave on a pro-rata basis — i.e., based on hours in a pay status.