LWOP for mental health


Q: I am a FERS rural carrier for the U.s. Postal Service. I have 13 years in as a full-time carrier. Every year I use all of my annual leave, however, I have more than 100 sick days unused. I am a healthly person in general, but in 2010, I did have to use three weeks of sick leave (under FMLA) to care care for my father. I would like to take more time off. If I have coverage of my route and the time I take off does not conflict with other carriers and their requested time off, can I be refused leave-without-pay? My boss has told me he has the final decision of whether to approve a request. His “scores” should not reflect an employee taking too much LWOP. I am in a position where I need to take time off for my mental sanity and find my time away is needed to keep my motivation at work. I work hard for the post office and am proud to represent. I think mental health is an important issue, and is often overlooked. Many people use their “sick leave” for reasons less than what they are allocated for. My use of maybe two weeks worth of days, not all at once, and after my AL has been used, is what I am questioning. I realize that during my LWOP time off I would not earn salary or benefits during this time, but to me the time off is well worth it. I read in section 514, that up to two years of LWOP could be taken, with conditions of course.

A: The granting of leave-without-pay is left to a supervisor’s discretion and may be limited by agency internal policy.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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