Q: I am a FERS Rural Carrier in New Jersey. I have 13 years in as a full-time carrier. I have a question about using LWOP (leave without pay). Every year I use all of my annual leave, however I have more than 100 sick days unused. I am a healthy person in general, but in 2010, I did have to use three weeks of SL (under FMLA) for the care of my father. However, the question is, 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 LWOP? My boss has told me he has the final decision to approve or not 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, especially before the holidays. I work hard for the USPS 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.
A: The granting of leave-without-pay is left to a supervisor’s discretion and may be limited by agency internal policy.