Q. I am a GS civilian (non-Department of Defense) who was stationed in Germany and returned to the states in April. I am still with the same agency, so my leave transferred. However, I carried over about 275 hours of annual leave, and now my pay and leave statement states that I have to use about 250 hours (use or lose) before the end of the year. While stationed overseas, I had a 360-hour use/lose ceiling. Now my agency says I have only a 240-hour ceiling. I thought my ceiling could remain at 360 hours or, if applicable, and in my case, the lower amount would be used (250 hours) until it dropped to 240 hours. Do you have any guidance or an OPM reference that may help?
A. Because your agency was mistaken about your annual leave ceiling, I’m providing you with both the legislative language and its interpretation that were given to me by OPM. You can share it with your agency.
“You asked how a leave ceiling is affected when an employee with an overseas position (360 hour leave ceiling) moves to a position within theUnited States(240 hour leave ceiling).
“Statutory Provision — 5 U.S.C. 6304(c)(2): Annual leave in excess of the amount allowable under subsection (a) of this section which was accumulated under subsection (b) of this section by an employee who becomes subject to subsection (a) of this section; remains to the credit of the employee until used. The excess annual leave is reduced at the beginning of the first full biweekly pay period, or corresponding period for an employee who is not paid on the basis of biweekly pay periods, occurring in a year, by the amount of annual leave the employee used during the preceding year in excess of the amount which accrued during that year, until the employee’s accumulated leave does not exceed the amount allowed under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, as appropriate.”
“Translation: When an employee stationed outside theUnited Statesmoves to a position within theUnited Statesand is subject to a lower leave ceiling, all annual leave accrued while in the overseas position remains to his credit, and his personal leave ceiling is set at the amount of annual leave to his credit.
During the leave year, his annual leave can fluctuate above or below his personal leave ceiling; however, he can only carry over into the next leave year an amount of annual leave that is equal to or less than his personal leave ceiling.
“His personal leave ceiling is subject to reduction under 5 U.S.C.
6304(c). He would be entitled to retain his personal leave ceiling until he carries a smaller end-of-year balance into the new leave year. When that happens, this smaller balance becomes his new personal leave ceiling.
For example, let’s say when he moves out of the overseas position, he had 300 hours of annual leave to his credit. Then he accrues some annual leave and takes some annual leave. Then, at the end of the leave year, he carries 280 hours of annual leave into the next leave year, his personal leave ceiling would become 280 hours. If at the end of the next leave year his balance is 255 hours, his personal leave ceiling will be reduced to 255 hours. This reduction will continue until his leave balance is 240 hours or less.”