Extra annual leave: Ship it south

Senior Correspondent Mike Causey asks, if somebody at the office had an emergency and needed extra vacation time, would you help if you could?

Despite the cartoon image of the clock-watching bureaucrat, tens of thousands of federal workers don’t use all the vacation time (annual leave) they’ve earned. Some don’t take any. If you fall into that category, you may want to give up some of your vacation time to agency coworkers in Florida, Texas and other areas slammed by Hurricanes Irene and Harvey.

Texas and Florida have huge numbers of federal workers, retirees and military personnel. A lot of them have been practically ruined by the storms and it may take months, even years to recover. A long-time friend, who handled major disasters as a fed, said that given the choice, he’d much rather deal with a massive fire than the impact and aftermath of a flood.

Fires are clean, he would say. Flooding, especially if seawater is involved, leaves a cleanup situation that can last for years. Look at New Orleans, and areas in the Northeast hit by Sandy.

While most people don’t have the time — or money — to help directly in the cleanup, federal workers are in the unique position of being able to donate some of their annual leave to others in their agencies. It’s called the Emergency Leave Transfer Program (ELTP). It is up to individual agencies to set up the system and arrange for the leave donation transfers. Many federal unions are also pushing the program through chapter newsletters.

Here’s what acting OPM Director Kathleen M. McGettigan said in her Sept. 1 statement:

Agencies with employees adversely affected by Hurricane Harvey are in the best position to determine whether, and how much, donated annual leave is needed by their employees and which of their employees have been adversely affected by the emergency within the meaning of OPM regulations. They are also in the best position to quickly facilitate the transfer of donated annual leave within their agencies. Therefore, OPM is authorizing agency and department heads (or their designees) to do the following:

(1) Determine which employees are affected and whether, and how much, donated annual leave they need;
(2) Determine the period of time for which donated annual leave may be accepted for distribution to approved leave recipients;
(3) As appropriate, approve leave donors and/or leave recipients in their agencies;
(4) Facilitate the distribution of donated annual leave from approved leave donors or (with the concurrence of an agency leave bank board) from an agency leave bank to approved leave recipients within their agencies; and
(5) Educate adversely affected employees that, dependent on agency policy, they may request advanced annual or sick leave, as appropriate (even if they have available annual and sick leave) or leave without pay, so that they are not forced to use accrued leave before donated annual leave becomes available. This is necessary since donated annual leave may only be substituted retroactively for any period of leave without pay or advanced annual or sick leave used because of the emergency; it may not be retroactively substituted for accrued annual or sick leave used because of the emergency.

To read the entire memo, click here.

Financial assistance

If you don’t have annual leave to share, how about donating to the Federal Employees Education and Assistance Fund? FEEA is a feds-helping-feds charity. It is offering disaster relief and emergency loans. But to do that, it has to have the cash in hand. That’s where you come in. Check them out here.

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Source: American Greyhound

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