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Don't Lose What You've Earned -- Donate It

By Lisa E. Stafford
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 1997 – It's getting to be that time of the year again for a lot of government employees to either use it or lose it. "Use or lose" refers to using the extra leave accumulated on the books before the end of the leave year or losing it all.

Every year, some government workers have an abundance of annual and sick leave at the end of the leave year. The most annual leave an employee can carry from one leave year to the next is 240 hours. However, there's no limit for the amount of sick leave an employee can carry over.

In a report by The Office of Personnel Management for the leave year of 1996, civilian Defense Department employees earned 15,598,042 hours of annual leave, carried over 11,823,972 hours and forfeited 562,025 hours. They earned 9,027,481 hours of sick leave, carried over 45,316,159 hours and credited for retirement 6,025,998 hours.

Another alternative to trying to use it or just forfeiting it is to donate the extra leave to a co-worker or someone else in need. This can be done through a program called the Donor Leave Program.

The Donor Leave Program is for individuals who have a medical or family emergency such as surgery, a medical condition, death in the family or birth of a child and don't have enough leave on the books to cover the absence. The emergency must be verified and a Leave Recipient Application filled out and given to your immediate supervisor. The decision on whether it is an emergency is also based on whether the individual's absence from duty without paid leave available will be or is expected to be at least 80 hours.

If you have extra annual or sick leave on the books and would like to help a co-worker or someone you know who is in need with an emergency, or you're just interested in getting more information about the Donor Leave Program, contact your personnel office before the end of the leave year. The leave year ends Jan. 3, 1998, for government employees.

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