Federal Manager's Daily Report

Stung by a GAO report of last year finding excessive use of administrative leave—also called excused absence—including for extended periods in which agencies were preparing to take disciplinary action, OPM has issued a memo specifying acceptable uses of that paid time off without charge to leave.

OPM issued a fact sheet on administrative leave stating that while such leave is largely at management’s discretion, agencies should “review their current policies regarding the proper use of administrative leave… As a general rule, administrative leave should not be used for an extended or indefinite period or on a recurring basis.”

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It noted that there are some situations in which government-wide policy provides for administrative leave, such as in severe weather or other emergencies, for certain periods related to voting, and when an executive order provides for it, most commonly on the day before or after the Christmas Day holiday.

In addition, there are some commonly accepted situations in which agencies allow it, including for blood donation, for certain employee assistance program purposes, and for certain agency-approved volunteer activities.

OPM said that it is working to comply with one of the recommendations of the GAO report, that it ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data on administrative leave to the enterprise human resources integration data warehouse. OPM said it will work with agencies and payroll providers to develop guidance and address any needed changes to data elements and has contacted agency headquarters chief human capital officers and human resources directors to start that process.

OPM also will form a working group to revise the payroll data standards and collaborating with payroll providers, the memo said.