While the current federal leave year doesn’t end until January 4 for most employees, the last date for scheduling “use or lose” annual leave is November 23. Given the time it can take to get a leave request approved, employees might be wise to put in requests soon if they otherwise would have more accrued annual leave than they could carry over to the new leave year.

Generally, employees may carry forward no more than 30 days (240 hours); they must use annual leave in excess of that amount by the end of a leave year or forfeit it. Employees stationed overseas may carry over up to 45 days, and SES, senior level, and senior scientific and professional employees may carry over up to 90 days.


An agency may consider restoring annual leave that was forfeited due to an “exigency of the public business” or sickness of the employee, but only if the leave was scheduled before the deadline.

Leave that otherwise be forfeited could instead be donated to agency leave-sharing programs for employees facing health or other emergencies who have used up their own leave.

More on federal annual leave policies at ask.FEDweek.com