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Human Resources and Organizational Management


Human Resources and Organizational Management

Headquarters Marine Corps

Restoration of Annual Leave
General Information

Employees may carry over to the next leave year a maximum amount of accrued annual leave (240 hours for most employees).
"Use or lose" annual leave is the amount of accrued annual leave that is in excess of the employee's maximum annual leave limitation for carry over into the next leave year. Employees must "use" their excess annual leave by the end of a leave year or they will "lose" (forfeit) it. An agency may consider restoring annual leave that was forfeited due to an exigency of the public business, administrative error, or sickness of the employee, as discussed below. 


Basis for Restoration of Forfeited Leave
  • Administrative Error

    The employing agency determines what constitutes an administrative error.

  • Exigency of the Public Business

    The employing agency determines that an exigency—i.e., an urgent need for the employee to be at work—is of major importance and that excess annual leave cannot be used. An employee's use of earned compensatory time off or credit hours does not constitute an exigency of the public business. If the use of earned compensatory time off or credit hours that are about to expire results in the forfeiture of excess annual leave, the forfeited leave cannot be restored.

  • Sickness

    The employing agency determines that the annual leave was forfeited because of a period of absence due to an employee's sickness or injury that occurred late in the leave year or was of such duration that the excess annual leave could not be rescheduled for use before the end of the leave year.

Scheduling Requirement

To be eligible for restoration, the annual leave MUST have been scheduled and approved for use in writing before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year, as shown in the chart below for leave years 2011 through 2020:

2013 11 JAN 2014 30 NOV 2013
2014 10 JAN 2015 29 NOV 2014
2015 09 JAN 2016 28 NOV 2015
2016 07 JAN 2017 26 NOV 2016
2017 06 JAN 2018 25 NOV 2017
2018 05 JAN 2019 24 NOV 2018
2019 04 JAN 2020 23 NOV 2019
2020 02 JAN 2021 21 NOV 2020

*Note: The dates shown apply only to scheduling the leave for use – not to actually using the leave. For example, in 2011, an employee with 40 hours of “use or lose” must submit the leave request not later than 19 Nov 2011. The actual dates the employee is requesting to use the leave may be any time prior to 31 Dec 2011 (the end of the leave year).

Time Limit for Using Restored Annual Leave

An employee must schedule and use restored annual leave not later than the end of the leave year ending 2 years after—

the date of restoration of the annual leave forfeited because of administrative error;

  • the date fixed by the head of the agency or designee as the date of termination of the exigency of the public business; or

  • the date the employee is determined to be recovered from illness or injury and able to return to duty

Restored annual leave that is not used within the established time limits is forfeited with no further right to restoration. Note: The above limitations do not apply to Department of Defense employees at installations undergoing closure or realignment.

National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks

On March 4, 2002, OPM issued final regulations that permit "use or lose" annual leave to be restored to employees whose services are determined to be necessary for the current national emergency. Such employees are entitled to have their excess annual leave restored without the administrative burden of scheduling and canceling such leave. In addition, the time limitations for using restored annual leave are suspended for the entire period during which employees' services are determined to be essential for activities associated with the national emergency. At the
end of the national emergency, or when the services of the employee no longer are determined to be necessary, a new time limit will be established for using all restored leave available to the employee.

Requesting Restoration of Forfeited Annual Leave

Guidance will be published annually as to the procedures for requesting forfeited annual leave. Generally, employees will have to provide the following to support a request for restoration of forfeited leave:

Documentation showing the forfeited leave was scheduled for use within the prescribed time limit and a statement that it could not be approved or was cancelled and that it could not be rescheduled for use during the reminder of the leave year

  • A statement of the business exigency, medical emergency, or administrative error involved;

  • The endorsement of the Staff Agency/Commanding Officer or his/her designee

Separate Leave Account

Forfeited leave that is restored will be placed in a separate leave account and will appear on the employee’s leave and earning statement.

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