President Obama has directed the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to establish an emergency leave transfer program to assist employees affected by the severe storms and tornadoes in Oklahoma. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 6391, in the event of a major disaster or emergency that results in severe adverse effects for a substantial number of employees, the President may direct OPM to establish an emergency leave transfer program. Severe adverse effects include loss of life or property, serious injury, or physical or mental illness as a result of a direct threat to life or health.
An emergency leave transfer program permits employees in the executive and judicial branches, or agency leave banks established under 5 U.S.C. 6391, to donate unused annual leave for transfer to employees of the same or other agencies (or the judicial branch) who are adversely affected by the storms and tornadoes in Oklahoma, either directly or through adversely affected family members, and who need additional time off from work. Employees seeking to receive leave transfers must apply in writing to their agencies. An employee who is not capable of doing so personally may apply through a personal representative (5 CFR 630.1105). Employees approved as leave recipients are not required to exhaust their own available paid leave before receiving donated annual leave.
Employees who are adversely affected will be eligible to become emergency leave recipients. The emergency leave transfer program will be in place to assist approved leave recipients as the need for donated annual leave becomes known.
Agencies with employees affected by the storms and tornadoes in Oklahoma 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, in response to the President's directive, OPM is authorizing agency and department heads (or their designees) do to the following:
- determine whether, and how much, donated annual leave is needed by affected employees;
- as appropriate, approve leave donors and/or leave recipients in their agencies;
- facilitate the distribution of donated annual leave from approved leave donors to approved leave recipients within their agencies; and
- determine the period of time for which donated annual leave may be accepted for distribution to approved leave recipients.
If an agency does not receive sufficient amounts of donated annual leave to meet the needs of emergency leave recipients within the agency, it may contact OPM for assistance in receiving additional donated annual leave from other agencies. Based on the demand for donated leave, OPM will solicit and coordinate the transfer of donated annual leave among agencies. OPM will notify each agency of the cumulative amount of donated annual leave that will be credited to it for transfer to its approved emergency leave recipients. The agency will determine the amount of donated annual leave to be transferred to each emergency leave recipient.
OPM’s regulations on the administration of the emergency leave transfer program (5 CFR Part 630, Subpart K) are available at http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=ef599568d4b61fce088bb504001f7601&rgn=div6&view=text&node=5:220.127.116.11.83.11&idno=5. Additional guidance is available in our Emergency Leave Transfer Program fact sheet at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/fact-sheets/emergency-leave-transfer-program/. The supplementary information to our final Emergency Leave Transfer Program regulations published in 2008, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2008-11-04/pdf/E8-26220.pdf, may also provide helpful background information.
Agency headquarters-level human resources offices may contact Pay and Leave at OPM at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because the emergency leave transfer program will be administered by the agencies, employees should contact their servicing agency human resources office for further information on the emergency leave transfer program.
Attachment: Presidential Memorandum -- Emergency Leave Transfer Program for Federal Employees Adversely Affected by the Severe Storms and Tornadoes in Oklahoma
cc: Chief Human Capital Officers, Human Resources Directors