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OPM offers new rules on paid leave

July 13, 2017 (Photo Credit: Win McNamee, Getty Images)
New regulations for administrative, weather and safety, and investigative and notice leave have been proposed by the Office of Personnel Management. The proposal, based off the Administrative Leave Act of 2016, addresses the previous use of paid leave to employees based on different and varying regulations determined by the head of the agency.

Rather than using administrative leave as an all-encompassing category, the three new statutory sections divide administrative leave, investigative and notice leave, and weather and safety leave while providing requirements on each in three new subparts.

According to the proposal, administrative leave can be used at the agency’s discretion while remaining subjected to statutory and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, the proposal states that it should be used only after the agency determines no other option for aid leave is available under the law. However, the employee cannot be on administrative leave for any more than 10 days in a single calendar year.

The uses of investigative and notice leave are also under the agency’s discretion, subject to statutory and regulatory requirements and can be used when an employee needs to be removed from the work environment while under investigation or during a notice period. 

However, these two types of leave should only be used when agency officials determine the employee’s presence at work could pose a threat to the employee or others, result in loss or damage to government property, result in destruction of evidence relevant to an investigation, or otherwise jeopardize the legitimacy of government interests. The proposed regulation also requests that other options are considered before the use of these two types of leave to minimize and/or avoid paid leave usages. Investigative leave is subject to time limitations and needs to undergo approvals for extensions.

Regarding weather and safety leave, the proposal indicates that these two options can be used if the agency determines an employee is unable to travel to or from, or work at approved locations due to emergency situations or severe weather conditions. Unlike the other two sections, the proposal declares that the weather and safety leave does not have limitations.

The proposal also goes into detail on the requirements for recording and submitting leave requests. The proposed regulation can be read in full on the Federal Register. Comments on the proposal are to be submitted by Aug. 14, 2017.

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