Federal employees that were adversely impacted by winter storm Shirley, which caused major blackouts and freezing conditions across parts of Texas earlier this year, will be able to take advantage of excess leave donated by their coworkers, the Office of Personnel Management announced March 15.

The emergency leave transfer program enables employees in the executive and judicial branches to donate their unused time off to leave banks, which can then be distributed to those impacted by the storm.

Employees who are in need of that emergency leave must apply to their agency in writing or have a personal representative submit the application if they are unable. Donated leave is generally distributed to other employees in the same agency first, though an agency may request more leave than its own employees are able to donate from OPM if they have the need.

“With the authority to establish an emergency leave transfer program, OPM is uniquely positioned to help assist federal employees who have been adversely affected by 2021 Winter Storm Shirley,” said OPM acting Director Kathleen McGettigan. “We hope that this program will provide a bit of much needed relief to those in need.”

Agency heads are responsible for determining who requires emergency leave, how much is needed and for how long leave donations will be accepted and dispersed. Potential donors should therefore contact their own agency for direction on how to contribute.

Agency heads are also responsible for educating employees they believe to be adversely impacted by the storm that such emergency leave transfers are available.

The authorization of an emergency leave transfer program is the second recent response effort OPM has made for victims of the winter storm, as the agency also approved a special solicitation for Combined Federal Campaign donations to emergency response charities.

Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.

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