Federal employees impacted by Hurricane Michael may be eligible to receive donated leave from their fellow employees, thanks to new Office of Personnel Management authorizations.

OPM acting Director Margaret Weichert on Nov. 2 approved the establishment for an emergency leave transfer program for Hurricane Michael, which made landfall on the the northwest Florida Gulf Coast on Oct. 10.

“An ELTP permits employees in the executive and judicial branches, or agency leave banks established under 5 U.S.C. 6363, to donate unused annual leave for transfer to employees of the same or other agencies (or the judicial branch) who are adversely affected by a major disaster or emergency, either directly or through adversely affected family members, and who need additional time off from work without having to use their own paid leave,” Weichert wrote in a memo to agency heads.

“Employees who are adversely affected and seek to become emergency leave recipients must apply in writing to their agencies.”

This is the third ELTP that OPM has authorized in the past month, as one was established for the California wildfires Oct. 2, and another was established for Hurricane Florence Oct. 11.

Authority for administering the ELTP rests with agency and department heads, who are authorized to:

  • Determine which employees are impacted and how much donated leave they need
  • Determine the length of time for which annual leave may be accepted
  • Approve leave donors and recipients
  • Facilitate the distribution of donated leave
  • Educate employees that they may request advanced annual or sick leave rather than using accrued leave, which cannot be retroactively substituted with donated leave

“Agencies should contact OPM for assistance in receiving additional donated annual leave from other agencies only if they do not receive sufficient amounts of donated annual leave to meet the needs of emergency leave recipients within the agency. Based on the demand for donated leave, OPM will solicit and coordinate the transfer of donated annual leave among federal agencies,” Weichert wrote.