FAQ: Leave

  • Q: I am a Leave Approving Official, do I have to approve Leave Bank leave?


    Only if the employee invokes FMLA.  Visit our LAOs page for more information.

  • Q: What should I do if my recipient VLTP or Leave Bank application is not approved?


    Under VLTP, you may discuss the disapproval with the VLTP Coordinator.

    Under the Leave Bank, you may submit an appeal request. Once appealed, the case will go to a different medical consultant for a new review.  If the decision is based on the amount of leave in the Bank, you may not appeal.

  • Q: Can I donate more annual leave than the required contribution amount during an enrollment period in the Leave Bank program?


    Yes.  Visit our Leave Bank donation page for more information.

  • Q: What happens if I do not use all the hours I receive from the Leave Bank?


    Any unused hours must be returned to the Leave Bank.

  • Q: What are the current annual hourly caps for the Leave Bank?

    • 480 hours for personal medical emergencies per leave year
    • 480 hours for family medical emergencies per leave year
    • 720 hours for combined medical emergencies per leave year
  • Q: Do I need to exhaust my available paid leave to utilize Leave Bank hours?


    Available paid leave must be exhausted prior to use of leave donations through the Leave Bank. Any available paid leave will be deducted from the total amount of leave approved by the Leave Bank Board prior to transfer (remaining balance must be 24 hours or more).


    • Annual leave
    • Sick leave
    • Restored annual leave
    • Holiday hours
    • Voluntary Leave Transfer Program Donations (for the same medical emergency only)

    Does not include:

    • Credit hours
    • Advanced annual leave
    • Advanced sick leave
    • Leave Awards
  • Q: Can I use the Leave Bank for birth and recuperation, if I also qualify for Paid Parental Leave (PPL)?


    Yes. Leave Bank hours may be used if the employee also qualifies for PPL.

    Please note that Leave Bank hours can only be used for the portion of time in which the employee is experiencing a medical emergency or caring for a family member who is experiencing a medical emergency, i.e. for birth and recuperation purposes. The Leave Bank can offer 6 weeks immediately following delivery for a vaginal birth or 8 weeks for a C-section birth. The employee must first exhaust their sick and annual leave before utilizing Leave Bank hours.

    PPL is considered a form of FMLA and offers 12 weeks paid time-off that may be used within a 12-month period following the birth or placement of a child. As such, if the employee invokes FMLA during the 6 or 8 weeks whilst they are using Leave Bank hours, this time will deplete their 12 weeks of PPL.

    An employee does not have to invoke the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to utilize Leave Bank hours, but the Leave Approving Official (LAO) may deny Leave Bank hours on the timecard if FMLA is not invoked. If the employee does not invoke FMLA while using Leave Bank hours, the employee would receive 6-8 weeks of leave for the birth and recuperation period plus an additional 12 weeks of PPL.

  • Q: How do I donate annual leave to the HHS ELTP?


    You [or your timekeeper or administrative officer (AO) on your behalf] may donate the leave through the time and attendance system (ITAS).  Just click on the left menu item “Donate Leave.”  Once in that screen, choose the VLTP recipient set up as “ELTP, HHS.”  Select a leave type (either annual leave or restored annual leave, as appropriate) and insert the number of hours you wish to donate.  Click on “OK.”  You and your Leave Approving Official (LAO) will receive an e-mail with information regarding your donation.  Once your LAO approves the donation, the hours will be deducted from your leave balance in the time and attendance system. 

  • Q: Who is considered a family member under ELTP?


    The definition of family member covers a wide range of relationships, including spouse; parents; parents-in-law, children; brothers; sisters; grandparents; grandchildren; step parents; step children; foster parents; foster children; guardianship relationships; same sex and opposite sex domestic partners; and spouses or domestic partners of the aforementioned, as applicable. The list of family members for whom an employee may request donated annual leave under the ELTP may be found at OPM.

  • Q: How much annual leave may I donate to the ELTP?


    The minimum number of hours of annual leave that can be donated is 1 hour.  The maximum number of hours of annual leave that can be donated in a leave year is 104 hours.

  • Q: Who is eligible to receive donated leave under the HHS ELTP?


    To be eligible as a recipient under the ELTP, an employee or an employee’s family member must be adversely and directly affected by a major disaster or emergency which causes severe hardship to the employee or the employee’s family member to such a degree that the employee’s absence from work is required. An emergency leave recipient may only use donated annual leave to care for a family member if that family member has no reasonable access to other forms of assistance.

  • Q: Can I donate some of my accrued sick leave to the ELTP?


    No.  According to government-wide regulations for the ELTP, employees may ONLY donate accrued annual leave to the program.

  • Q: Does leave I donate to the ELTP count against the donation limit to the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP)?


    No.  Donations made to the ELTP do not count against the limitation to the donations under VLTP.

  • Q: Do I have to exhaust all my own annual and sick leave before I can receive leave donated under ELTP?



  • Q: Is there a limit on how much leave a person can receive under the ELTP?


    Yes. You may not receive more than 240 hours of donated leave at one time.

  • Q: May I give my donated annual leave to a specific individual, as is the case under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP)?


    No.  According to government-wide regulations, donations to an ELTP may not be directed to a specific individual.  Donations made to an ELTP are applied towards a central pool.

  • Q: I am a member of the Commissioned Corps. Can I donate annual leave to the ELTP?


    No. Commissioned Corps members are not eligible to participate in the HHS ELTP, either as a leave donor or as a recipient.

  • Q: Do I have to have a medical condition (or be caring for a family member who has one) because of a major disaster or emergency in order to apply to receive leave under ELTP?


    No. The ELTP covers more than just medical conditions.  Perhaps you need time to file insurance claims for lost property, or to assist a family member relocate from a major disaster or emergency area.  In order to receive leave under ELTP, you need only to demonstrate “severe hardship resulting in required absence from work.”

  • Q: Can I use ELTP to volunteer for disaster relief efforts?


    No.  ELTP, as described above, is only for those employees directly affected or employees whose family members were directly affected by a major disaster or emergency. ELTP cannot be used in order to “volunteer” to help the situation.

  • Q: What if the annual leave I donate to the ELTP does not get used?


    When the emergency ends, you will receive a proportional share of any unused leave remaining in the bank.

  • Q: Can I use ELTP leave to assist a family member?


    Perhaps.  It depends on the amount of leave in the bank available.  Employees directly impacted by the major disaster or emergency have first priority to available leave.  Employees who need to assist family members impacted by the event have secondary priority to the leave.

  • Q: How do I apply to become an ELTP Recipient?


    Submit an OPM Form 1637, Application to Become a Leave Recipient under the Emergency Leave Transfer Program and OPM Form 71, Request for Leave or Approved Absence (both can be found on the OPM website) to your supervisor for approval.