In this policy, your supervisor is your administrative or official supervisor (or their designee).


Employees must report to work or have leave approved every scheduled work day. Leave requests should be submitted to your supervisor in ALOHA at least three business days in advance. Requests should be submitted for any duration of leave, as little as one hour.

Should an unforeseen emergency or illness arise requiring the use of leave not previously approved, contact your supervisor no later than two hours after the start of your typical work day to request permission for the absence. Unless other arrangements were made, requests for annual or sick leave must be made on each day of absence. Failure to properly request leave in accordance with this procedure may result in the denial of leave and a charge of absence without leave (AWOL), and may be the basis for disciplinary action. Absence without leave is an absence from duty that is not authorized or approved.

Before taking leave, be sure to:

  • Submit leave through ALOHA
  • Notify your Engagement Manager, if you’re on an outside project, so they can update Float
  • Submit correct Tock entries assigned to Annual Leave
  • Share via Slack, email or over media with folk how need to know, and make sure work is covered
  • For 18F team members, update the 18F Out of Office Calendar

Annual leave

Annual leave accrues at a different rate depending on how long you’ve worked for the federal government. If you’ve worked for the federal government fewer than three years, you accrue four hours of annual leave per pay period (which equates to 13 days per year). If you’ve worked for the federal government between three and 15 years, you accrue six hours per pay period. After 15 years, you accrue eight hours per pay period.

The maximum annual leave you can carry over from calendar year to calendar year is 240 hours. If you transfer from another federal agency, your annual leave transfers with you.

Sick leave

Sick leave accrues at four hours per pay period for all federal employees, regardless of how long they’ve worked for the federal government. There is no maximum amount of sick leave you can accrue, and all unused hours carry over to the next calendar year. If you transfer from another federal agency, your sick leave transfers with you.

Funeral leave

Employees can take 3 days (24 hours) of funeral leave to plan or attend services of an immediate relative who has suffered a combat-related death. Additionally, veterans can take funeral leave to participate in a funeral ceremony for a member of the Armed Forces.

Employees can take up to 13 days (104 hours) per year of sick leave for bereavement, funeral planning, and/or attending the funeral of a family member.

Further funeral leave information can be found in OPM’s Fact Sheets:

Unpaid leave

Employees can request unpaid leave of less than four weeks at any time.

Parental leave

For complete details, see this recent guidance. For a human, readable summary:

Both parents may use their annual or sick leave after the birth of a child, for the period of the mother’s incapacitation. The length of the medically necessary leave is ultimately determined by a doctor’s note, but six weeks for a vaginal birth and eight weeks for a cesarean birth is common. After parents exhaust their annual and sick leave, they can run a sick leave deficit of up to the amount they will accrue during their tenure.

Employees may also apply for annual leave donations from other federal employees within their agency. Leave donations may only be used for a medically necessary leave period, as determined by the doctor’s note. Leave donations from federal employees outside GSA are considered on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, if spouses are both employed by the federal government, they may donate unlimited annual leave to each other, regardless of the agencies they work for. Leave donations can be used to backfill sick leave and annual leave deficits.

In addition to the paid leave described above, employees can take leave without pay (under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)) for up to 12 weeks per calendar year. Once you’ve been an employee of the federal government for at least 12 months, you’re eligible to take FMLA, provided your supervisor approves it. You can take this leave within one year of the birth of your child. You do not need to take it all at once. Employees are eligible to take intermittent leave within the first year of their child’s birth. For instance, you could take unpaid leave on Tuesdays and Thursdays for several weeks in a row.

Advanced Leave

You can take up to 80 hours of advanced leave (that is, leave you’ve not accrued yet). You must be able to make it up before the end of the leave year. See the Benefits class for more information.

Religious Observance

Adjusting work schedules for religious observances is handled differently than leave. If you need to miss regular work hours for religious observance, you should notify your supervisor in writing in advance of the time you’ll need to miss, along with the schedule of the time you will work outside of normal hours to compensate. For details, please see the relevant OPM policy.