Federal Employees News Digest

New religious time-off rules give feds flexibility

The Office of Personnel Management has issued final regulations to amend its current rule on compensatory time off for religious observances, giving federal employees more flexibility to take off for religious reasons.

Under the new rule, federal employees can perform overtime work and earn a special form of compensatory time off to make up for the time lost in meeting personal religious requirements that call for time off from work for certain periods of time.

The rule also includes limits when religious compensatory time off hours may be earned to within 13 pay periods in advance of the pay period in which it is intended to be used, or within 13 pay periods following the pay period in which it was used.

“If an employee fails to earn religious compensatory time off within 13 pay periods after the pay period in which it was used, an agency may take corrective action to eliminate or reduce the negative balance by making a corresponding reduction in the employee’s balance of annual leave, credit hours, compensatory time off in lieu of regular overtime pay, compensatory time off for travel, or time-off awards,” according to an April 29 OPM memo

Currently, employees are required to schedule overtime work hours either 26 pay periods in advance or 26 pay periods after they plan to be absent from work due to religious observance or requirements.

The new rule will go into effect May 29.

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