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Other Authorized Uses of Leave

Childbirth

A birth mother is entitled to use accrued sick leave for medical appointments, hospitalization, and her period of incapacitation following childbirth. A birth father may use a total of up to 12 weeks of accrued sick leave each year to accompany the mother to prenatal appointments, to be with her during her period of hospitalization, and/or to care for her during her recovery period. An agency may request evidence of the mother’s period of incapacitation for the use of sick leave.

Both parents may use up to 12 weeks of sick leave each year to care for a child with a serious health condition. Both parents may use up to 13 days of that 12-week period to care for a child with a minor illness or to accompany a child to medical, dental, or optical appointments. An agency may request evidence of a child’s illness or treatment. Parents may not use sick leave to be absent from work to bond with or care for a healthy newborn child; however, with supervisory approval, they may use leave without pay for that purpose. A mother may use accrued annual leave for pregnancy and childbirth, a father may use accrued annual leave to care for the mother during pregnancy and childbirth, and both parents may use accrued annual leave to be absent from work to bond with or care for a healthy newborn, subject to supervisory approval.

An agency may advance employees annual and/or sick leave for purposes related to childbirth. An agency may advance the amount of annual leave an employee would accrue during the remainder of the leave year. An agency may advance a maximum of 30 days of sick leave to a mother during her period of incapacitation for pregnancy and childbirth or to care for a child who is ill. An agency also may advance up to 30 days of sick leave to a father to care for the mother during her period of incapacitation for pregnancy and childbirth or to care for a child who is ill.

A parent who exhausts sick and/or annual leave may receive donated annual leave under the employing agency’s voluntary leave transfer and/or leave bank programs. Donated annual leave may be used only for a medical emergency—for example, the mother’s period of incapacitation or the illness of a child—and may not be used to care for a healthy child. See 5 CFR 610 and 630 and Section 3 of this chapter.

See Family and Medical Leave Act in Section 4 of this chapter for policies regarding unpaid leave under that law, including substituting annual or sick leave.

Also see the Handbook on Leave and Workplace Flexibilities for Childbirth, Adoption and Foster Care at www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/reference-materials/
handbooks.

Adoption

Under 5 U.S.C. 6307(c) (see 5 CFR 610 and 630), you may use sick leave for purposes related to the adoption of a child. Examples include but are not limited to: appointments with adoption agencies, social workers and attorneys, court proceedings, required travel, any periods during which adoptive parents are ordered or required by an adoption agency or by a court to take time off from work to care for the adopted child, and any other activities necessary to allow the adoption to proceed. (Note: This authority does not extend to placement of a foster child with you. You may use annual leave or unpaid leave including Family and Medical Leave Act leave for those purposes, with supervisory approval.)

An agency may request administratively acceptable evidence for sick leave used for adoption-related purposes. Agency policies vary and in some cases are affected by collective bargaining agreements. Both adoptive parents may use up to 12 weeks of sick leave each year to care for a child with a serious health condition. Both parents may use up to 13 days of that 12-week period to care for a child with a minor illness or to accompany a child to a medical, dental, or optical appointment. Parents may not use sick leave to be absent from work to bond with or care for a healthy child.

Adoptive parents may use annual leave for purposes related to the adoption of a child or to be absent from work to bond with or care for a healthy child, subject to supervisory approval.

An agency may advance annual and/or sick leave for adoption-related purposes. An agency may advance the amount of annual leave you would accrue during the remainder of the leave year. An agency may advance a maximum of 30 days of sick leave to each parent for adoption-related purposes or to care for a child who is ill.

There is no limit on the amount of sick leave that may be used for adoption-related purposes. Sick leave for such purposes does not count toward the 104-hour (13-day) limit of sick leave each leave year for family care and bereavement purposes or the overall limit of 12 weeks of sick leave each leave year for all family care purposes.

Each parent is entitled to use a total of up to 12 weeks of leave without pay (see Family and Medical Leave Act in Section 4 of this chapter) for adoption and care of a newly adopted child. An employee’s entitlement to FMLA leave expires 12 months following the date of placement of a child for adoption.

A parent who exhausts sick and/or annual leave may receive donated annual leave under the employing agency’s voluntary leave transfer and/or leave bank programs. Donated annual leave may be used only for a medical emergency—for example, to care for a child with a serious health condition—and may not be used to care for or bond with a healthy child. See Section 3 of this chapter.

Subject to supervisory approval, both parents may use leave without pay for adoption proceedings or to be absent from work to bond with or care for a newly adopted child.

Also see the Handbook on Leave and Workplace Flexibilities for Childbirth, Adoption and Foster Care at www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/reference-materials/
handbooks.

Bone Marrow or Organ Donation

Federal employees are entitled to take up to seven days of paid leave in a calendar year (in addition to sick or annual leave) under 5 U.S.C. 6327 to serve as a bone marrow donor and up to 30 days of paid leave in a calendar year to serve as an organ donor.

Funerals

A federal law enforcement officer or firefighter may be excused from duty without loss of pay or charge to leave to attend the funeral of a fellow federal law enforcement officer or firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. See 5 U.S.C. 6328.

You are entitled to up to three work days of funeral leave to make arrangements for or to attend the funeral of an immediate relative who died as a result of wounds, disease, or injury incurred while serving as a member of the Armed Forces in a combat zone. If you provide satisfactory reasons, the work days do not need to be consecutive. The agency may require you to document your relationship to that relative.

A veteran of a war, or of a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized, or a member of an honor or ceremonial group of an organization of those veterans may be excused from duty without loss of pay or charge to leave for up to four hours of excused absence to serve as a pallbearer, member of a gun salute squad, or guard of honor in a funeral ceremony for a member of the Armed Forces whose remains are returned from abroad. See 5 U.S.C. 6321. If you are a member of the National Guard or a Reserve component of the Armed Forces, you may use military leave to attend to funeral honors duty under 10 U.S.C. 12503 and 32 U.S.C. 115. See Military Leave in Section 1 of this chapter.

Family Care or Bereavement

You can use sick leave for bereavement purposes or to care for certain family members—see Qualifying Family Members in Section 1 of this chapter for the definition—who have conditions for which you would qualify for sick leave if afflicted personally. If you are a part-time employee or an employee under an uncommon tour of duty, you are eligible to use a proportional amount of leave and have a proportional amount of leave advanced. You also may use annual leave for family care or bereavement purposes, subject to agency approval of scheduling.

General Family Care or Bereavement—If you are a full-time employee, you may use up to 13 days of sick leave in a year to care for family members—such as one who is incapacitated as a result of physical or mental illness, injury, pregnancy, childbirth or medical, dental or optical examination or treatment—or to make arrangements for or attend the funeral of persons meeting the definition of a family member. No minimum sick leave balance is required, and at the discretion of the agency, you may be advanced up to 104 hours of sick leave each leave year for these purposes.

Serious Health Conditions—You may use a total of up to 12 administrative workweeks of sick leave each year under 5 CFR 630.401 and 630.1202 to care for an eligible family member with a serious health condition. If you previously used any portion of the 13 days of sick leave for general family care or bereavement purposes in a leave year, that amount must be subtracted from the 12-week entitlement for a serious health condition. If you already used 12 weeks of sick leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, you cannot use an additional 13 days in the same leave year for general family care purposes.

The term “serious health condition” has the same meaning as under the Family and Medical Leave Act. That definition includes such conditions as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, severe injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, pregnancy, and childbirth. It is not intended to cover short-term conditions for which treatment and recovery are very brief. The common cold, earaches, upset stomach, headaches (other than migraines), routine dental or orthodontia problems, etc., are not considered serious health conditions unless complications arise. The agency may require medical certification of a serious health condition.

Care of a family member with a serious health condition includes psychological comfort and/or physical care, including being with the family member during a hospital stay or while being examined in a doctor’s office. Agencies may require you to provide a written statement from a health care provider certifying that your family member requires such care, that the family member would benefit from your care or presence, and that you are needed to care for the family member for a specified period.

At the discretion of the agency, you may be advanced a maximum of 30 days of sick leave for these purposes.

Serious Communicable Diseases—Under 5 CFR 630, you may use up to 13 days of accumulated sick leave under the general family care policy to care for a family member who has been exposed to pandemic flu or another serious communicable disease, even if that person has not been diagnosed as having contracted it, if you are actively providing care for that family member and if it has been determined by health authorities or by a health care provider that the family member’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of that exposure. If a health care provider later determines that the family member has contracted the disease, you would be entitled to use up to 12 weeks of sick leave to care for that person as someone with a serious health condition, and would also become eligible for up to 30 days of advanced sick leave.

School Closures—The closure of a school due to an emergency health situation such as pandemic influenza or other serious communicable disease does not necessarily entitle you to use sick leave for family care. For example, when the school is closed but your child is healthy and has not been exposed to a communicable disease, you may not take sick leave. If the child has been exposed to a communicable disease but is not sick, you may take up to 13 days of sick leave only if it has been determined that the child’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others because of that exposure. If the child is sick due to a communicable disease or otherwise, you may use up to 13 days of sick leave to care for that child, and if the child’s illness rises to the level of a serious health condition, you may use up to 12 weeks of sick leave and/or may invoke leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which would provide up to an additional 12 weeks of leave, although unpaid.

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