Most employees may accumulate and carry forward from one leave year to the next a maximum of 30 days (240 hours) of annual leave. Senior Level employees may accumulate and carry forward a maximum of 90 days (720 hours) of annual leave. At the end of the leave year, the employee forfeits any annual leave which exceeds the maximum accumulation allowed, unless the leave is restored. Leave in excess of the maximum accumulation is called "use-or-lose" because the employee must use it before the end of the leave year or forfeit it.
When an employee forfeits use-or-lose leave, it may be restored to the employee's annual leave account only if the loss has been caused by (1) administrative error, (2) exigency of the Smithsonian, or (3) illness of the employee.
- Administrative Error:
Leave may be restored if administrative error caused the loss. For example, if the employee was incorrectly assigned to the 4- rather than the 6-hour leave earning category.
- Exigency of the Smithsonian:
Forfeited annual leave may be restored if an exigency of the Smithsonian caused the loss. An exigency means that an emergency, operational demand or other circumstances outside the normal workload require the employee to work. The situation must meet all the following conditions for the leave to be restored:
- The employee scheduled use-or-lose and the supervisor approved or disapproved the schedule (in webTA) before the start of the third pay period before the end of the leave year.
- The leave was cancelled or disapproved because of an exigency of the Smithsonian and the leave could not be rescheduled before the end of the leave year.
- The Manager of Financial Management Department approved cancellation of the leave in writing (see Cancellation of Use or Lose Annual Leave).
The Restoration of Annual Leave Checklist details SAO's leave restoration process. Requests for restoration of annual leave, along with all required documentation, must be submitted to the Director, SAO HR between the end of the leave year in question (i.e., after the leave has been forfeited) and January 31 of the new leave year.
- Illness of the Employee:
Forfeited annual leave may be restored if illness of the employee caused the loss. The situation must meet one of the following conditions:
- Use-or-lose was scheduled and written supervisory approval was obtained before the start of the third pay period prior to the end of the leave year. The employee was unable to use the leave because of illness and the leave could not be rescheduled; OR
- The employee's illness was of such duration that the employee was unable to schedule or take the annual leave.
The Director of Human Resources decides whether to approve requests to restore forfeited leave, notifies the supervisor and employee of the decision, and provides Payroll with copies of approved requests showing the amount of leave to be restored.
Supervisors and employees should schedule the use of restored annual leave as soon as possible. Generally, restored leave is used before current year annual leave. Restored annual leave must be used within two years after the end of the calendar year in which the leave was restored. If there is an extended exigency, a longer time limit may be authorized.