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Military Leave

Military leave applies to an eligible employee who is a member of the National Guard or a Reserve Component of the Armed Forces of the United States. Military leave is granted for active duty, active duty for training, inactive duty training (usually weekend drills), and military aid to enforce the law. An eligible employee includes a full-time employee, part-time career employee (working 16 to 32 hours per week), a temporary appointment pending establishment of a register (TAPER) employee, term employee, or temporary employee on an appointment of one year or more. A temporary employee on an appointment of less than one year, not-to-exceed one year, or on an intermittent work schedule is NOT entitled to military leave.

  • 5 U.S.C. 6323(a) provides 15 days per fiscal year for active duty, active duty training, and inactive duty training. An employee can carry over a maximum of 15 days into the next fiscal year.
  • 5 U.S.C. 6323(b) provides 22 workdays per calendar year for emergency duty as ordered by the President, the Secretary of Defense, or a State Governor. This leave is provided for an employee who performs military duties in support of civil authorities in the protection of life and property or who performs full-time military service as a result of a call or order to active duty in support of a contingency operation* as defined in section 101(a)(13) of title 10, United States Code.
    • The term "contingency operation" means a military operation that-
      • (a) is designated by the Secretary of Defense as an operation in which members of the armed forces are or may become involved in military actions, operations, or hostilities against an enemy of the United States or against an opposing military force; or
      • (b) results in the call or order to, or retention on, active duty of members of the uniformed services under section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12304a, 12305, or 12406 of title 10, United States Code, chapter 15 of title 10, United States Code, section 712 of title 14, United States Code, or any other provision of law during a war or during a national emergency declared by the President or Congress.
  • 5 U.S.C. 6323(c) provides unlimited military leave to a member of the National Guard of the District of Columbia for certain types of duty ordered or authorized under title 39 of the District of Columbia Code.
  • 5 U.S.C. 6323(d) provides that a Reserve and National Guard Technician is entitled to 44 workdays of military leave for duties overseas under certain conditions.

An employee should request military leave as far in advance as possible to allow his/her supervisor to accommodate the absence. A copy of the military order and evidence of service should be provided upon the employee's return to duty. The minimum charge to military leave is 1 hour. Where the absence for military duty is continuous, any holidays or non-workdays that fall wholly within the leave period is not charged military leave. If an employee has exhausted his/her military leave, annual leave or LWOP should be granted for the duration of the absence.

Military leave for active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training is to be distinguished from military furlough when an employee is ordered to extended active duty for general service with the Armed Forces. Typically, an employee on military furlough is placed on extended leave without pay or separated from Federal service with reinstatement rights upon separation from active duty service.

A full-time employee working a 40-hour workweek will accrue 120 hours (15 days x 8 hours) of military leave in a fiscal year, or the equivalent of three 40-hour workweeks. Military leave under 6323(a) will be prorated for a part-time employee and for an employee on an uncommon tour of duty based proportionally on the number of hours in the employee's regularly-scheduled biweekly pay period.

Federal employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserves and who are returning from active duty in support of the Global War on Terrorism (under Executive Order 13223) are entitled to five (5) days of excused absence, without loss of pay or personal leave, to ease the transition to civilian life. The five (5) days of excused absence is applicable each time the employee returns from deployment. Employees who have returned to work and have not taken the five (5) days of excused absence for a second or subsequent deployment may be granted such time off, as long as the time is mutually agreeable to the employee and his/her supervisor.  See the OPM Fact Sheet: 5 Days of Excused Absence for Employee Retuning form Active Military Duty.