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Leave without pay (LWOP) is a temporary non-pay, non-duty status granted to an employee with supervisory approval. LWOP differs from absence without leave (AWOL), in that LWOP is an approved absence from duty. Normally, an employee must exhaust all annual leave before LWOP is granted. Exceptions may be granted authorized in individual cases of a meritorious nature (see circumstances cited below). A supervisor may authorize LWOP in a variety of circumstances such as, but not limited to:
Extended LWOP is a period exceeding 30 days duration. Extended LWOP involves certain costs and inconveniences to the Government (i.e., encumbrance of a position, loss of needed services, complications of RIF registers, etc.). Requests for extended LWOP must be examined closely to assure that the value to the Government or the serious needs of the employee offset these costs and administrative inconveniences. As a basic condition to the approval of extended LWOP, there should be a reasonable expectation that the employee will return to work at the end of the approved period.