As you may know, the union recently succeeded in getting the agency to increase the amount of annual leave that a bargaining unit employee can carry over from one leave year to the next from 240 hours to 360 hours. Consequently, fewer staffers have to worry about some of their annual leave disappearing at the end of the year because it exceeds the old carry-over limit of 240 hours. However, many employees are now reaching out to the union to say that, given the pandemic, they might not be taking travel vacations this year and might therefore end up with more annual leave at the end of the leave year (January 2, 2021) than they can carry-over to the next leave year.
The union has pressed the agency to accommodate employees who plan to use less annual leave this year by agreeing to restore any hours of annual leave above the 360 limit that these folks have at the end of the leave year. Such leave would be available for a period of two years from its restoration date. Unfortunately, the agency has not yet committed to providing this accommodation to the staff.
Since we’re already almost half way through the year. I thought you should know where things stand on this issue as soon as possible. What you do with this information is a personal decision.
If you have been preserving your annual leave, you could try to take more vacation time during the summer months and fall this year. Alternatively, you could choose to stick with your leave plan, and hope that the agency eventually agrees to restore any annual leave you accumulate above the 360 limit and, if it doesn’t do so by the beginning of November, schedule and take your “use or lose” leave in that month and December. Finally, you could make it a point to continue saving your annual leave so that it will be available for use in case the agency decides to require employees to return to the office before you are comfortable doing so. On this point, you should know that the union is working very hard to ensure that this scenario does not arise but we can’t guarantee that it won’t.
The union will keep trying to convince the agency to take pro-employee actions on the issues referred to above and we will keep you posted on any developments in these areas.