Restoration of Use or Lose May Take Up to Six Months

Because the Anti-Deficiency Act (the Act) does not authorize any expenditure or obligation before an appropriation is made, in the recent partial government shutdown all annual leave that employees had scheduled, including “use or lose” leave, was cancelled by the IRS. Paid time off creates a debt to the government that is not authorized by the Act. OPM instructs agencies that during the shutdown (furlough), all paid time off must be cancelled. We have negotiated a provision in our contract under which IRS is obligated to restore such cancelled annual leave. In that regard, Article 48 (Section 1E) of the 2019 National Agreement states:

If an employee has “use or lose” leave scheduled during the furlough, the employee and his/her manager shall make every reasonable effort to reschedule the expiring leave during the leave year. In the event that it cannot be rescheduled, the shutdown will qualify as an exigency of the public business and the forfeited leave may be restored in accordance with IRM 6.630.1.3.3.

A number of chapter leaders have recently asked when the IRS will restore “use or lose leave” that employees were unable to take because of the shutdown, noting that there is no indication that such annual leave has, to date, been restored. NTEU asked IRS about the status of the restoration of “use or lose” annual leave, and the agency responded that it may take up to six (6) months to get all 19,000 accounts processed. As Workforce Relations explained, its current priority is to get all payroll corrections processed before they start the restoration process for use or lose annual leave. Workforce Relations still has approximately 1,700 corrections that need to be processed for PP-26 thru PP-01.