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Leave (HR Links)

This page provides instructions for entering leave requests (also known as absence requests) in HR Links and information on the various types of leave. The leave overview chart also provides a high level, visual comparison.

You can see your Annual, Award, and Sick Leave balances in HR Links and on your paystub in Employee Express.

GSA’s Time and Leave Administration policy establishes agency-wide policy, procedures, and requirements for all employees. Additional fact sheet links are provided throughout this page, with the corresponding type of leave.

Your overall responsibilities

You must report to work or have an approved leave request in HR Links, every scheduled work day.

You should submit leave requests at least three business days in advance, and make timely edits if your plans change.

For unplanned leave - such as a sudden illness or a family emergency - do what you can to contact your supervisor, and they can help manage the rest on your behalf.

Some types of leave require supporting documentation: it is your responsibility to submit all necessary documents and check that you’ve received approval. Various scenarios are documented below, along with contact information for help.

Supervisor responsibilities

Supervisors have primary responsibility for administering leave policies and regulations.

They are accountable for the timesheet data submitted to GSA payroll each pay period: they are certifying that their direct reports’ work time and absences are recorded and reported accurately. This information is critical, as it affects pay and leave balances. Supervisors should be reviewing and approving/denying leave requests on a regular and timely basis. They also need to review and approve timesheets every two weeks, as the pay period closes.

In TTS, supervisors receive support from PeopleOps, who serve as the organization’s timekeepers, and our Workforce Relations HR Specialist, who answers policy questions and will help process certain types of leave requests. However, supervisors are expected to be knowledgeable about time and leave policy, and to keep PeopleOps informed of any decisions/approvals made that would affect time and leave records.

If someone is unexpectedly OOO and cannot request leave in HR Links, supervisors can enter a leave request on their behalf.

If a supervisor is going out of office, their supervisor will typically handle HR Links tasks while they are gone: approving timesheets & leave requests, etc. However, a supervisor may run into a time where they want to delegate tasks to someone else (example: their direct supervisor is also OOO or that role is vacant). Here are three step-by-step guides for a supervisor to delegate approval responsibilities:

  1. Fact Sheet: Should I do a delegation? What can I delegate?
  2. How do I create a delegation?
  3. How does the other person ("the proxy") accept a delegation?

You'll need to log in to HR Links in order to submit a leave request. HR Links can only be accessed via VPN (Citrix Workspace and Cisco AnyConnect) or on the wireless network at one of GSA’s offices.

Entering a leave request

  1. Go to the Employee Time Requests tile
  2. Click Absence Requests
  3. Select Request Absence
  4. Search for the appropriate Absence Type then click Request
  5. Enter Start Date and End Date
  6. Select Full Days or Partial Days
  7. Click on Comments/History and then enter Comments
  8. Click Submit

You’ll receive emails after submitting the request, and after it is approved.

Editing and canceling a leave request

  1. Go to the Employee Time Requests tile
  2. Click Absence Requests
  3. In the Absence Request History list, go to the request you want to edit, and click View/Edit or Cancel.
  4. Make your desired changes and click Submit

You’ll receive an email after you cancel/edit a request.

Note: Canceling a request can create an error in HR Links, if the dates of the canceled request overlap with another leave request. If you run into issues after you’ve canceled a request, reach out to #people-ops.

  • Partial day requests cannot be made in the middle of a multi-day request; more than one leave request will need to be submitted.
  • AWS schedules are automatically factored into HR Links. For example: you won’t be able to request leave on your designated AWS “off day” because you aren’t scheduled to work that day.
  • If you’re having issues logging into HR Links while using Google Chrome, please use these instructions to clear your cache.

Leave checklist

Before taking leave, be sure to:

  • Submit a leave request through HR Links. Discuss the dates with your supervisor, as needed.

  • Mark your out of office time on your calendar and any applicable team or project calendars.

  • Decline, cancel, or reschedule any meetings you’ll miss.

  • Tell team members or partners via Slack or email, and make sure your work is covered.

    • Notify your Engagement Manager, Account Manager, and project lead, if applicable.
  • Set up an email autoresponder as appropriate. This should include both when you’ll be back and a point of contact/team email for while you’re out.

    • For example: I am out of the office on Wednesday January 2nd and will respond to your request when I return on Thursday the 3rd. If you need immediate assistance please email [email address] and your request will be directed to the appropriate party.
  • Update your Slack status to indicate that you are OOO.

    • You can also set up a Slackbot reminder to prompt you to turn off OOO statuses when you return: /remind me to “Update my OOO reminder” on [date you return]
  • 18F team members should also:

  • Submit correct Tock entries

    • Update your Slack username and profile (ex: @username | OOO until 7/12 | she)
    • Product chapter members: add an event to the All Things Product calendar.

Returning from leave

Upon returning from leave, remember to:

  • Change your Slack name/status back to normal
  • Turn off your email auto-response

Taking time off prior to your last day at TTS

If you are leaving the federal government, your final day at TTS must be worked in full, unless you have worked the majority of your final pay period; then you are eligible to take leave for part of your final day.

If you are taking a new role within the federal government, the above restrictions do not apply.

Notifying GSA of international travel (for security clearance holders)

If you are travelling internationally and hold a security clearance, you are required to notify GSA. Follow the guidance on international travel for clearance holders that is on InSite. This notification is optional if you do not hold a clearance.

Types of leave

Annual leave

You may use annual leave for any reason. Annual leave accrues based on how long you’ve worked for the government:

  • Fewer than 3 years: 4 hours per pay period
  • Between 3 and 15 years: 6 hours per pay period
  • 15+ years: 8 hours per pay period

You can carry over a maximum of 240 annual leave hours, from one leave year to the next. If you’ve transferred to TTS from another federal agency, your accrued annual leave will transfer with you.

Use or Lose

Use or Lose is the number of annual leave hours you would forfeit at the end of the leave year, if you do not use any of your annual leave hours between now and then. As noted above, there is a 240 hour limit on the number of hours you can carry over from one leave year to the next.

For example: You look in HRLinks and see "182 Hours (96 Hours Use or Lose)." Today, January 25th, 2022, you have 182 hours of annual leave available. If you continued to accrue annual leave for the rest of the year, and you did not use any of those hours, you would forfeit 96 hours of annual leave at the end of the year. You would be 96 hours over the 240 cap.

182 current hours + 154 more hours accrued throughout the year = 336 hours.

336 hours - 240 hour cap = 96 Use or Lose hours that would be forfeited.

Award leave

Award leave is offered for End of Year Performance Awards and Special Act Awards.

  • If you are eligible for an End of Year Performance Award, you can opt-in via HRLinks to receive Award Leave in lieu of a monetary award.
  • If you are receiving a TTS Special Act Award, you will be notified and asked for your preference of award leave or a monetary award.

You can receive a maximum of 80 hours of award leave in a single fiscal year. If you receive a Special Act Award after hitting the 80 hour cap, your award will be monetary.

Award leave expires one year after it is issued. Expired award leave cannot be recovered - please monitor your leave balances and consider using award leave first. If you leave TTS, award leave is not paid out.

Checking your Award Leave dates:

  • Log-in to HR Links
  • From the Employee Self-Service homepage, click on the Print SF-50 tile
  • You'll see a list of SF-50 documents
  • In the Action Reason column, look for Time Off Award or Special Act Time Off Award
  • Find the date in the Effective Date column
  • Your award leave will expire one year after the listed effective date

You may receive an automated email reminder from HR Links 3 months before your leave expires, even if you have already used it.

OPM Policy:

Sick leave

All federal employees, no matter how long they have worked in government, accrue four hours of sick leave per pay period. There is no maximum amount of sick leave you can accrue, and if you've transferred to TTS from another federal agency, your accrued sick leave will transfer with you.

You can use sick leave for your physical and mental health needs. You can also use up to 13 days of sick leave per year for family health needs and bereavement.

If a family member has a serious health concern and you need to take more than 13 days for their care, you can apply for FMLA. If approved for FMLA, you can use up to 12 weeks of sick leave to care for your family member. However, FMLA is also used for Paid Parental Leave (PPL). Any amount of FMLA taken is subtracted from the total available to you for the next 12 months. You need to be a federal employee for at least 12 months in order to be entitled to FMLA. We highly recommend you discuss FMLA, your unique leave needs, and potential leave options with our Workforce Relations HR Specialist.

OPM Fact Sheets:

Funeral leave

You can use up to 13 days (104 hours) per year of your sick leave for bereavement, funeral planning, and/or attending the funeral of a family member.

You can receive 3 days (24 hours) of funeral leave to plan or attend services of an immediate relative who has suffered a combat-related death. Additionally, veterans can take funeral leave to participate in a funeral ceremony for a member of the Armed Forces.

OPM Fact Sheets:

Parental bereavement leave

You can receive two weeks (80 hours) of parental bereavement leave for the passing of your child. Contact our Workforce Relations HR Specialist for assistance.

OPM Policy:

Military leave

You can receive 15 Military Leave days each year for active duty, active duty training, and inactive duty training in the National Guard or as a Reservist. You can carry over a maximum of 15 days into the next fiscal year.

Military Leave will not appear in HR Links until after you have requested it for the first time. For a two-week annual training or any other first-use of your 15 paid days, request the leave using Code 51 - Regular Military. You and your supervisor won’t see an available leave balance, and HR Links will show an error, but your timecard will process and the leave balance adjustment will be made by Payroll.

Going on active duty

If you are called to active duty, no matter the length of time, contact the FAS Benefits Specialist who corresponds to your last name. They can help with GSA’s Checklist for Employees Entering Extended Active Duty.

OPM Fact Sheet:

Disabled veteran leave (DVL)

If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more, you can receive up to 104 hours of disabled veteran leave to receive medical treatment related to your disability.

DVL is a one-time benefit: you have a single, 12-month eligibility period, beginning on the first day of your federal employment, in which to use the leave. After that period, it is forfeited with no opportunity to carry over hours.

OPM Fact Sheet:

Weather and safety leave

You can receive ad hoc “Weather and Safety Leave” if you are prevented from safely working because of an unexpected event such as:

  • Weather-related damage to your home that makes occupying the home unsafe
  • Loss of power at home (which makes your home not an approved location under agency telework policies)
  • Not being prepared for teleworking when the conditions could not be anticipated (tornado or earthquake)

Your safety is paramount. It is expected that when possible, you’ll communicate with your supervisor if you’re unexpectedly unable to work. Your supervisor is responsible for approving/denying your Weather and Safety Leave request; they can work with our Workforce Relations HR Specialist if they have questions on whether it is appropriate to approve the request.

If a supervisor doesn’t hear from you, and suspects you are facing a weather/safety issue, they should try contacting you as well as notifying our Workforce Relations HR Specialist so there’s a record that you may be affected by a weather event.

This leave is entered in HR Links under Administrative Leave Code 094 - Weather & Safety. You should include a reason in the Comments/History section: for example, Cook County evacuation order of 9/10/20. Supervisors can enter the request if you are unable to access HR Links.

EAP referrals

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free support resource available to all GSA federal employees. The EAP offers sessions with licensed or credentialed counselors on a variety of topics, including stress, grief, financial issues, addiction, and more.

Supervisors who believe their direct report could benefit from the EAP can make a referral and allow up to 4 hours of work time to be used for pursuing EAP assistance. Supervisors can make informal referrals (verbal), and formal referrals (written, associated with job performance or conduct issues). The EAP publishes a Supervisor’s Guide with detailed information.

Extended leave options

Unpaid leave

Unpaid leave, also called Leave Without Pay (LWOP), is exactly what it sounds like. You can request unpaid leave of less than four weeks at any time.

To take a leave of absence without pay, you’ll need justification and supervisory oversight. For longer periods, you'll also need 2nd level supervisory approval:

  • To request 80 hours or less of LWOP, you must get written approval from your immediate supervisor.
  • To request over 80 hours of LWOP, you must get written approval from your immediate supervisor and Business Unit Director.

Once approvals are received, please submit a copy of the email thread to TTS-peopleops@gsa.gov.

OPM Fact Sheet:

You are entitled to 12 weeks of paid time off for the birth, adoption or placement of a new child. Paid Parental Leave (PPL) substitutes paid parental leave for unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. You need to be approved for PPL before being able to use it (see steps below).

You do not need to take all 12 weeks at once; you can space the leave out for up to one year after your child’s birth or placement. This is called intermittent PPL, and it requires supervisor agreement.

Please note: you can only receive 12 workweeks of FMLA-related leave during any 12 month period. If you previously used FMLA within the past 12 months of your parental leave period, those hours would be subtracted from the 12 weeks.

You also need to have been a federal employee for 12 months in order to access Paid Parental Leave. If you are a new federal employee, check out the recommendations for those who have less than 1 year of federal service.

You will need to sign an agreement, stating that you will return to work for at least 12 weeks after your final day on PPL.

  • The 12 week agreement is in place regardless of how many weeks of PPL you take.
  • If you take PPL intermittently, the 12 week period still begins after your final day of PPL, even if you have been working in between periods of PPL.

Combining paid parental leave, annual leave, and sick leave

You can use annual and sick leave for parental leave reasons. This would be regular annual leave and regular sick leave. Please note, though, that if these regular leave options are used without completing the PPL paperwork, the PPL cannot be retroactively applied.

We highly recommend you talk with our Workforce Relations HR Specialist about recommended ways to combine leave types.

Forms and steps for requesting paid parental leave

Reminder: PDF forms should be downloaded and opened in Adobe Acrobat before you fill them out and save them.

Prior to birth/placement:
  1. Complete the Paid Parental Leave Request form
  2. Complete the Paid Parental Leave Service Agreement form
  3. Pull a timesheet report.

Return the three items above to the Workforce Relations HR Specialist who supports TTS.

Our Workforce Relations HR Specialist reviews and can provide provisional approval for PPL. Final approval is granted once birth/placement occurs, and you have the supporting documentation (see below).

After birth/placement:
  1. Send a message (email, text, call, or Slack) to our Workforce Relations HR Specialist, letting them know the date of birth/placement.
  2. Send supporting documentation to show childbirth, adoption, or foster placement to our Workforce Relations HR Specialist.
  • For births: get a medical note from a doctor with:

    • Date of birth
    • Diagnosis
    • Prognosis
    • Duration - The duration of time for care (how long will parent and/or child need medical care? 6 weeks? 8 weeks?)
  • Note: This medical note will be used as a supporting document for PPL as well as Advanced Sick Leave and/or VLTP.

  • For placements:

Our Workforce Relations HR Specialist can give final PPL approval once all required paperwork is received and will ensure the correct PPL dates are entered into HR Links.

Once you are approved for PPL, you will see a new leave option in HR Links called Paid Parental Lv Birth Balance. You will submit a leave request, using the same general steps that you use for annual and sick leave. This HR Links guide has visual instructions on how to enter paid parental leave requests.

Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12 month period for the following:

  • The birth or care of a child
  • An adoption or foster care placement of a childe
  • The care of a spouse/son/daughter/parent with a serious health condition
  • Your serious health condition
  • Handling issues (“exigencies”) that arise when your spouse, child, or parent is on active duty in the Armed Forces.

You can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid FMLA to care for an ill servicemember or veteran, if you are their spouse, child, parent, or next of kin. This is sometimes called Military Caregiver Leave.

Going on FMLA enables you to access Paid Parental Leave (PPL) and to use more of your accrued Sick Leave hours to care for a seriously ill relative (see Sick Leave section above). But, each time you use FMLA, it counts toward the 12 week allotment. Additionally, the 12 month period is rolling (i.e. it is not based on a calendar year; it is 12 months from when you go into FMLA status).

  • For example: you went on FMLA for 4 weeks in March 2022 to care for a seriously ill family member, and you used your accrued Sick Leave in order to be paid during those 4 weeks. You will only have 8 weeks of FMLA available until March 2023.

We highly recommend you discuss your unique leave needs and potential options with our Workforce Relations HR Specialist.

You can take FMLA if you have been an employee of the federal government for at least 12 months. If you are a former member of the military and/or a military service academy, you can receive credit for your time.

Department of Labor Resource:

Donating leave and receiving donated leave

Under the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP), you can donate annual leave directly to another employee who has a personal or family medical emergency and who has exhausted their available paid leave. Review the VLTP Handbook page for instructions.

Advanced leave

Advanced annual leave

You can only take advanced annual leave in the amount that you would earn back by the end of the current leave year, and you cannot request more than 80 hours.

For example: It is June 19th, 2022, and the 2022 Leave Year ends on December 31st. You earn 6 annual leave hours per pay period and there are 14 pay periods left until December 31st. You will earn 84 more annual leave hours (13 pay periods x 6 hours per pay period). Therefore, you can request the 80 maximum advanced annual leave hours.

You will enter your annual leave requests like normal: there is not a special category. HR Links will display an error message on your timesheet. When your supervisor goes into the system to approve your timesheet, it is their responsibility to make a remark in the comment box noting their approval of advance leave.

Please note: if you are a term employee, you may see an error in HR Links that “temporary appointment employees cannot be advanced annual leave.” You are allowed to have advanced leave; however, you cannot borrow more leave than you would earn by the end of your term.

OPM Fact Sheets:

Timesheet error example:

![Screenshot reflecting negative leave balance exception](/images/leave/Advanced Leave timesheet exception.png)

Advanced sick leave

You can request up to 240 hours of advanced sick leave. If you are a term employee, you can request up to the total amount that you’ll earn during the rest of your term.

For example: You have one year left on your term, which equals to 26 pay periods. You earn 4 sick leave hours per pay period. You will earn 104 more sick leave hours (26 pay periods x 4 hours per pay period). Therefore, you can request up to 104 advanced sick leave hours.

Advanced sick leave approval

To get approval for advanced sick leave, you will need to submit the following paperwork and get signatures from your supervisor and their supervisor. Your supervisors should keep signed copies for their records:

  1. Advanced Sick Leave Request signature form
  2. An original medical certification signed by the physician or practitioner
  3. A copy of your timesheet report for the current and previous year
  4. A written explanation of the circumstances which have caused your sick leave to be exhausted

You will enter your sick leave requests like normal: there is not a special category. HR Links will display an error message on your timesheet. When your supervisor goes into the system to approve your timesheet, it is their responsibility to make a remark in the comment box noting their approval of advanced leave.

Please note: if you are a term employee, you may see an error in HR Links that “temporary appointment employees cannot be advanced sick leave.” You are allowed to have advanced leave.

OPM and GSA Fact Sheets:

Court leave (jury duty)

When you are called to jury duty, your absence is marked as Court Leave and does not count against any of your other leave balances.

You would also request court leave if you are asked to serve as a witness in a judicial proceeding to which the Federal government, a state government, or a local government is a party.

To report Court Leave, follow the typical steps for Entering a leave request in HR Links.

OPM Fact Sheet:

Voting and poll volunteering

You can receive Administrative Leave in order to vote, register to vote, and/or participate in early voting.

You can receive up to 4 hours for each election event. This includes primaries and caucuses, at the federal, state, local (i.e., county and municipal), tribal, and territorial level.

You should only enter the number of hours actually used, i.e. if you need less than 4, enter the appropriate amount in HR Links.

You are also able to receive 4 hours of Administrative Leave per leave year to serve as a non-partisan poll worker or to participate in non-partisan observer activities. You can volunteer in an election at any level, as listed above. This leave is in addition to any administrative leave you use to vote.

OPM Memorandum:

Blood, bone marrow, and organ donation

You can access up to 7 days of Administrative Leave during a calendar year to serve as a bone marrow donor, and up to 30 days serve as an organ donor.

You can also be granted up to 4 hours of Administrative Leave for blood donation.

OPM Fact Sheets:

Religious observance

You can request an adjustment to your work schedule for religious observances, instead of taking leave. Document your request to your supervisor, via email, in advance of the time you’ll need to miss, along with the schedule of the time you will work outside of normal hours to compensate.

You will need to document the extra hours you’re working in HR Links, and then enter a leave request for the dates when you use the hours earned.

Entering the religious comp time hours you are working outside of your normal schedule

  1. Go to the Employee Time Requests tile
  2. Select Additional Time Requests
  3. Select Request Comp Time
  4. Under the Additional Time Type dropdown, select Religions Comp Earned
  5. Enter in the date(s) and hour(s) when you will be working extra time.
  6. Click Submit

Requesting leave in order to use the hours that you’ve banked

Follow the typical steps for Entering a leave request in HR Links. Under the search for Absence Type, select 047 - Religious Comp Used.

OPM Fact Sheet:

Time tracking

Billable TTS employees taking leave should follow the Handbook guidance on how to Tock when on leave.

Reminder: HR Links is separate from Tock. If you’re taking time off, you’ll need to make sure you’re accounted for in both systems.

Transferring leave from another federal agency

Annual leave and sick leave balances can take a significant amount of time to transfer to GSA, depending on the speed of your previous payroll provider. If you have your final Earnings and Leave Statement (pay stub) from your previous agency, you can send a copy to kc-payroll.finance@gsa.gov to expedite the process.

Pulling a time sheet report

There are several types of leave that may require you to pull a timesheet report.

Method 1: Within the Self-Service view in HR Links, select the Employee Reports tile.

  • Select Time Sheet Reports
  • Enter the dates for the prior calendar year and select Run
  • A new tab with a downloadable PDF will open

Method 2: If you do not have the Employee Reports tile, you can navigate to the report as follows:

  • Select the compass icon in the top right of the navigation bar
  • Select Navigator > Self Service > Time Sheet Report
  • Follow the remaining steps listed above

For assistance on running a report, reach out to TTS-peopleops@gsa.gov.