NDAA Carryover Leave Provision

Clint Bain and Neil Burnette, NASCOE Legislative Co-Chairs
December 23, 2020

As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress passed legislation that will allow Federal Employees to carryover an additional 25% of their annual leave into year 2021.  While this sounds like a great benefit for Federal Employees, NASCOE is hearing that it may have an unintended negative effect on County Office employees who plan of retiring in 2021 and have accumulated “restored” annual leave.  The language in the bill states the extra leave (60 hours) will not be included in lump sum payments that federal employees receive when they leave federal service.

NASCOE has been working over the past week to research the following concerns on behalf of the membership:

  • Does this language exclude prior leave restored in previous years from being paid out?  For example, in August of 2020, OPM allowed employees in Federal agencies to carry over leave due to carrying out COVID-19 relief in their respective agencies.  The FSA Administrator subsequently restored excess leave for all County Office employees who assisted with COVID-19 relief.
  • NASCOE reads the language provided in the NDAA to be separate from any other provisions which allowed prior leave to be carried over into the new year due to COVID-19 relief efforts.  Is this interpretation accurate?

Currently, USDA states that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will have the sole responsibility of interpreting the intent of this new law and how it is applied to Federal employees.  We realize that immediate retirement decisions may hinge on how this legislation will ultimately be implemented.  We also know that some State Offices are notifying employees this new provision may make any previously restored annual leave ineligible for a lump-sum payment upon retirement.    It is our hope to find out more information regarding the intent of the legislation, and pass this along to you as soon as possible.