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May Human Resources Advisor Volume 2, Issue 5

Leave Without Pay for Personal or Compassionate Reasons

Can I keep my ID card while on LWOP?

 Yes, as you are still considered an employee of the Federal government. However, it may only be used in the overseas area.

Do I have to resign at the end of my LWOP time period?

 A resignation must only be submitted with the LWOP request when it is known that the employee is not expected to return to duty at the location they are leaving. This would be the case when LWOP is requested to accompany a spouse on a Permanent Change of Station move.

For what purposes may LWOP be requested?

 Employees may apply for LWOP for medical or personal reasons, such as to provide care for a family member, or to accompany a government-employed spouse to a new duty location. Under the provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act, in some situations, an employee may be granted up to 12 weeks of LWOP in any 12-month period for care of a family member.

How do I apply for LWOP?

 Requests for LWOP, along with supporting documentation, are submitted to the employee's immediate supervisor. All requests for LWOP of 30 calendar days or more must be endorsed by the first and second level supervisors and submitted to the DoDEA, Employee Relations Section, for approval.

How does LWOP affect my educator leave?

 Full Time DoDDS Educators are advanced 10 days of educator leave at the beginning of the school year. For every 21 days in LWOP status, you lose 1 day of educator leave. Additionally, you may be indebted for any educator leave used that was not earned by serving the entire school year.

How does LWOP affect my Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB)?

 Employees who are covered by a Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan are required to pay the employee's share of the premium while in a nonpay status. Employees shall make appropriate arrangements for payment of the premiums with the servicing payroll office. After 365 days in a nonpay status, health insurance stops subject to a 31-day extension for conversion to nongroup coverage. Enrollment will end on the last day of the pay period that included the 365th day of continuous nonpay status. Enrollees are not eligible for temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) when their coverage terminates during leave without pay status or insufficient pay. Additional information can be obtained by accessing the OPM web site www.opm.gov/insure.

How does LWOP affect my Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)?

 Life insurance coverage will be continued automatically at no cost to the employee for the first 12 months of LWOP. For additional information, contact www.opm.gov.insure/life.

How does LWOP affect my service computation date (SCD)?

 If you were on LWOP for more than 6 months (or a combination of LWOP occurrences totaling 6 months) in any calendar year, your SCD would have to be adjusted.

How does LWOP affect my Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?

 Since you are not receiving pay while on LWOP, you would not be contributing additional monies into your TSP account. The funds would remain in their accounts. If you move while on LWOP, notify your Customer Service Representative who will in turn advise the Thrift Savings Board. The Board will not take this information directly from an employee who is still on agency rolls. For further information, contact www.tsp.gov.

How does LWOP affect my Within Grade Increase (WGI) increase?

 Except for absences for military service or receiving injury compensation, excess LWOP will affect the waiting period for a WGI. If you are a General Schedule (GS) employee in a 52-week waiting period for steps 2, 3, or 4; you may be in a nonpay status for up to 2 workweeks (80 hours for a full time employee) without adversely affecting your WIGI. If you are a GS employee in a 104-week waiting period for steps 5, 6, or 7, you may be in a nonpay status for up to 4 workweeks (120 hours for full time employee). If you are a GS employee in a 156-week waiting period for steps 8, 9, or 10; you may be in a nonpay status for up to 6 workweeks (240 hours for full-time employee). If you are a Teacher Pay (TP) employee, you must work at least 150 days in a school year for that time to be creditable for your next increase.

If I am approved for LWOP, will I be eligible for travel to my place of actual residence in the United States or to an alternate destination at Government expense?

 If you are serving under a transportation agreement and are eligible for renewal agreement travel (RAT), you are authorized travel to the United States on the first portion of your RAT. Travel back to the overseas area may be accomplished under the return portion of RAT. The tour of duty under your renewal agreement begins on the date you report for duty at your overseas duty station following completion of the return portion of your RAT. If you are not serving under a transportation agreement, any travel costs associated with your approved LWOP will be at your own expense.

If I go on LWOP, will I be able to continue receiving Living Quarters Allowance and/or Post Allowance?

 Normally, you are not eligible for overseas allowances and differentials while you are in a LWOP status exceeding 14 calendar days at any one time. In such cases, your eligibility terminates on the day you enter a LWOP status. However, if you are returned to duty to a full-time position at the same or to a different foreign area post prior to the expiration of your LWOP, your eligibility for overseas allowances and differentials would resume upon your return to duty.

If I have completed my initial transportation agreement with separation travel eligibility and have been authorized LWOP pending eligibility for retirement or to accompany my spouse to a new duty location and have signed a resignation/separation SF-52, am

If I have completed my initial transportation agreement with separation travel eligibility and have been authorized LWOP pending eligibility for retirement or to accompany my spouse to a new duty location and have signed a resignation/separation SF-52, am I authorized to ship my household goods at the time I depart my overseas duty station? 

Separation travel orders may be issued upon your execution of a resignation/retirement or other separation action from Federal service. In order to receive separation travel orders, you must agree that at the expiration of your LWOP, your resignation/retirement will be effective. If you withdraw your resignation or get appointed to another position prior to the expiration of your LWOP after using any portion of your separation travel orders, you will have forfeited all future travel, transportation, and quarters allowances to which you may have been otherwise eligible.

If I'm on approved LWOP and not authorized return shipment of my HHG, what other options are available to me regarding disposition of my household goods?

 If you are serving under a transportation agreement, you may submit a written request to have your HHG placed in nontemporary storage during the period of approved LWOP. If you are not serving under a transportation agreement, you must pay for all expenses associated with the disposition of your household goods.

If I'm on approved LWOP, can I have my household goods (HHG) shipped back to my place of actual residence or to an alternate destination at Government expense?

 There is no authority for shipment of HHG from the overseas area in connection with approved LWOP. Shipment of HHG to the United States, or other geographical area in which place of actual residence at the time of overseas assignment is located, may only be authorized at Government expense incident to a permanent change of station, separation, or when authorized advance return of dependents.

To whom should I address any additional questions on LWOP?

 If your question pertains to the procedures for requesting LWOP, you should contact the DoDEA, Employee Relations Section, at (703) 696-1682. If your question pertains to the processing of your SF-50 once the LWOP has been approved or concerns a benefit while you are in a LWOP status, you should contact your servicing personnel program management team.

What do I do if I'm on LWOP and have a TSP loan?

 Contact your Personnel Center Representative in your district office to assist in completing the form TSP-41, 'Notification to TSP of Nonpay Status'. This will notify the Thrift Savings Board of your new address and request that your loan be placed on hold. For further information, contact www.tsp.gov.

What happens to my retirement while I'm on LWOP?

 Since you're in a non-pay status, you would not be making contributions toward your retirement. Any funds already in a retirement program for you would remain there and cannot be withdrawn while on LWOP.

What is Leave Without Pay (LWOP)?

 Leave Without Pay is an approved absence without pay requested in advance for use by an employee. In most cases, the approval of LWOP is at the agency's discretion.

Will I have return rights to a job within DoDEA when I'm ready to return from LWOP?

 If the LWOP were approved for medical or personal reasons, you would normally be returned to your former position or an equivalent position with that district.

Would I be eligible for Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance (TQSA) prior to departing on LWOP?

 No, you would not be eligible.

Would I be eligible for TQSA upon return to duty?

 You would only be eligible for TQSA upon return to duty if you are transferred through a permanent change of station move to a new post of assignment.