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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

370.630.6 - Home Leave


OPR: Admin/Office of Personnel

1. Purpose. This chapter describes U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) policy and procedures regarding home leave. Home leave is established as a means for Federal employees to have the opportunity to visit the United States or its territories or possessions and reconnect with their fellow citizens between assignments to positions which require service abroad.

2. Authorities. Section 6305(a) of title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.) provides the legal authority for earning and granting home leave in addition to other forms of leave provided by law. Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 630 and the Federal Personnel Manual, Supplement 990-2, 630-6 provide the regulations governing home leave.

3. Definitions.

A. Home leave means leave authorized and earned by service abroad for use in the United States or its territories or possessions.

B. Month means a period which runs from a given day in 1 month through the date preceding the numerically corresponding day in the next month.

C. Territories and Possessions of the United States include principally the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Marianas.

D. Service abroad means service on or after September 6, 1960, by an employee at a post of duty outside the United States and outside the employee's place of residence if that place of residence is a territory or possession of the United States.

E. United States means the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

4. Coverage.

A. Employees may earn home leave, in addition to any other leave, if they meet the requirements for entitlement to a 45-day maximum accumulation of annual leave under section 6304(b) of title 5, U.S.C. (see also SM 370.630.7.)

B. Employees serving in Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible for home leave. They may, in rare instances, be eligible for vacation leave. Vacation leave regulations provide for the reimbursement of travel and transportation expenses for use of accrued annual leave between tours of duty. (See 370 DM 630).

C. Employees who reside in a territory or possession of the United States may be eligible for home leave when they are assigned to duty in another territory or possession. However, they are not eligible for home leave when assigned to positions in the United States.

D. Only employees covered by title 5, U.S.C. (General Schedule) are covered by the provisions of this chapter. Home leave provisions for employees under the FC pay schedule are contained in the State Department Foreign Affairs Manual, Volume 3, Chapter 450.

5. Responsibilities and Procedures.

A. Eligibility. Determinations of employee eligibility to earn home leave, including the determination of actual residence of the employee when applicable, will be made by the servicing personnel office at the time of appointment or transfer to the position which requires service abroad and will be documented on the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action.

(1) Actual residence at the time of appointment or transfer will normally be based on the address of record with the Internal Revenue Service. Students who do not pay individual income taxes are considered dependents and their official residence is that of their custodial parent(s).

(2) Objections to actual residence determinations will be resolved by the servicing personnel officer on a case by case basis. Evidence in support of objections must be provided in writing and may include Federal, state or local tax returns, voter registration cards or a written explanation of the circumstances/reasons an address other than the one listed in subparagraph (1) above should be used.

B. Payroll Notification Procedures. Division administrative officers will be notified by the servicing personnel office of employee eligibility at the time of the employee's appointment to service abroad. Upon the employee's arrival at his/her post of duty, the local supervisor must notify the division administrative officer of the date the employee arrived at the duty station and the date the employee reported for duty. The division administrative officer must forward a memorandum to notify the payroll office. The payroll office will then begin to credit the employee's earned home leave to his/her home leave account.

(1) The memorandum to notify the payroll office should be forwarded to the following address within 10 working days of the employee's reporting date:

Payroll Operations Division


Administrative Services Center

Bureau of Reclamation

7301 West Mansfield Drive

Denver, CO 80235-2230


____________________ Division, USGS

(USGS division name)

(2) The payroll notification memorandum must contain the following information:

--Employee's name;

--Employee's SSN;

--Employee's duty location;

--Date of employee's arrival at the duty

location; and

--Date the employee reported for duty.

C. Granting Home Leave.

(1) Entitlement. Except as otherwise authorized by statute, an employee is entitled to home leave only when he/she has completed a basic service period of 24 months of continuous service abroad and is expected to return to service abroad. An employee has no entitlement to use accumulated home leave solely on the basis that he/she is eligible to earn home leave.

(2) Approval. Approval authority for granting the use of home leave is delegated to division chiefs and may be further delegated, in writing, to the appropriate local authority. However, this authority should not be delegated to a level lower than the authority to approve travel orders.

(a) Once an employee has completed the service requirement, he/she may be granted home leave at any time he/she returns to the United States or its territories or possessions, provided the employee is expected to return to the same or another position which requires service abroad.

(b) Home leave which is not granted during the employee's period of service abroad or within 6 months of his/her return from service abroad can only be granted upon completion of a further substantial period of service abroad. This period may not be less than the normally prescribed tour of duty for the employee's post of assignment unless the approving official determines a compelling personal reason of a humanitarian or compassionate nature involving physical or mental health to grant home leave at an earlier time. The employee's return to service may be interrupted by assignment in the United States. However, normally the employee should be expected to return to the overseas post within 6 months after the use of the home leave.

(c) When home leave is approved, available home leave will be used before annual leave unless this would result in forfeiture of excess annual leave.

(d) Home leave may not be used as terminal leave or the basis for any lump sum payment upon separation from Federal service.

(3) Travel and Transportation. Home leave may be taken in conjunction with tour renewal agreement travel, temporary duty travel, or when the employee travels at his/her own expense.

(a) Granting the use of home leave does not confer an entitlement to payment of travel and transportation expenses. Entitlement to these expenses is based solely on the requirements of the appropriate travel regulations. (See SM 340.)

(b) Although the use of home leave is restricted to anywhere in the United States and its territories and possessions, additional restrictions apply under the regulations governing travel. Normally, travel and transportation expenses are limited to the constructed costs from the post of assignment to the employee's residence at the time of assignment to the position requiring service abroad.

6. Computation of Service Abroad. When computing service abroad, full credit is given for the arrival and departure days. Service abroad:

A. Begins on the date of the employee's arrival at a post of duty outside the United States or on the date of entrance on duty when recruited abroad;

B. Ends on the date of the employee's departure from the post of duty for separation, reassignment in the United States or their place of residence if that residence is a territory or possession, or on the date of separation from duty when separated abroad; and

C. Includes: (1) absence in a nonpay status up to a maximum of 2 weeks within each 12-month period of service abroad; (2) authorized leave with pay; (3) time spent in the armed forces of the United States which interrupts service abroad (NOTE: This counts towards meeting the requirements for home leave eligibility, but no leave is earned for this period.); and (4) a period of time spent on a detail.

D. Service abroad terminates by: (1) a break in service of 1 or more workdays or (2) an assignment (other than a detail) to a position in which an employee is no longer subject to the provisions of section 6305(a) of title 5, U.S.C.

7. Earning Rates. Home leave is credited to the employee's leave account, as earned, in multiples of 1 day. For each 12 months of creditable service abroad, an employee earns home leave at the following rates:

A. Fifteen (15) days of home leave are earned for employees who:

(1) Accept appointment to or occupy a position which requires acceptance of assignments anywhere in the world as needed (this includes employees under signed mobility agreements);

(2) Serve with a United States mission to a public international organization; or

(3) Serve at a post for which a foreign or nonforeign (but not tropical) differential of 20 percent or more is authorized by law or regulation.

B. Ten (10) days of home leave are earned for employees not covered by subparagraph A(1), (2), or (3) above who serve at a post for which payment of a foreign or territorial (but not tropical) differential of at least 10 percent but less than 20 percent is authorized by law or regulation.

C. Five (5) days of home leave are earned for all other employees.

8. Computation of Home Leave.

A. For each month of service abroad, an employee earns home leave under the rates in SM 370.630.6.7 in the amounts set forth in Figure 1.

B. When an employee moves between different home leave-earning rates during a month of service abroad or when a change in the differential during a month of service abroad results in a different home leave-earning rate, the employee is credited with the amount of home leave for the month at the rate to which he was entitled before the change.

9. Charging of Home Leave. The minimum charge for home leave is 1 day, and additional charges are in multiples thereof. Home leave is charged the same way in which other types of leave are charged. The same provisions for holidays and nonworkdays apply.

10. Refund for Home Leave. An employee is indebted for the home leave used when he/she fails to return to service abroad after the period of home leave or after the completion of an assignment in the United States. However, a refund for this indebtedness is not required when the employee has completed not less than 6 months service in an assignment in the United States following the period of home leave, or the approving official determines it is in the public interest not to return the employee to his overseas assignment. In addition, if the approving official determines that the employee's failure to return was due to compelling personal reasons of a humanitarian or compassionate nature involving physical or mental health, he/she may waive the indebtedness for home leave.

11. Transfer and Recredit of Home Leave. An employee is entitled to have his home leave account transferred or recredited to his account when he moves between agencies or is reemployed without a break in service of more than 90 days. When an employee leaves the USGS, his/her SF-1150, Record of Leave Data, will include any home leave balance.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: APS, Office of Policy and Analysis
Last modification: 30-Aug-2017@08:43 (kk)
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