Annual Leave


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
April 21, 2018 When Superseded 12  


The District government is committed to the health and wellness of all its employees. As part of this commitment, the District government provides an annual leave benefit to be used for periods of rest, vacation, and to take time to attend to personal business. This issuance reviews the guidelines for utilizing annual leave to include eligibility requirements, accrual rates, and how to request annual leave.

General Guidelines

The District government recognizes that taking planned time off from work contributes to employee wellness. Employees should use their annual leave benefit to (1) take vacation periods of extended leave for rest and recreation, and (2) take time off for personal and emergency purposes.

Annual leave is provided as accrued hours that an employee may use to take time off from their regularly scheduled work hours. An employee may only use annual leave in one (1) hour increments. For example, if an employee needs to be absent from 9:00 A.M. to 10:30 A.M., they must request two hours of leave and would be expected to report to work at 11:00 A.M.

Employees may only request to use leave on days that they are regularly scheduled to perform work.

Using Annual Leave In Place of Sick Leave: Employees can request to use annual leave in place of sick leave. For example, if an employee has a doctor’s appointment, he can request to use annual leave to cover his absence instead of sick leave. However, if an employee requests and is granted sick leave for an appointment, the employee cannot later elect to use annual leave.


All District government employees are entitled to earn annual leave, except:

  1. Intermittent employees who do not have a scheduled tour of duty (commonly referred to as When Actually Employed, or WAE);
  2. Elected officials; and
  3. Temporary employees who have appointments of less than ninety (90) days.
Temporary Appointments and Annual Leave: If an employee on a temporary appointment for less than ninety (90) days receives an extension, or if they serve successive temporary appointments without a break in service that add up to ninety (90) days or longer, the employee is entitled to receive retroactive credit for leave earned from the date of the initial appointment, and is entitled to earn leave thereafter.

Earning Leave

An employee’s leave accrual depends on whether he or she works a full or part-time schedule and their tenure with the District government. Fulltime employees earn annual leave as follows:

Less than 3 years of service 4 hours per full biweekly pay period
Between 3 - less than 15 years of service 6 hours per full biweekly pay period; 10 hours on last pay period in the leave year
15 years of service or more 8 hours per full biweekly pay period

Eligible part-time employees accrue leave on a pro-rata basis. Part-time employees may not accrue leave for overtime hours.

Less than 3 years of service 1 hour of annual leave per 20 hours in a pay status
Between 3 - less than 15 years of service 1 hour of annual leave per 13 hours in a pay status
15 years of service or more 1 hour of annual leave per 10 hours in a pay status

Calculating Service Time

For purposes of calculating service time for annual leave accrual purposes, District employees receive service credit for all work as a District government employee that is used for calculating the District’s contributions to a retirement system. In addition to this service credit, an employee may also receive service credit for some past federal and military service.

Prior Federal Service

Employees who previously worked with the federal government, and who have not retired under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), are eligible to receive credit towards their annual leave accrual rate if their federal service was creditable under CSRS. Except for federal service under CSRS, no other civilian federal service is creditable to District government employees, including service under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Prior Military Service

An employee who is a retired member of the uniformed service shall be entitled to annual leave credit for active military service if they retired because of:

  1. A disability resulting from injury or disease received in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict; or
  2. A disability caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in the line of duty during a period of war as defined by 38 USC § 1101.

No other military service is creditable service for annual leave with the District government

Re-employed CSRS Annuitants

For purposes of annual leave accrual, individuals who retire from the District or federal government under the regular or early retirement provisions of CSRS, and who are re-employed by the District government on or after February 27, 2008, will not receive service credit for the years that they have worked before they retired. Credit for years of service will begin on the date that the individual was re-employed by the District government. For example, if an employee retired in 1995, and was re-employed in 2009, credit for years of service will begin in 2009.

However, District employees who have worked for the District government prior to October 1, 1987, and who made contributions to Social Security for that work, may have that time credited for annual leave accrual purposes.

Annual Leave Limits

An employee’s annual leave balance cannot exceed two hundred forty (240) hours at the end of a leave year. The District government has a “use it or lose it” policy for annual leave. If an employee has accrued more than 240 hours of leave, his or her leave balance will be reduced to 240 hours at the beginning of the first biweekly pay period of the calendar year.

Transferring to Another District Agency

District government employees who transfer to a new District agency shall have their accrued annual leave transferred to their new District agency, so long as there is not a break in service. Employees who transfer to another leave system will still have access to their previously accrued leave in an escrow account.

Uniformed Members of FEMS Firefighting Division

Uniformed members of the Firefighting Division of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Department who transfer to another agency of the District government, or to a non-uniformed division of FEMS shall have their annual leave adjusted by dividing their accrued annual leave hours by one and two-tenths (1.2), rounded up to the next whole hour.

Transferring from a Federal Agency

A federal government employee who is hired or appointed by the District government without a break in service of more than one (1) workday shall be credited with the annual leave balance that they had at the time of separation from federal service. However, if the transferring employee elected to receive a lump-sum payment for annual leave from the federal government, they will not be credited with any annual leave hours upon entry into District government service.


Using Annual Leave

An employee may use accrued annual leave at any time during the leave year if they receive approval from their immediate supervisor or the agency head responsible for the employee’s timesheet. If an employee wishes to use their accrued annual leave, they must:

  1. Submit a request in advance to use annual leave to their manager or supervisor.
  2. Receive approval from the manager or supervisor; and
  3. Record the approved leave taken on their timesheet in PeopleSoft.

Step 1: Submit a Request

DCHR recommends that employees notify their immediate supervisor before submitting a formal leave request. This allows employees and supervisors the opportunity to work out any potential scheduling conflicts and enables the employee to submit a request that is more likely to be approved. An employee should make a formal request for annual leave through PeopleSoft at least twenty-four (24) hours before the day that the leave will be taken. However, agencies, at their discretion, may establish their own policies that require notice of more than twenty-four (24) hours. (See Attachment 1 – PeopleSoft Procedures for Requesting and Reporting Annual Leave.)

Personal Emergencies and Unscheduled Annual Leave

The District government recognizes that employees may need to be absent from work for personal emergencies such as a household emergency. Annual leave that is not requested and approved at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the start of an employee’s scheduled tour of duty is considered unscheduled leave for data tracking purposes.

If an employee needs to take unscheduled leave for a personal emergency, he or she should inform the immediate supervisor, or another supervisor within the chain of command at least two (2) hours before the scheduled tour of duty. Agencies should inform their employees in writing whether notifying a coworker, leaving a voicemail message for a supervisor, sending an email, or submitting a leave request through PeopleSoft for unscheduled leave are sufficient means of notification. If an agency has not developed a policy that lists a specific mode of contact, then employees shall submit their request for unscheduled leave through the PeopleSoft time reporting system.

Declared Emergencies and Unscheduled Annual Leave

During periods of inclement weather and other emergencies, the Mayor may authorize non-essential and non-emergency employees to use unscheduled leave. Under these circumstances, and though pre-approval by a supervisor is not required, an employee must notify his or her agency of the intent to use unscheduled leave. This notification should take place within one hour of the start of the tour of duty, or as soon as practical following the Mayor’s announcement. An employee’s notification of his or her intent to use unscheduled leave shall be made in accordance with agency policy or, in the absence of such a policy, via a leave request through PeopleSoft.

Step 2: Receive Approval

Except when specifically authorized by the Mayor or in limited circumstances, employees cannot use annual leave without supervisory approval. DCHR recommends that agency supervisors review annual leave requests that would be considered “scheduled annual leave” as soon as they are requested. In instances when an employee’s absence would negatively affect the completion of critical work, DCHR recommends that supervisors work with employees to identify alternative leave dates, as opposed to simply denying the request.

Approval of Unscheduled Annual Leave

Although agencies may deny requests for unscheduled annual leave, DCHR encourages supervisors to try to approve unscheduled leave for personal emergencies unless they have reason to believe that:

  1. A legitimate emergency does not exist; or
  2. The employee’s presence on duty is essential to maintain minimum public services in support or maintenance of public health, life, or property, and that the employee was notified of their importance.

Step 3: Record Leave Taken

If approved, employees must record any scheduled and unscheduled leave taken on their timesheet in PeopleSoft using the appropriate Time Reporting Code (TRC). Please refer to the following table for the proper TRCs. (See also Attachment 1 – PeopleSoft Procedures for Requesting and Reporting Annual Leave, for time entry procedures.)

Employees may also use the “Unscheduled Leave” TRC Codes in the event of an approved absence due to a personal emergency.

Scheduled Leave TRC Codes
ALTS Annual Leave Scheduled: Use for scheduled annual leave (leave requested and approved at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance).
COMPS Compensatory Time Taken Scheduled: Use for scheduled leave that will be taken from compensatory time earned.
ETUS Exempt Time Off Scheduled: Use for scheduled leave to be taken from exempt time off.
RSUS Restored Leave Scheduled: Use for scheduled leave that will be taken from your restored leave account.


Unscheduled Leave TRC Codes
ALT Annual Leave Unscheduled: Use for unscheduled annual leave (leave that is not requested and approved at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance).
COMPT Compensatory Time Taken Unscheduled: Use for time taken for unscheduled compensatory time.
ETU Exempt Time Off Unscheduled: Use for unscheduled exempt time off.
RSU Restored Leave Unscheduled: Use for unscheduled leave that will be taken from your restored leave account.

Annual Leave Upon Separation

Employees who separate from their employment with the District government are entitled to receive a lump-sum payment for all remaining hours of annual leave they have accumulated. The amount of this payment will be determined based on the employee’s basic salary at the time of separation.

Collective Bargaining Agreement

To the extent a provision of this issuance is incompatible with a negotiated collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA provision shall apply.



  1. Statutory Authority: D.C. Official Code § 1-612.01 et seq.
  2. Regulatory Authority: Chapter 12 of the D.C. personnel regulations, Hours of Work, Legal Holidays, and Leave.

Additional Information

For additional information concerning this issuance, please contact the Department of Human Resources, Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to


  1. Attachment 1 - PeopleSoft Procedures for Requesting and Reporting Annual Leave

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on April 21, 2018, midnight