OCHCO Bulletin: Use-or-Lose Annual Leave for Leave Year 2023

Sep 21, 2023 | Optometry HQ Announcements

OCHCO Bulletin – Use or Lose Annual Leave for Leave Year 2023


VA Central Office                                                                              September 20, 2023

Washington, DC


SUBJECT: Use-or-Lose Annual Leave for Leave Year 2023

This OCHCO Bulletin advises Human Resources (HR) offices to remind supervisors and employees to schedule use-or-lose annual leave in writing before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year (December 2, 2023) or risk forfeiting this leave.

Supervisors and employees are responsible for ensuring that use-or-lose annual leave is scheduled to prevent forfeiture of leave. Now is the time to review annual leave balances and schedule use-or-lose  annual leave. As a reminder, the 2023 leave year includes accruals for 27 pay periods; for additional information refer to OCHCO Bulletin titled “27 Pay Periods in Leave Year 2023” issued 06/29/2023.

Annual leave in excess of the maximum annual leave balance will be forfeited by the employee if it is not used by the end of the year, which is January 13, 2024. Maximum accumulation limits are provided in the following Leave Administration Fact Sheets: OHRM – Leave-19-001 and OHRM – Leave-19-002.

There are circumstances when an employee may have forfeited annual leave restored for later use, but these situations are rare. The COVID-19 National Emergency ended on May 11, 2023, thereby establishing the termination date of the exigency of the public business as May 11, 2023. Annual leave may not be restored under the COVID-19 exigency for leave year 2023. For guidance on the termination of the exigency of public business due to the COVID-19 national emergency please refer to the OCHCO Bulletin at  ochco-bulletin-20230920-01.pdf.

For guidance on restoring forfeited annual leave, refer to VA Handbook 5011, Part III, Chapter 2, paragraph 3j; and Chapter 3, paragraph 6f. You may also visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website at:

Please note that annual leave may be restored only if the annual leave was scheduled in writing by December 2, 2023 (before the start of the third biweekly pay period prior to the end of the leave year). “Scheduled in writing” means that the annual leave was requested and approved by the leave approving official, then later denied and was not able to be rescheduled, due to an exigency of public business. The requirement for annual leave to be scheduled in writing is a legal requirement that cannot be waived.

Issued by:  VA/OCHCO/Worklife and Benefits Service