0301 Overview

This chapter establishes the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) financial policies regarding payroll records for leave and work schedules. Leave administration and work schedules are addressed in Human Resources (HR) policy with primary coverage found in VA Handbook 5011, Hours of Duty and Leave.

The key points covered in this chapter are:

  • Timekeeping system requirements for managing leave and work schedules;
  • Guidance to help manage paid leave limits; and
  • Telework reporting.

0302 Revisions

SectionRevisionOfficeReason for ChangeEffective Date
ThroughoutUpdated links and formattingOFP (047G)Full updateOctober 2023
030502Edited to acknowledge remaining full-time physician daily rate residentsHR WL&BCorrectionOctober 2023
030502Add mention of paid parental leave and parental bereavement leaveOFP (047G)New entitlementsOctober 2023
030503New section breaking out Leave Buy BackOFP (047G)Separating issue from other leave coverageOctober 2023
030504Add reference and direction to HR policyHR WL&BClarify requirementOctober 2023
See changelog for previous policy revisions.

0303 Definitions

Work schedule and leave definitions are included in HR policy; see VA Handbook 5011, Hours of Duty and Leave.

0304 Roles and Responsibilities

Under Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Other Key Officials (OKO, as identified in Volume I, Chapter 1) and Chief Financial Officers are responsible for ensuring compliance with the policies set forth in this chapter.

Chiefs/Directors/Officers, Human Resources, are responsible for providing appropriate levels of advice and assistance to employees, beneficiaries, supervisors and fiscal/finance employees regarding laws, regulations and policy covering HR issues, including interpretation of rules relating to hours of duty, pay, leave and authorization of deductions from pay. HR Officers are also responsible for ensuring HR data is accurate and entered into automated HR systems that integrate with payroll and timekeeping systems in a timely manner.

Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is VA’s designated payroll provider (except for VA Office of Inspector General staff). DFAS processes payroll, makes all employee deductions and disbursements, generates the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) and W-2 files, charges VA appropriations and cost centers and reports payroll related financial information to Treasury on behalf of VA.

Employees are responsible for the prompt submission of leave requests in accordance with HR leave administration policy, reviewing their timesheet and their LES for accuracy, and for promptly notifying:

  • Their supervisor and timekeeper of timesheet discrepancies regarding leave charges, telework and extra work time; and
  • HR or payroll representatives of other pay, leave and deduction discrepancies.

Employees are also responsible for informing themselves regarding tax withholding requirements, and for submitting applicable tax withholding election certificates to the servicing payroll office or updating tax withholding elections in myPay.

Servicing Payroll Offices (either centralized as in Financial Services Center (FSC) and Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 20, or facility based) are responsible for training timekeepers and supervisors on timekeeping system functions and for working with timekeepers, supervisors and other employees to resolve pay and leave discrepancies and with auditors on annual records audits. Servicing payroll offices are responsible for ensuring prompt adjustment processing, deduction input and maintaining accurate and secure timekeeping and payroll records.

Supervisors are responsible for accuracy of employee pay and leave status recorded in the time and attendance (T&A) system. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Ensuring that timekeepers are promptly notified of information needed to maintain accurate and complete time and leave records;
  • Managing employee leave and overtime work and ensuring prompt completion of necessary supporting request and approval documentation;
  • Ensuring that timekeepers have sufficient time for daily maintenance of T&A records, and for completing such records at the end of the pay period to ensure timesheets are certified by 8 p.m. Central Time on the second Friday of each pay period unless an earlier deadline is announced by FSC Financial Payroll Service (FPS);
  • Approving and certifying automated T&A records through electronic signature; approving and certifying paper T&A records as applicable; and
  • Seeking HR entitlement guidance when unsure and denying questionable transactions pending resolution of concerns.

Timekeepers are responsible for the preparation, maintenance and timely submission of official T&A records and reports for each employee whose record has been assigned to their Time and Leave Unit (TL).

0305 Policies

030501 General Policies

  1. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides government-wide leadership on leave and work schedules in accordance with 5 U.S.C. Chapters 61, 63, and 65.
  2. 38 U.S.C. § 7421, Personnel administration: in general, gives the VA Secretary authority to administer different leave and work schedules for physicians, registered nurses, and additional occupations hired under title 38 regulation.
  3. HR policy in VA Handbook 5011, Hours of Duty and Leave, in Part III addresses leave entitlement, leave use purpose, and limitations on leave accrual, use, carryover and restoration.

030502 Leave

  1. VA timekeeping systems allow full-time and part-time employees to enter requests for use of available leave subject to supervisor approval. Leave for the most part is charged in quarter hour increments.
  2. Full-time hourly physician leave, military leave and leave for Time Off Awards can only be charged in whole hour increments.
  3. Full-time daily-rate resident physicians are charged leave in full day increments.
  4. Leave was charged in full day increments to all full-time physicians until many converted to hourly pay and leave on September 15, 2019.
  5. Intermittent employees for whom no regular tour of duty has been established are not covered by any leave system and do not accrue or use leave.
  6. Timekeeping system edits may not be sufficient to prevent leave use in excess of accrued or advanced paid leave, compensatory time earned or to fully enforce other leave limitations. Therefore, timekeepers should:
    • Remain alert to low leave balance circumstances to help prevent excess leave use;
    • Communicate with the employee’s supervisor on all leave issues; and
    • Take prompt action to process transactions that will correct leave balances.
  7. To help enforce family care, paid parental leave, parental bereavement leave and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) limitations, payroll or timekeepers will need to report prior leave used by an employee to Human Resources representatives requesting that information.

030503 Leave Buy Back (LBB)

  1. An employee who used paid leave for a work-related injury may have an opportunity to buy back paid leave when an Office of Workers Compensation Program (OWCP) representative determines OWCP will cover salary expense for the absence.
  2. A LBB transaction substitutes Leave Without Pay (LWOP) for paid leave charged. The employee will complete repayment promptly and do so prior to separation from their VA appointment. Otherwise, the servicing finance office may cancel the transaction and return any partial payments. See DOL Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
  3. VA will facilitate LBB transactions in accordance with Department of Labor (DOL) guidance and 20 C.F.R. § 10.425.
  4. VA will only consider LBB for leave charged during the twelve months prior to employee submission of the LBB request.
  5. Leave bought back is re-credited to the year in which it was used. Employees are advised to avoid repurchase of annual leave in excess of carryover limits or after the expiration date for restored leave. Excess amounts and expired restored leave will be forfeited.
  6. When prior paid leave is converted to Leave Without Pay (LWOP) in timekeeping records, an employee’s leave accrual will often be reduced. Full-time employees’ pay period accrual is reduced for each multiple of 80 hours of cumulative LWOP charged in the leave year. Part-time employees accrue (and lose) annual and sick leave based on the number of hours in pay status. For example: A full-time employee electing to buyback 160 hours of sick leave used in a single leave year will lose two pay periods of leave accrual (160/80 = 2). The amount paid for 160 hours is repaid to VA. The employee will be credited with 152 hours of sick leave (160 hours less 2 pay periods of sick leave accrued at 4 hours per pay period). Annual leave will be reduced by a total of 8, 12, or 16 hours depending on the rate at which annual leave accrues.

030504 Work Schedules

  1. Supervisors, in order to manage their work units, will establish work schedules for their subordinates in accordance with HR policy in VA Handbook 5011, Part II.
  2. Work schedules identify the scheduled daily normal hours within each pay period for full-time and part-time employees. The schedule must match the employee full-time duty basis or part-time hours per biweekly pay period as displayed on the employee’s Standard Form-50, Notification of Personnel Action.
  3. Work schedules will comply with telework agreements to reflect regularly scheduled telework.
  4. Each service or work unit and servicing payroll office will maintain information on approved work schedules.
  5. Changes to work schedules or telework days during the pay period are approved by the supervisor through certification of the pay period timesheet.

0306 Authorities and References

0307 Rescissions

Volume XV, Chapter 3A, approved September 14, 2022.

0308 Policy Approval

This policy was approved by the VA Chief Financial Officers’ Council on October 6, 2023.