OPM approves emergency leave program for Oregon wildfires

Federal employees impacted by the Oregon wildfire season this year have the potential to access donated leave from their fellow employees, per an announcement issued by the Office of Personnel Management Nov. 23.

OPM authorized an emergency leave transfer program to respond to the wildfires, which allows agencies to narrow down which, if any, of their employees were adversely impacted by the wildfires and how much leave those employees need to respond to the personal upheaval.

Employees that have been adversely impacted are required to apply in writing to their agencies to be placed in the ELTP, and those employees who wish to donate their unused annual leave must contact their agency leadership to determine if there are any employees that could use the leave.

“Agencies with employees adversely affected by the Oregon Wildfires 2020 are in the best position to determine whether, and how much, donated annual leave is needed by their employees and which of their employees have been adversely affected by the emergency within the meaning of OPM regulations,” acting OPM Director Michael Rigas said in the memo authorizing the program.

“They are also in the best position to quickly facilitate the transfer of donated annual leave within their agencies.”

President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration for the state of Oregon Sept. 10, which covered any wildfires beginning on Sept. 8 or later.

According to OPM data, approximately 20,000 federal employees are located in Oregon, with most of those working for the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Interior and the Army. Not every employee in the state, however, will have been adversely impacted by the wildfires.

The Oregon wildfire ELTP marks the third such program approved in 2020, as OPM also issued emergency leave programs for the California wildfires and Hurricane Laura.

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