Leave Programs

The granting of leave is discretionary with the approving authority. Civilian marine personnel on annual leave are subject to recall. Specifics are covered in CMPI 630.2. When assigned to a ship, the authority to grant leave and liberty is vested in the ship's officers, contingent upon work requirements, authorized port restrictions, possession of leave hours, etc. When not assigned to a ship, the authority to grant leave is with MSC, specifically the respective Marine Placement Specialist (MPS). Normally, such leave is granted upon the minimum completion of a four-month service tour. CIVMARs must make every effort to request leave at least 60 days in advance. Leave is accrued each bi-weekly pay period. The major leave categories are explained here. For more information on Leave Programs, visit opm.gov.


Absence without official leave (AWOL) is a period of absence without pay for which the employee did not obtain approval or for which a request for leave is denied. AWOL is based on the supervisor’s determination that no form of leave (annual, sick, LWOP, etc.) has been or should be approved for the absence based on existing evidence. AWOL can be converted to appropriate leave when a supervisor receives and is satisfied with documentation justifying the absence. AWOL is not disciplinary in nature, but it may be the basis for disciplinary action. If you take AOWL, contact a Marine Placement Specialist as soon as possible.


Listed below are the leave programs available on a case-by-case basis:

Family and Medical Leave

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) (Public Law 103-3, 05 February 1993, Effective on 05 August 1993) — Covered employees are entitled to a total of 12 administrative work weeks of unpaid leave (leave without pay) during any 12-month period for:

  1. the birth of a son or daughter and care of the newborn;
  2. the placement of a son or daughter with you for adoption or foster care;
  3. the care of your spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition; and
  4. your own serious health condition that makes you unable to perform the duties of your position

You may substitute unpaid leave for annual leave or sick leave in situations in which the use of sick leave is permitted under the FMLA. Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be returned to his or her permanent position or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, status and other terms and conditions of employment.

DOL Fact Sheet - Certification of a Serious Health Condition Under FMLA
Certification of Health Care Provider to Care for Self (WH-30-E)
Certification of Health Care Provider to Care for Family Member (WH-30-F)
OPM Handbook 2015

Leave for Bone Marrow or Organ Donation 

Leave for Bone Marrow or Organ Donation (5 USC Section 6327 as amended by Public Law 106-56) — Each calendar year, in addition to annual or sick leave, Federal employees are entitled to use up to 7 days of paid administrative leave to serve as a bone marrow donor and up to 30 days of paid administrative leave to serve as an organ donor.

Voluntary Leave Donation / Leave Sharing

Federal Leave Sharing/Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (TLTP) (Public law 103-103, 08 October 1993) became a permanent program effective since 31 January 1994. Federal full-time employees may transfer accrued annual leave, not sick leave, to another federal employee who needs such leave because of a medical emergency that is likely to require an employee’s absence from duty without available paid leave for at least 24 hours. Additional details on Leave Programs are available here and through Leave Fact Sheets.

Request to Donate Leave (OPM 630a)
VLTP Recipients Listing Nov 2017


An employee may request up to 240 hours (30 days) of advance sick leave to cover any unexpected medical condition. The request for advance sick leave must be submitted on a leave application, signed and supported by medical documentation. Upon return to duty status, the CIVMAR is required to pay back borrowed sick leave as it replenishes.


Annual leave accrues according to the total years of federal service, as indicated on block #31 of your Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50). Those who served in the military have exceptions. Annual leave is charged in one-hour increments. Any leave accumulated in excess of 360 hours is subject to forfeiture if not used within the calendar year. Forfeited leave may be restored provided the Employee Relations Division (N17) grants authorization as outlined in CMPI 630.2-4.

CIVMARs who fail to report to duty after an approved leave of absence may be subject to disciplinary action.25

Important note: The MPS cannot place a CIVMAR in any leave status unless a valid leave request has been submitted and approved. When a CIVMAR is sick or been found Not Fit For Duty (NFFD). It is the CIVMAR’s responsibility to submit a request for sick leave to the MPS. The medical staff cannot do this for the CIVMAR.

Upon separation from the federal service, you will be paid a lump sum for all unused accumulated annual leave, unused restored annual leave, plus any compensatory time you may have.

Annual Leave "Use or Lose" Reminder


The default authorization for Emergency Leave is 30 days, and all requests for extensions must be approved in advance. An immediate family member, i.e., wife, parent, sibling, or family physician must contact the local Red Cross, provide information as to where the CIVMAR is, and explain the emergency situation. It is important that all CIVMARs keep their family apprised of their current ship assignment and rating. The Red Cross will need this information in order to contact MSC for assistance in reaching you in an emergency situation.

The Red Cross will investigate and determine if the request is justified and valid. An embassy can help, if there is not a Red Cross in areas like the Philippines. Once the Red Cross verifies it as a valid request, it will contact the ship, and ship’s management has the authority to approve leave in emergency situations. Upon arrival in port, the CIVMAR is responsible for calling his/her MPS for further instructions. As soon as the emergency has ended, contact your MPS by phone or written/electronic correspondence.

Although emergency leave is authorized for 30 days, you must notify your MPS if you anticipate that the situation will exceed two weeks. If the situation will require more than 30 days, contact the Employee-Labor Relations Branch (N17) to request LWOP or ask about other leave programs available.


The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in consultation with the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has established an Emergency Leave Transfer Program (ELTP) to assist employees affected by Hurricane Harvey. Approximately 1,300 Department of the Navy (DON) employees and their families have been identified as being among those adversely impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.

Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 6391, in the event of a major disaster or emergency that results in severe adverse effects for a substantial number of employees, the President may direct OPM to establish an ELTP. An ELTP permits employees in the executive and judicial branches to donate unused annual leave for transfer to employees of the same or other agencies who are adversely affected by the emergency, and who need additional time off from work without having to use their own paid leave.

**Please note that the ELTP regulations at 5 CFR 630.1113(b) provide that annual leave donated under the ELTP may be substituted only for advanced annual or sick leave or leave without pay used because of the emergency. Under the ELTP, an employee does not have to exhaust his or her own available paid leave before receiving donated annual leave, so the regulations allow an agency to advance annual and sick leave to an employee who has a positive annual and/or sick leave balance. Accordingly, an employee will not be able to retroactively substitute donated annual leave for any accrued annual or sick leave used due to the adverse effect of the disaster or emergency.

Request Leave

An employee who wishes to become a leave recipient due to the personal impact of Hurricane Harvey, will need to fill out the OPM 1637 form, and have his or her supervisor sign and date block 13 prior to submitting the form via email to the HRO’s WorkLife Services (WLS) Branch at msc_emp_benefits@navy.mil.

Donate Leave

An employee who wishes to donate unused annual leave under the ELTP, should complete the OPM 1638 form, and submit it to the WLS Branch at the email address directly above.

Additional Assistance

In addition to the ELTP, the Department of the Navy Civilian Employee Assistance Program (DONCEAP) offers 24/7 assistance to help members prepare for a hurricane and cope in the aftermath. DONCEAP’s EAP and WorkLife Specialists are standing by 24/7 to connect you to helpful resources including counseling, emergency supply retailers, local and national emergency/disaster resources, community resources, home and yard services and more. Should you have any questions about ELTP or DONCEAP, please contact Ms. Fran Vorce (frances.vorce@navy.mil or 757-341-6473). For additional details on DONCEAP resources, see contact information below.

Contact DONCEAP: 844-366-2327
TTY: 888-262-7848
DONCEAP Website


Upon discharge from ship tour and before authorized leave expires, CIVMARs are to communicate with the CIVMAR Support Center (CSC) that will convey to respective Marine Placement Specialist (MPS) via email, facsimile, or telephone and submit a “Request for Leave or Approved Absence (OPM 71)” with medical documentation as apropos when additional vacation time or sick leave is desired.

Upon discharge from ship tour and before returning for duty from vacation, CIVMARs are to communicate with the CSC that will convey to respective MPS via e-mail, facsimile, or telephone with regard to administrative requirements (i.e. medical surveillance programs, professional credentials, etc.) that need to be reviewed and accomplished.

Report to CSU for duty on that Sunday (if residence is outside of 50 miles) or Monday (if residence is within 50 miles) with copies of all training certificates, passport, credentials, and etc. Note: If Monday is a holiday, then shift report for duty dates by one day.


A temporary absence from duty without pay is granted at management’s discretion upon the request of the employee. Click here for more Information. Additional details can be found on the effect of remaining in an extended LWOP status here.


CIVMARs also earn additional days of vacation called "shore leave" at the rate of one day of shore leave for each 15 calendar day period on one or more extended voyages on MSC ocean-going ships. The CIVMAR does not earn shore leave during periods in which he/she is not assigned to a ship (i.e. in training, on leave, etc.). The minimum charge for using shore leave is one full eight-hour day; however, you may accumulate shore leave without a maximum limitation. Shore leave must be used throughout your career and not stockpiled. Shore leave is lost upon separation and there is no entitlement to be paid for unused shore leave.


Sick leave is used when a CIVMAR becomes ill or is injured and is unable to perform light duty. It is earned at the rate of four hours per pay period or 13 days each year and is charged in one-hour increments. There is no limit to the amount of sick leave a CIVMAR may accrue in his/her career. When sick leave is diminished, annual leave may be used. If the CIVMAR does not have leave available when he/she becomes ill or injured and he/she is on a voyage, the employee is entitled to "continued pay" until he/she is returned to the CSU, MSC, or the ship returns to the port it normally operates from, whichever occurs first. "Continued pay" is essentially the employee’s base pay.


Federal employees are entitled to use sick leave for purposes related to the adoption of a child. Additional details and general information on sick leave policies are explained on the OPM website.

OPM Handbook 2015


Full-time employees may use up to 40 hours (5 days) of sick leave each leave year for family care and bereavement purposes. An additional 64 hours (8 days) may be used as long as a balance of at least 80 hours of sick leave is maintained. Click here for more information.