Request for Restoration of Annual Leave

B-194106: Mar 26, 1980

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An Air Force accounting and finance officer appealed a Claims Division determination that annual leave subject to forfeiture should be restored to a civilian employee. The Claims Division found that the annual leave was forfeited as a result of an administrative error and was for restoration under statutory law. The employee resigned from service with the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) and was appointed to a position with the Air Force the following day. Incident to his resignation, USIA paid him a lump-sum for 32 hours of accrued annual leave and for 16 additional hours for 2 holidays which occurred during the projected leave period. When the Air Force and USIA advised the employee that his leave payment was erroneous and that he would be required to refund the full amount of the payment, the employee requested that USIA waive his indebtedness for the erroneous payment. This request was denied and the employee agreed to refund the payment through setoff from his biweekly salary payments. The Air Force determined that it would not recredit the leave covered by the refund until full repayment had been made. After reconstructing the employee's leave account as of the time final payment would be made, the Air Force found that recrediting his leave as of the date of reemployment would result in the forfeiture of 242 hours of annual leave in excess of his maximum permissable carryover allowed by law. It was this amount of leave that the Claims Division determined should be restored because of the Air Force's failure to recredit the employee's leave pending repayment of his indebtedness. GAO found that the employee's forfeiture of annual leave was the result of erroneous payment by USIA and the Air Force's subsequent failure to recredit his leave at the time of his appointment. It was held that this forfeited leave was to be regarded as forfeited as the result of administrative error and may be restored to his leave account. Accordingly, the action of the Claims Division was sustained.