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The Department of the Interior requested a decision on whether: (1) any hours of annual leave should be restored to an employee who was unable to take 98 of his 104 hours of scheduled annual leave that were subject to forfeiture due to exigencies of public business; and (2) the effect of the processing delays on the employee's eligibility to use any leave that may be restored to him. GAO has held that: (1) an unauthorized agency official's cancellation of scheduled annual leave due to public exigency constitutes administrative error; (2) annual leave which has been forfeited due to public exigency or administrative error may be restored; and (3) when annual leave is restored due to administrative error, it must be scheduled and used not later than the end of the leave year ending 2 years after the date of restoration. GAO found that the employee forfeited 73 hours of annual leave at the end of the year and submitted an application for the restoration of 40 of those hours on the basis that they had been lost due to public exigencies; however, because no proper determination of public exigency was made, the employee became eligible for restoration of the leave because it was cancelled due to administrative error. Accordingly, the employee is entitled to the use of 40 hours of annual leave until the end of the leave year in progress 2 years after the actual restoration date.

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