The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 established a new paid leave entitlement for most federal civilian employees. Section 6329d in subchapter II of chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code, which became effective December 27, 2021, provides covered federal employees a total of two workweeks of parental bereavement leave in connection with the death of an employee’s qualifying child.
To be eligible for parental bereavement leave, you must meet the title 5 Family and Medical Leave Act provision in 5 United States Code 6381 requirements at the time of the child’s death. Thus, the following must be met:
- Covered under the title 5 annual and sick leave program (i.e., an “employee” as defined in 5 U.S.C. 6301(2)).
- Have a permanent or term appointment (i.e., temporary appointments not to exceed one year are ineligible).
- Have an established part-time or full-time work schedule (i.e., intermittent work schedule employees are ineligible).
- Completed at least 12 months of service as a federal employee (as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2105).
You must also be in a status in which you account for hours in the tour of duty by work or leave. For example, an employee with a seasonal work schedule is not eligible during the off-season when placed in nonduty/nonpaid status.
Bereavement leave is a stand-alone type of paid leave entitlement that is administered independently from any other type of leave, including sick leave, to make arrangements necessitated by the death of a family member or to attend the funeral of a family member. The death of an employee’s child triggers the law’s one-time entitlement, which must be used within the single 12-month period commencing on the date of the child’s death. Once bereavement leave commences, it must be used continuously (non-intermittently) unless there is a mutual agreement between the command and the employee to allow intermittent use.
A decision from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regarding eligibility for employees who experience miscarriage and/or stillbirth is pending. Additionally, Department of Defense and Department of Navy implementing policy is forthcoming. In the interim, employees should record time as “LV” (Excused Absence) and annotate Bereavement Leave in the comment section. ?