The OPM-71, Request for Leave Or Approved Absence, is the form a federal employee files to apply for an approved absence from a federal position or to request a temporary leave. Filling out an OPM-71 is not an absolute requirement for all such requests, but its good practice on your part, because doing so will formalize your request in writing.
Before you begin the process, you must know the how much compensatory time, annual leave, and sick leave you have accrued, because you will need to have the information on-hand in order to completely fill out the form.
How to Fill Out
The OPM-71 is simple and straightforward. It has seven sections, or boxes, that the employee must fill out. There is a final section for the supervisor to fill out, indicating approval or disapproval of the employee’s request, and, if disapproved, the reason for the disapproval.
In the first box, you simply give your name. In the second, you enter either your employee number or the last four digits of your social security number. The third box calls for the name of your organization.
The fourth box of the OPM-71 is more detailed, under “Type of Leave/Absence”, you must check all that apply of Accrued/Restored/Advanced Annual Leave and/or Accrued/Advanced Sick Leave. You must then indicate the purpose of this request from choices, which are all medically related needs, either for you or for your family. You must then fill in the dates and times that you are asking for. Finally, there is also space for Compensatory Time Off, Other Paid Absence, and Leave Without Pay.
If you are using this OPM-71 to request Annual Leave, Sick Leave or Leave Without Pay under the Family And Medical Leave Act, you must fill out Box Five. First, you indicate that you are, in fact, invoking your rights under this act. Then, you must indicate if the reason for the request is a personal health issue, a family health issue, or if the reason is Birth, Adoption, or Foster Care.
Box 6 is an optional section where you can make any additional, relevant comments concerning your request. In Box Seven, you must sign the OPM-71 and date it. At this point, you are ready to submit it to your supervisor.
When your supervisor returns the OPM-71, your request either will either have been approved or not. If it wasn’t approved, your supervisor will have indicated the reason why it wasn’t. In either case he or she will have signed and dated it.
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