Administrative Leave Available for Voting

You may have seen management's email this week on getting administrative leave to go vote. The NTEU Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies in Article 23, Section 2, that you "may arrive for work three hours after the polls are open or leave work three hours before the polls close, whichever requires the lesser amount of time."  And if this general rule does not allow you sufficient time to vote, you "may be excused for such additional time as may be needed to enable [you] to vote."

You must let your supervisor know in advance, however.

Below is the full text of the All-Hands email:

Message from: Donna J. Vizian, Acting Assistant Administrator, OARM


As you know, the Presidential election takes place on November 8, 2016. There are federal guidelines governing the granting of official time for the purpose of voting. Employees may be granted an excused absence (i.e., administrative leave) to vote depending on their work schedule and the polling times for their voting jurisdiction. There are also additional considerations related to Election Day, extended commuted distance and early voting summarized below.

Election Day
If the polls open or close at least three hours before or after an employee’s work schedule, no excused absence may be granted.

If the difference between an employee’s scheduled arrival and departure times, and the poll’s opening and closing time is less than three hours, an employee is entitled to administrative leave, up to a maximum of three hours.

Extended Commuting Distance
If an employee’s voting place is beyond normal commuting distance and voting by absentee ballot is not permitted, the agency may grant excused absence (not to exceed one day) to allow the employee to make the trip to the voting place to cast a ballot. If more than one day is needed, the employee may request annual leave or leave without pay for the additional period of absence.

Early Voting
For an employee voting in a jurisdiction permitting early voting before Election Day, excused absence is permitted only when: 1) the employee will be unable to vote on Election Day because of agency mission needs (e.g., temporary duty travel) and cannot vote using an absentee ballot; or 2) early voting hours are the same as, or exceed, voting hours on Election Day, in which case use the guidelines above. If an employee chooses to vote earlier, but the hours in which polling places are open are shorter than on Election Day, the employee is not eligible for excused absence because the employee has opted to vote at that time.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s policy regarding official time off for voting may be found at Here is the link to the Office of Personnel Management’s October 17, 2016 memo regarding excused absence for voting

Any employee needing an excused absence to vote, should seek approval from their first-line supervisor. If you have questions regarding these guidelines, please contact Loretta Hunt, chief, Policy and Accountability Branch, Office of Human Resources, at (202) 564-6963 or


Donna J. Vizian
Acting Assistant Administrator