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CPM 2008-12
Office of the Director
United States
Office of Personnel Management
Washington, DC 20415-1000


Linda M. Springer

Update on Excused Absence for Employees Returning from Active Military Duty

We are continually indebted to our Federal civilian employees who, as members of the National Guard or Reserve, have been called to active duty to serve our nation in support of the Global War on Terrorism.  This memorandum directs agencies to grant Federal civilian employees 5 days of excused absence each time they return from active military service in the continuing Global War on Terrorism. 

On November 14, 2003, President George W. Bush issued a Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies entitled “Return of Activated Military Members to Federal Civilian Employment” (see recognizing the many contributions made in the defense of freedom by Federal civilian employees who were called to active duty in support of the Global War on Terrorism.  The President’s memorandum notes that the Federal Government serves as a model employer in its treatment of its National Guard and Reserve members and states that he is committed to providing each of them with our full support, recognition, and assistance.  On that same date, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance entitled “Guidance on the Return to Civilian Employment for Activated Military Members” to implement the President’s memorandum (see

We are aware that some members of the National Guard and Reserve have been deployed for more than one tour.  Under OPM’s previous guidance, which included a set of “Questions and Answers on Excused Absence for Employees Returning from Active Duty,” the use of 5 days of excused absence was limited to one deployment.  To continue to provide full support, recognition, and assistance for those who serve our country, we have updated these Questions and Answers to reflect that Federal civilian employees returning from active duty may receive 5 days of uncharged leave (excused absence) from their civilian duties each time they return from deployment (see  Employees who have already returned to work and have not received 5 days of excused absence for a second or subsequent deployment may take these 5 days of excused absence at a time mutually agreeable to the employee and the agency.

I would like to personally thank you for the support that you have provided to our men and women who are serving our nation in support of the Global War on Terrorism, and I am urging you to do everything possible to ease these employees’ return to civilian life.

Additional Information

For additional information, agency Chief Human Capital Officers and/or Human Resources Directors should contact their assigned OPM Human Capital Officer.  Employees should contact their agency human resources offices to obtain information on their entitlements.

cc:        Chief Human Capital Officers
            Human Resources Directors Our Mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a
World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People
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