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Special General Memorandum 18-02

SGM No. 18-02
June 1, 2018
TO: All Indian Health Service Employees
FROM: Acting Director
SUBJECT: Managing Administrative, Investigative and Notice Leave in the Indian Health Service

This Special General Memorandum (SGM) establishes interim Indian Health Service (IHS) policy on managing paid leave, specifically, (1) Administrative Leave; and (2) Investigative and Notice Leave in the IHS.

In the past, there was no formal definition or regulations established for the use of Administrative Leave, nor were there categories of paid leave specifically associated with conducting an investigation and the notice periods attached to adverse actions where it has been determined that the employee is not a candidate to continue in their current position. For these reasons and the suspected abuse of paid leave relative to addressing personnel actions (performance and misconduct) within organizations, Congress passed the Administrative Leave Act of 2016 (5 U.S.C. §§ 6329a-6329c), which became effective on December 23, 2016. The Act established these new categories of paid leave and specifics regarding their administration. The Act also requires the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and then the Agency (HHS) to develop implementing regulations and policies. OPM issued a proposed rule on July 13, 2017, that will add new subparts to 5 C.F.R. part 630 to govern Administrative, Investigative, and Notice Leave, 82 Fed. Reg. 32263 (July 13, 2017). However, OPM has not issued the final rule.

Within the IHS, it is crucial that supervisors deal with all personnel actions requiring extended paid leave expediently, including initiation and concluding associated investigations and resulting adverse action (if warranted). There are specific conditions that must be met and requirements for employee notification. Each supervisor must ensure that they immediately contact their servicing HR office to identify available options and required actions.

Until such a time as OPM and HHS publish the official regulations and policies on Administrative, Investigative and Notice Leave, the following will serve as interim policy for the IHS.

    1. Administrative Leave. Administratively authorized absence from duty without loss of or reduction in pay, leave, or credit for time served and that is exclusive of leave authorized under any other provision of law. Because Administrative Leave can only be used when the employee is absent from duty, it should not be used for any periods when the employee is engaged in activities that qualify as work hours, such as required training, even if the training takes place at a location away from the employee’s duty station. Since Administrative Leave is leave not authorized under any other provision of law, it should not be used if another type of leave is appropriate (e.g., sick leave, annual leave, etc.). During any calendar year, an agency may place an employee in Administrative Leave for a period of not more than a total of 10 work days. Administrative Leave must be documented and recorded from other forms of leave.
    2. Investigative Leave. Administratively authorized absence from duty without loss of or reduction in pay, leave, or credit for time served, when an employee is under investigation. An investigation is an inquiry regarding an employee. Before using Investigative Leave, the agency must first use and exhaust Administrative Leave. Upon the expiration of the 10 work day period with respect to an employee who has been placed on Administrative Leave, and if an agency determines pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 6239b(b)(2) that an extended investigation of the employee is necessary, the agency may place the employee in Investigative Leave for a period of not more than 30 work days. At the end of the initial 30-day period, if the Chief Human Capital Officer, or his/her designee, approves an extension of the Investigative Leave after consulting with the investigator responsible for conducting the investigation, the Investigative Leave may be extended for not more than 30 work days, but the total period of additional Investigative Leave for an employee may not exceed 90 work days.
    3. Notice Leave. Administratively authorized absence from duty without loss of or reduction in pay, leave, or credit for time served, beginning on the date on which an employee is provided notice required under law of a proposed adverse action against the employee and ending on the date on which an agency may take the adverse action. Notice Leave shall be for a period not longer than the duration of the notice period.

    An Agency may place an employee on Investigative Leave or Notice Leave ONLY if, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 6239b(b)(2), the Agency has both:

    1. Made a determination with respect to the employee that the continued presence of the employee in the workplace during an investigation of the employee or while the employee is in a notice period, as applicable, may:
      1. Pose a threat to the employee or others;
      2. Result in a destruction of evidence relevant to an investigation;
      3. Result in loss of or damage to Government property; or
      4. Otherwise jeopardize legitimate Government interest; and
    2. Considered other available options, including the following, and determined that none of the available options is acceptable:
      1. Assigning the employee to duties in which the employee no longer poses a threat described in a through d above;
      2. Allowing the employee to take leave for which the employee is eligible;
      3. If the employee is absent from duty without approved leave, carrying the employee in absence without leave status; and
      4. For an employee subject to a notice period, curtailing the notice period if there is reasonable cause to believe the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed.

      An Agency placing an employee on Notice Leave following a placement on Investigative Leave must propose or initiate the adverse action against the employee no later than the day after the last day of the Investigative Leave and also must determine that the employee continues to meet one or more of the conditions for approval of Investigative Leave or Notice Leave.


    The following IHS officials are delegated to approve Administrative Leave, Investigative Leave, and Notice Leave as specified below until OPM and HHS develop and implement regulations and official policy on Administrative, Investigative, and Notice Leave.

    1. Administrative Leave.
      1. All requests for Administrative Leave of less than one hour per day are delegated to the following official:
        The Leave Approving Official (The Immediate Supervisor) The respective reporting unit consisting of all employees under the direct supervision of one supervisor.
      2. All requests for Administrative Leave beyond one hour and not to exceed 10 workdays are delegated to the following official(s)*:
        Deputy Director for Management OperationsService-Wide
        Deputy Director for Field OperationsService-Wide
        Headquarters Office DirectorsRespective Organization
        Area DirectorsRespective Area
        Area Executive OfficersRespective Area
        Service Unit Directors/Chief Executive OfficersRespective Service Unit
        Regional Human Resources DirectorsRespective Organization

        *A designated official may not exercise this authority if the official is in the immediate organizational unit affected by the exigency or if the official would be affected by the decision. In such cases, the authority shall be exercised by the Director, IHS or an official listed above whose Area of Authority is Service-Wide.

    2. Investigative and Notice Leave.

      All requests for Investigative or Notice Leave are delegated to the following official:

        Deputy Director for Management Operations Service-Wide

      Each Request for Approval of Investigative or Notice Leave (see Attachment 1) must contain specific information related to the case that would inform the reviewer/approver of why the leave is being requested and must follow the authorization structure required in the attachment. Once approved, the official approval must be retained in the case file for the specific action. A copy of only the approval section of the request must be provided to the timekeeper for authorization to post the paid leave on the employee’s timecard and for retention in the employee’s timekeeping file. Timekeepers are not authorized to post Administrative Leave, Investigative Leave, or Notice Leave for employees without ensuring appropriate authorization as outlined in this memo.

      If you have any questions related to this topic and process, please contact Duane Phillips at IHS Headquarters, Office of Human Resources, Division of Workforce Relations and Policy, phone (301)443-1486.

Effective Date:

This SGM becomes effective on the date signed.

/Michael D. Weahkee/
RADM Michael D. Weahkee, MBA, MHSA
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service
Acting Director
Indian Health Service

Attachment 1 – Request for Approval of Investigative/Notice Leave



TO:		Deputy Director for Management Operations, IHS


SUBJECT: 	Request for Approval of Investigative or Notice Leave

Please consider this an official request for approval of Investigative or Notice Leave.

Employee Name:  _______________________________________________

Employee Title:  ________________________________________________

Area/Office/Service Unit: _________________________________________

Duty Location:  _________________________________________________

Timekeeper Name:  ______________________________________________

Immediate Supervisor Name:  ______________________________________

Supervisor Title:  ________________________________________________

Leave Type:  Investigative or Notice (Circle One)

Date Investigation/Notice to Begin:  ______________	Date Completed: ___________

Is the leave due to an exigency? (Y/N)  Identify the exigency by checking one or more reasons below:

____ Pose a threat to the employee or others
____ Result in the destruction of evidence relevant to an investigation
____ Result in loss of or damage to Government property 
____ Otherwise jeopardize legitimate Government interests

Detail reason for the request: ______________________________________________________


Have all options for continuing the employee in work status (i.e., temporary detail/reassignment to alternate duties, telework, allowing the employee to take leave, indefinite suspension, etc.) been considered and determined not to be appropriate?  Y / N

Specified Dates for Investigative/Notice Leave:  From:  MM/DD/YYYY    TO: MM/DD/YYYY

_______________________________________	________________
Supervisor’s signature					Date
Concurrence/Official Approval Page (cc to Timekeeper)



HR Specialist Name: (print) _______________________________________

HR Specialist Signature: _______________________________________	Date:  ____________



I hereby recommend approval/disapproval of Investigative/Notice Leave

Director, OHR, HQ: (print) _________________________________________	

Director, OHR, HQ Signature: ___________________________________	Date:  ____________

Reason for disapproval: __________________________________________________________



Employee’s Name: ____________________________

Investigative/Notice Leave:	_______________	________________
				Approved		Disapproved

For the timeframe:  From:  MM/DD/YYYY    TO:  MM/DD/YYYY

____________________________________                	________________
Deputy Director for Management Operations		Date