Q & A Session – Letter of Requirement


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


A federal employee with use or lose annual leave and 1200 hours of sick leave was out sick for two weeks and then four days at two separate times during a calendar year, both supported by medical documentation stating “this patient is under my care” with appropriate dates. However, they were placed on a letter of requirement even though they hadn’t been charged AWOL, had a negative leave balance and had used advanced leave. Is this correct?


Yes. This is allowed if someone has a pattern of unscheduled absence and their presence at work is needed. A pattern is as few as two and any federal employee with a current job should be needed at work. The letter of requirement does not mean you are an abuser. It just means you have to have medical documentation for an unscheduled absence. “This patient is under my care” is inadequate medical documentation to show the level of incapacitation required to justify the approval of an unscheduled sick leave absence.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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1 Comment

  1. Several Questions regarding this. As I am a Chief Steward, and the federal employee’s I represent are in a Collective Bargaining Agreement. I am researching a similar issue, through out NGP’s. This employee has provided all necessary documentation after taking such unscheduled leave and was still issued an LOR.

    1. Is there a specified time limit to show a pattern? Meaning, 2 days a week, in the same week of every month. Or does that mean any pattern?

    2. Does the supervisor have to give advance notice of any adverse action, such as the letter of requirement? I can find it for other adverse actions throughout the 752 Manual of the 5 USC and 5 CFR. In the procedures sections.. on every case other than. I would conclude that it would be necessary, but I’m unsure.

    3. The employee that I represent, is a Naval Reservist. Some of the leave in question is either before or after his required duty, does this play a factor?

    4. The leave in question was approved by the supervisor, after the fact. I would think that if the supervisor approved the leave, that the LOR would be mute. Is this a correct observation?

    5. The employee also has a Unfair Labor Practice Case for another issue, would this be considered reprisal?

    6. The supervisor has informed me that he is preforming an investigation on other issues. According to what I read in the 5 USC and 5 CFR this is not authorized, except by another agency, separate from the supervisor. Is this also correct?

    Any information that you can provide would be helpful. Thanks.

    Jon Shepherd IBT512 Chief Steward

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