When I first started as a federal employee, I remember each January our front desk would be stocked with leave calendars or leave records. (I’d have never guessed that in 2021 I’d be making my own federal employee leave calendar) These calendars were shipped to our office by GEICO every year. (Did you know that GEICO stands for “Government Employee Insurance Company”?) Apparently, GEICO thought it was good advertising to supply feds with these free calendars for employees to track and plan annual and sick leave.
Eventually, GEICO replaced these calendars with Excel spreadsheets. As a spreadsheet geek, I loved planning out my leave and having it automatically calculate all my use or lose leave. Unfortunately, GEICO stopped supporting their federal employee leave record. Each winter, I now manually update all of the federal pay period calendar information into my spreadsheet so I can track my leave for the next year.
This year, I thought it’d be fun to share my 2021 federal employee leave calendar with you. Hopefully, some of you remember the leave record from the “good ole’ days”. But if not, I’ll walk you through the calendar, how it works, and special features.
Why you need the 2021 federal employee leave calendar
I love my leave calendar and check it daily. I look at the spreadsheet and put the hours in daily. Since my workplace uses a “Maxiflex” schedule, I often work a different number of hours each day. Using the spreadsheet allows me to calculate how many hours I have left to work each pay period. Technically I could log into our paycheck program each day to do this, but it’s much easier to just open a Google Sheet.
Planning out my use-or-lose leave
As someone with nearly 20 years of government service, I get 8 hours of leave a pay period. I also roll over 240 hours of leave each year as part of my emergency fund. As a result I “have to” use 208 hours of vacation time each year.
At the beginning of the year, I go through and mark off all of the school holidays when I need to take off work for childcare. Then I try to figure out the best time to take the remainder of my leave. It’s especially helpful at the end of the year when I need to submit an official request to have my use-or-lose scheduled. I honestly have no idea how I’d handle this without a spreadsheet.
The 2021 federal leave calendar is also fantastic for figuring how when the federal holidays are. I’ve marked this with a red “H” square. (Just as it used to be on the GEICO sheet for those of you who can remember back that far).
Sick leave balance
After 19.5 years of federal service, I’ve built up quite a few hours of sick leave. I feel confident that I have enough of a bank to weather a major health crisis and don’t really think about the balance that much. However, sick leave can be valuable if you do make it to your Minimum Retirement Age. Your sick leave balance is counted as extra creditable service.
How to use the 2021 federal employee leave calendar
If you’ve never used this magical calendar before, I’m here to walk you through it!
The first step is to copy over your leave balances from the end of 2020. These go into the highlighted cells in row 8. I’ve pre-populated the amount of earned leave for people with between 3-15 hours of service. If you are a new or seasoned employee, you’ll need to copy in different values into these cells.
Each row in the spreadsheet represents one pay period. The starting and ending dates are in column B. (Note- pay periods start on Sundays and end on Mondays- slightly confusing since most people work Monday-Friday).
You can then enter notes in each cell. For instance if you used 2 hours of sick leave to go to the dentist on Tuesday January 5th, you’d put “S2” in cell E10. These cells are for your own notes and aren’t in any formulas.
To track your leave, you need to also enter a “2” under the sick leave used column (U10). Columns Q-AB contain formulas to calculate your leave.
To find your end of the year leave balances, go to row 35. Importantly, for Annual Leave, I’ve included a formula in cell S36 that shows whether or not you have use or lose leave to burn before the end of the year.
How can I get my copy of the 2021 federal employee leave calendar?
That’s easy! Just subscribe to my mailing list through the button below. I promise not to spam you or sell your information. (I’d have no idea how to do that if I tried). Once subscribed, look for the welcome email. It will have a link to the Google Sheet so you can start tracking your own leave.
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