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FAQ - Policy and Compliance Administration



Q. What is the Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act?

A. The Comprehensive Merit Personnel Act (or “CMPA”, as it is commonly referred) was enacted March 3, 1979. Among other things, this law required the establishment of the Department of Human Resources (formerly the Office of Personnel) and the creation of the District government’s own personnel system.
The CMPA is the authority that allows DCHR to update and adopt the DC personnel regulations found in the Electronic-District Personnel Manual (E-DPM) and the D.C. Municipal Regulations. These regulations are applicable to subordinate agencies in the District government.

Q. What are the D.C. Municipal Regulations?

A. The D.C. Municipal Regulations (or “DCMR”, as it is commonly referred) is the official compilation of the rules and regulations issued by District government agencies and the Council of the District of Columbia. DCHR’s personnel rules are found in Title 6-B of the DCMR.

The following link will direct you to the D.C. Municipal Regulations





Q. How much annual and sick leave does an employee accrue per pay period?

A. Annual leave accrual is based on years of service. The table below displays annual and sick leave accrual for full-time and part-time employees:

Q. Can a temporary employee accrue annual leave?

A. Generally, an employee in a temporary appointment for less than 90 days is not entitled to earn annual leave. However, if that appointment is extended for an additional 90 days or longer without a break in service, or if there are successive temporary appointments without a break in service that total 90 or more days, the employee will receive retroactive credit for leave earned from the date of appointment and earn leave thereafter.

Q. What group of employees receives universal leave?

A. Appointees to the Executive Service are credited with universal leave.

Q. How much universal leave can an appointee to the Executive Service be credited with on the first pay period of the leave year or after the first pay period of the leave year?

A. An Executive Service appointee’s universal leave account is credited with 26 days (208 hours) of universal leave at the start of the leave year or on a pro-rata basis for appointments after the first pay period of the leave year.

Q. How many hours of universal leave can an Executive Service appointee carry over to the next calendar year?

A. An Executive Service appointee can only carry a maximum of 40 unused hours of universal leave to the next calendar year. Any leave beyond the 40 hours is forfeited at the end of the leave year.

Q. Does the District government grant funeral leave if an employee experiences a death of a family member?

A. Provisions in the D.C. personnel regulations allow an eligible employee to receive up to three (3) days of paid funeral leave to make arrangements for or attend the funeral or memorial service for the passing of an immediate relative, as the term is defined in Chapter 12 of the District personnel regulations.
     Union employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement should contact their union representative for additional information on applicable funeral leave provisions.

Q. If an employee separates (retires, resigns, termination) from the District government, will they receive a payment for any unused leave (annual, compensatory time, sick leave, etc.)?

A. Separating employees will receive a lump-sum payment for any unused annual leave (including restored annual leave), and compensatory time to their credit at the time of their separation. No payment is given for unused sick leave.

Q. When should an employee expect to receive their terminal (annual) leave pay out?

A. Employees typically receive their annual leave pay-out two to three pay-periods (four to six weeks) after separation. Employees should contact the Office of Pay and Retirement Services at (202) 741-8600 for additional information.

Q. If an employee separates and subsequently returns to the District government, can sick leave be recredited?

A. An employee who separates from District government service, other than by retirement, can have their sick leave account recredited if the break in service did not exceed three or more years.

Q. Are all employees entitled to earn annual leave?

A. No, intermittent employees who do not have a scheduled tour of duty (commonly referred to as When Actually Employed, or WAE); Executive Service employees; and temporary employees who have appointments of less than ninety (90) days are not entitled to earn annual leave.

Q. How many hours of annual leave can an employee carry over to the next leave year?

A. Employees can carry over a maximum 240 hours of annual leave.

Q. When will excess annual leave (over 240) be forfeited (lost)?

A. Any unused annual leave over the 240 hours will be forfeited on the first day of the first full pay period in a leave year.

Q. What is administrative leave?

A. Administrative leave is an excused absence from duty without loss of pay and without charge to annual leave, sick leave, or compensatory time.

Q. Who has the authority to grant administrative leave to an employee?

A. An agency head can grant up to 10 consecutive workdays of administrative leave, and administrative leave in excess of 10 consecutive workdays may only be granted with the approval of the personnel authority.

Q. Can an employee be granted administrative leave for the purpose of meeting with an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counselor?

A. Yes. An employee can be granted administrative leave to consult with an EEO Counselor. However, the employee shall be required to ask his or her immediate supervisor to indicate a convenient time when he or she can be excused without unreasonable disruption to the work schedule, and shall be required to inform the supervisor of the name of the official the employee will be consulting with, or office he or she will be visiting. An employee is entitled to speak to an EEO counselor in any District government agency.



Q. What is a corrective action?

A. A corrective action is an official reprimand, involuntary reassignment or a suspension of less than ten (10) workdays.

Q. What is a reprimand?

A. A reprimand is a written, official censure of an employee that is placed in the employee’s Official Personnel Folder.

Q. What is a suspension?

A. A suspension is the temporary placement of an employee in a non-duty, non-pay status.

Q. What is an adverse action?

A. An adverse action is a suspension of 10 workdays or more, a reduction in grade, or removal.    

Q. What is the progressive discipline process?

A. The progressive discipline process refers to the steps to correct either misconduct or performance deficits. Typically, the process includes verbal counseling, reprimand, corrective action, and adverse action. For additional information, refer to Chapter 16 of the District personnel regulations.     

Q. What is enforced leave?

A. Enforced leave is the involuntary placement of an employee in a leave status.

Q. What is a grievance?

A. A grievance is an official complaint raised by an applicant or employee in which the applicant or employee believes an employment practice or agency action violated established District personnel laws or regulations, and the applicant or employee has suffered or will suffer harm as a result of the violation, which is neither trivial nor speculative.

Q. What is the time period to file a grievance?

A. An employee wishing to file a grievance resulting from a corrective action and an enforced leave action of fewer than ten (10) days must file the grievance with the appropriate grievance official within 10 days of the issue date of the final action. All other grievances must be filed with the appropriate grievance official no more than 45 business days from the date of the alleged violation or the final action, whichever is later. For additional information, applicants or employees may review the District's Grievance Processing and/or initiate a conversation with their agency's Resources Office.

Q. What is Mayor’s Order 2017-313?

A. Mayor’s Order 2017-313 is the District’s zero tolerance policy against workplace sexual harassment. Among other things, it provides detailed definitions and examples of sexual harassment and provides procedures for reporting sexual harassment and protecting victims. All offices and agencies under the Mayor’s authority, and commissions and boards that report to the Mayor, are required to comply with the Order.

Q. How can an employee file a Sexual Harassment Complaint?

A. Under Mayor’s Order 2017-313, employees can report sexual harassment to their agency Sexual Harassment Officer, the alleged victim’s manager or the manager of the alleged harasser, or their agency General Counsel. A list of agency Sexual Harassment Officers can be found at: Sexual Harassment Officers by Agency. For additional information on the District of Columbia’s Sexual Harassment Policy please select Sexual-Harassment-Policy.

    An employee can also contact an EEO Counselor or the Office of Human Rights (OHR) to file a sexual harassment complaint. For more information on filing an EEO complaint, go to the OHR website at



Q. What is a Safety-Sensitive position?

A. Safety-Sensitive positions are positions with duties or responsibilities that if performed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, could lead to a lapse of attention that could cause actual, immediate, and permanent physical injury or loss of life to self or others.

Q. What is a Security-Sensitive position?

A. Security-Sensitive positions are positions of special trust that may reasonably be expected to affect the access to or control of activities, systems, or resources that are subject to misappropriation, malicious mischief, damage, or loss or impairment of control of communication.

Q. What is a Protection-Sensitive position?

A. Protection-Sensitive positions are positions with duties or responsibilities that involve caring for patients or other vulnerable persons such as children or the elderly.

Q. What is general suitability?

A. General suitability involves the verification of a candidate’s employment history, educational background, licenses, certifications, and/or training, required for the position; and reference checks. General suitability screening occurs after a contingent offer has been made and accepted by a candidate.

Q. What is enhanced suitability?

A. Enhanced suitability refers to the screening of an employee and/or candidate who holds or will hold a safety, protection, or security sensitive position within the District of Columbia government. As dictated by the applicable position, the screening may include initial and periodic criminal background checks, a traffic record check, a consumer credit check, a pre-employment drug and alcohol test, return to duty and follow up drug and alcohol testing, and periodic random drug and alcohol testing.