Excel as a High-Performing Agency

Emergency leave transfer program for the California wildfires

A picture of Lenise Lago in Forest Service uniform.
Associate Chief Lenise Lago

On Tuesday, November 20, Chief Christiansen sent out a Thanksgiving message to all employees via the Leadership Corner. In it, she reflected on the value of service and reminded us of our many Forest Service colleagues supporting the fire fighting and recovery efforts in California and elsewhere. This service to the community is part of what all of us share as we go about our jobs all over the country. Being in service to one another is another important aspect of sharing the value of service. Many of our fellow employees lost their own homes and all their personal belongings in the Camp Fire near Paradise California. This happened even as they worked to assist others, either as first responders or in other roles dealing with the firefighting efforts. One way all of us can help our fellow employees recover from their devastating losses is by donating annual leave through the leave donor program. In case you missed it, here are details on the leave donor program that was sent in an all employee email through Human Resources Management. And if you lose track of emails like I do, you can always find information on the leave transfer program on the HRM website under the “Employee Resources” tab.     

Thank you for your dedication to our mission and each other. 

Lenise Lago


What You Need to Know

The Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, has established the emergency leave transfer program to assist employees affected by the wildfires in California. The ELTP allows employees to apply for the ELTP or to donate annual leave to Forest Service employees or employees in other agencies who are adversely affected by the wildfires in California.   

How to Donate Leave

Employees who would like to donate unused annual leave:

  • Complete OPM Form 1638 and contact the HRM Contact Center to submit the form.
  • May donate between 1–104 hours of annual leave. (An employee may donate to the ELTP even if they reached the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program donation limitations.)
  • May not donate to a specific ELTP recipient. Donations are placed into a fund and dispersed to recipients.
  • May not donate sick leave, comp hours, or credit hours.

How to Become an ELTP Recipient

An employee who is adversely affected, or has a family member that is adversely affected by the wildfires in California, may apply to become an ELTP recipient. An employee or their family member is considered to be adversely affected if the emergency has caused them severe hardship to such a degree that their absence from work is required.

  • To apply: Complete OPM Form 1637 and contact the HRM Contact Center to submit the forms.

Employees will be notified within 10 days if the application has been approved or denied by HRM.