Flexible work arrangements

The Federal government offers generous vacation, sick leave and holiday leave.


When you first enter the Federal workforce, you will receive 13 days of paid vacation per year. Your number of vacation days increases with your length of service as a civil servant. As time progresses, you can receive up to 5 weeks of paid vacation per year. You can also carry over up to 30 days of vacation time for the following year.

Length of service                Vacation days per year
1 to 3 years 13 days
3 to 15 years 20 days
15 or more years  26 days


Federal employees accumulate 13 days of paid sick leave each year regardless of length of service. There is no limit to the amount of sick leave that can add up over time. You can accumulate it indefinitely. Sick leave can count for any of your own medical needs, in addition if you need to take care of anyone in your family, are having a child or are going through an adoption process. All qualify for sick leave.


All Federal employees receive 10 days of paid holidays per year. See the 2017 Federal holiday schedule.


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Do you hate the idea of working a traditional nine to five job and are repelled by the thought of working in a stuffy office all day long? Perhaps you want to lessen your commute time and don’t care to be stuck in traffic? Whatever the case, another advantage of working in the Federal government is the opportunity to have an alternative work schedule. Alternative work schedules help keep life balanced and, therefore, keep both agencies and employees happy and engaged.


Alternative Work Schedules allow you to balance work and personal responsibilities. There are two main types of Alternative Work Schedules: Flexible Work Schedules and Compressed Work Schedules.


allow you to build a custom schedule as long as you maintain 40 hours per week. Agencies establish core hours of business, typically from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., during which employees are required to work. Their additional work time can then be completed anytime between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.


give you the flexibility to work 40 hours per week in less than 5 days. Typical compressed schedules allow employees to work 9 hour days which means they can have a 3 day weekend every other week. Some agencies may even allow you to work 10 hour days resulting in 4 day work weeks every week.

Part-time work and job sharing:

Part-time work or job sharing allows you to facilitate the lifestyle you need while still progressing in your career.

employees work less than 40 hours per week.
Job sharing:
a form of part-time employment, is a situation where a single position is filled by two or more part time employees. These Federal employees each work up to 32 hours a week.


Telework is a benefit of Federal employment that allows you to work from home or another convenient location. By law, each agency must establish a telework policy, so eligible employees can have the opportunity to utilize this advantage. For more information, see A guide to telework in the Federal government.

Please be advised that not all agencies utilize the alternative work schedule. If this is a benefit that is important to you, make sure to do research ahead of time to verify that this is something the agency you are pursuing participates in.