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Gov calls for ASG workers to use their annual leave — relax, enjoy family

Gov. Lemanu P.S. Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga has called on cabinet members to encourage Executive Branch employees to use their annual leave and spend time with loved ones, especially now as the summer months approach.

The governor’s call was outlined in a May 22, memorandum, titled “Annual Leave” — which Samoa News points out has been a long standing issue of debate in the Fono over the years, with lawmakers pointing out that employees are required to take their annual leave in accordance with local law.

There have also been concerns by lawmakers of employees’ excess annual leave, with some workers ending up claiming the full amount at a later time. 

“With the summer months upon us and holidays quickly approaching, Directors and ASG employees should plan out the use of their excess annual leave,” the governor wrote.

Lemanu explained that personnel managers in each department and office must have tracking tools in place to ensure compliance with annual leave requirements.

And the governor reminded cabinet directors and employees that under local law — A.S.C.A. § 7.1203 — only 60 days of unused annual leave can be rolled over to the following year.

Provisions of the law state in part that annual leave not used by an employee shall accumulate for use in succeeding years until it totals an amount not to exceed 60 days at the beginning of the first complete biweekly pay period, or corresponding period in the case of an employee who is not paid on the basis of biweekly pay periods, occurring in any year.

Furthermore, the annual leave provided for in this section, including such leave as accrues to any employee during the year, may be granted at any time during such year as the heads of the various departments and agencies may prescribe.

Another provision of the law makes clear that, the “payment of money in lieu of leave shall not be allowed except on termination of employment.”

“Directors should encourage employees to use their annual leave to spend quality time with loved ones and maintain good health and wellness,” the governor wrote in his memo and thanked directors for their attention to this matter.

Samoa News checked with a couple of Executive Branch employees following the latest directive by the governor. And the employees acknowledged that most of them usually take the annual leave, traveling off island especially now, with no more COVID-19 restrictions, as were in effect in the last three-years.