By Reg Jones
Q. I have been on sick leave most of the year. I have 205 hours of use-or-lose annual leave. Is my agency required to carry this over since I was unable to use the annual?
Q. My office has requested the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority/Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay. With the government shutdown, there has been a delay in the approval process. My position is one within the organization that has been approved for VSIP once the authority is received. I am a FERS employee, over 50, with 26 years of creditable service. I plan to exercise the early-out authority once received, after Jan. 1, 2014, so that I will receive 100 percent sick leave credit toward my annuity.
In the meantime, I applied for and have been offered a position in the private sector. They would like to establish a start date for early January. If the VERA/VSIP takes longer than my agency expects and delays the date I project for retirement, do regulations allow for me to request leave without pay until my retirement paperwork can be processed?
Q. I have an occupational illness. It was not originally accepted, and my employer had me on leave without pay due to an inability for find work within my restrictions. The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has since accepted my claim, and my employer has found work for me. Now that my claim has been accepted and back compensation has been approved for that time, was I supposed to earn leave during the 10 months I was off and on OWCP due to employer inability to find work within my restrictions?
Q. Is it legal for an employee to be forced to take leave without pay before using his or her annual or sick leave for being late for work? Supervisors are not allowing the use of sick or annual hours for being late.
Q. I am 17-year 1811 and would like to take a personal leave of absence for up to six months. I have also bought back my 11 years of military service. Can I request leave without pay for up to 12 weeks without using my balance of annual and/or sick leave? Is there language where the Office of Personnel Management or my agency, Customs and Border Protection, talks about a leave of absence in lieu of LWOP? I have looked and cannot find how to start the process.
Q. I was reviewing my creditable service for retirement and was wondering about the calculation. During the first two years of my federal career (started Jan. 10, 1993), I was in a position that was not covered by FERS but covered by FICA. While in that position, I was in a leave-without-pay status for four months. My agency has given me service credit toward retirement for the time I was in LWOP status because it was less than six months. Does this sound correct?
Q. I have been a federal employee since 1993 with the Veterans Affairs Department. Since 9/11, I have had five years of being called on orders to support operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and contingency operations. While I was on leave without pay during these five years, do I still get retirement credit? Meaning it is like I never left federal service. (My retirement year would be 2023 with 30 years.) Also, can I buy these five years of war time credit toward my retirement, so in 2023 I will have a total of 35 years of service credit?
Q. I received a letter from shared services concerning leave without pay taken in 1982 and 1985 for maternity leave. I took over six months’ worth. How can they just now contact me after 31 years? I was never informed by any management that it would affect my retirement comp date, nor did shared services ever contact me to let me know it could have been paid back after all these years. When I called them, they said they do audits of files randomly and mine was picked. It now affects my retirement by one year and four months, which is fine. But how could they have let this go for 31 years and just now contact me? I planned to retire in January 2014 and am now forced to stay until 2015 and, if I chose, I could pay it back at $60,000. How could they have waited so long to find this out let alone contact me?
Q. I have recently been granted disability retirement under PL-253 special provisions due to being medically retired out of the National Guard. The process involved me being put into a leave without pay status for the past three years. Am I entitled to recoup the LWOP wages due to the approval of my retirement?
Q. It’s permanent change of station time for me again as a military spouse. My current command is saying they will only grant 90 days of leave without pay and, if I don’t find employment within 90 days, they will process my resignation 50.
This is the first time a command has said they would only grant 90 days of LWOP. In the past, it has been two six-month LWOP 50s, which I never used. And 150-day increments which I also did not use up.
I’m concerned about not being able to find employment within 90 days due to the hard/soft hiring freeze and that we are PCSing to Newport, R.I., which doesn’t have a large DoD presence. Can you please provide the guidance on what length of LWOP I can or can’t be granted?
Q. I just had a baby and plan on being a stay-at-home mom. However, I want to complete five years of service so I am vested in the pension plan, so I will be returning for three weeks after maternity leave to be eligible when I reach retirement age. I will have used one week of leave without pay. Does this count toward calculating my five years of service?
Q. Is there any regulation prohibiting the use or approval of intermittent leave without pay of greater than 16 hours per pay period on a continuing basis for a full-time federal employee in lieu of converting to part time?
Q. Do you have to be at work the day you retire or can you charge annual leave or sick leave?
Q. How does having slightly more than 600 hours of leave without pay for medical problems affect the calculation for qualified years for retirement? Is that time subtracted? Can any of it be paid back?
Q. For personal reasons, I would like to leave the government prior to the end of the year but want my retirement date effective Jan. 11, 2014, to get full credit for my sick leave. Would it make sense to take leave without pay to bridge the time?
Q. I am a FERS employee with slightly more than 32 years of service and eligible to retire. I would like to hold off retiring until January, when I will receive full credit for my sick leave in computing my years of service. However, I may have the opportunity soon to move into a nonfederal position to start my second career this spring. Can I ask to go on leave without pay until January and delay my effective retirement date for about six to seven months? And, while on LWOP, can I work at this new job? If it makes a difference, I am a member of the SES.
Q. If someone uses the Family and Medical Leave Act beyond the 80 hours leave-without-pay duration, will it delay their within-grade increase date?
Q. I have been an 1811 status (federal agent) federal employee for 16 years. I have been on leave without pay and receiving workers’ compensation for the past year due to an on-the-job injury.
I have received little if any guidance from my agency’s HR, as the representatives admit they have little or no experience with workers’ comp.
What should I do to maintain the best possible benefits for me and my family if this becomes a long-term/permanent situation and I am not able to return to work? And if I can return to work, how would the time on workers’ comp affect my retirement benefits etc.?
What survivor benefits will my spouse have if I die while on workers’ comp?
Q. I am an FERS GS with four years until I get my 20 under 6(c) law enforcement officer and a year and half after that until mandatory retirement. I have been offered a 6(c) job overseas — how is the high-3 calculated? Is it on the base level GS schedule (plus LEAP) I actually earn, or is it based on a modified amount of what I would have earned in DC — which is how the overseas postings on Foreign Service retirement seems to work? I am pretty sure all the COLA, post allowances and danger pays don’t calculate in either total.
If it is the lower amount basic GS schedule, my high-3 would instead be these last three years — but I was mobilized to military duty for the first of those. How is that year I was on LWOP-US calculated into the total?
Q. I am a law enforcement officer who has been out on workers’ compensation since June 2011. My scheduled retirement date is in July with 20 years of service at age 55. I’m being paid partial disability at this time. Since I haven’t been on the job since 2011, did annual and sick leave still accrue? What happens with workers’ comp after retirement?