By Reg Jones
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?
Q. Processing an individual for immediate retirement with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2013, but realized she was ineligible because she’s not 62 with five years of credible service. So we need to do leave without pay on her to get her past her 62nd birthday. She stopped working Dec. 31. What date do we make the leave without pay date effective? What should the end date be so that she can retire April 1, 2013?
Q. Are there governmentwide rules/regulations that provide clarity regarding the return rights civilian (nonmilitary) federal employees have when returning to their agencies after extended, approved leave without pay, or are agencies responsible for developing and administering their own policies in this area?
Tags: Leave without pay
Q. A Postal Service employee had to use all his sick and annual leave because of illness. He used leave without pay. When he retired, he was not entitled to benefits. He received only his contributions. Why did he get back only his funds and not the complete package because of LWOP? Read the rest of this entry »
February 22nd, 2012 | Leave without pay
Q: I will be on long-term 12 to 18 months of LWOP. Can you tell me the impact on my retirement (FERS), health benefits, life insurance and any taxes due. How do I pay these premiums to continue my benefits in the future, especially when I retire.
A: The answers to all your questions except taxes due will be found at www.opm.gov/oca/leave/HTML/LWOP_eff.asp. For the tax question, you’ll have to go to the Internal Revenue Service.
February 7th, 2012 | Leave without pay
Q: I have been employed in law enforcement for the past 13 years. Early in my career, I was ill and had leave without pay for 2 months. If I left the LEO position in seven years for a non-LEO federal position, will I have to take into account the 2 months of LWOP in ensuring I have 20 years in an LEO position? Also, am I correct that I can work 20 years in a LEO position then 4 years in a non-LEO position and retire at 50 with a law enforcement retirement?
A: As a rule, periods of leave without pay that don’t exceed six months are treated as if you were still on the job for retirement purposes. However, you’ll need to check with your personnel office to see if there are any variations to that rule affecting LEOs of which I’m unaware. As for your second question, yes, you can take a noncovered position after having served in a covered position for 20 years and retire at age 50.
Q. Does my retirement date get postponed if I use leave without pay?
A. Only if you exceed six months of LWOP in a calendar year.
Q: I am a 48-year-old employee with 18 years of government service in the U.S. Postal Service and the Veterans Affairs Department. I am on a two-week leave of absence due to stress from my supervisor and would like to resign without filing action so that I may find other government employment. What is the longest unpaid absence I can take so that I may try another type of employment while on unpaid leave status?
A: If you didn’t report to work, you’d be considered to be absent without leave and your agency could begin the process of separating you by adverse action. On the other hand, if you requested leave without pay (LWOP), you’d be able to do that only for as many days as had been approved by your supervisor. Once again, if you failed to report for work at the end of that time period, your supervisor could begin adverse action proceedings to separate you.
January 14th, 2011 | Leave without pay
Q: I am a FERS rural carrier for the U.s. Postal Service. I have 13 years in as a full-time carrier. Every year I use all of my annual leave, however, I have more than 100 sick days unused. I am a healthly person in general, but in 2010, I did have to use three weeks of sick leave (under FMLA) to care care for my father. I would like to take more time off. If I have coverage of my route and the time I take off does not conflict with other carriers and their requested time off, can I be refused leave-without-pay? My boss has told me he has the final decision of whether to approve a request. His “scores” should not reflect an employee taking too much LWOP. I am in a position where I need to take time off for my mental sanity and find my time away is needed to keep my motivation at work. I work hard for the post office and am proud to represent. I think mental health is an important issue, and is often overlooked. Many people use their “sick leave” for reasons less than what they are allocated for. My use of maybe two weeks worth of days, not all at once, and after my AL has been used, is what I am questioning. I realize that during my LWOP time off I would not earn salary or benefits during this time, but to me the time off is well worth it. I read in section 514, that up to two years of LWOP could be taken, with conditions of course.
A: The granting of leave-without-pay is left to a supervisor’s discretion and may be limited by agency internal policy.
Q: I am a career federal employee. I still have a couple of years before I can retire. I have a family emergency on the other side of the U.S. that I must attend to for several months. I have tried for months to find another federal job in that city, but have had no luck. I do have a hardship transfer approval. I have been told by my supervisors that I could use leave without pay. My question is this: Can I hold a nonfederal job while I am taking LWOP? I will need income when I move, and if I cannot find a federal job, I have to work somewhere.
A: There is nothing that would bar you from taking a nonfederal job while you are on leave without pay. However, what you do shouldn’t interfere with the purpose for which the LWOP is granted.
Q: I’m a Federal Employees Retirement System employee who is about to take three-plus years’ leave without pay from my job to serve with an overseas international organization. What are the rules regarding unused annual leave? I plan to return to this job upon completion of the overseas posting. Can I cash in my days now? Will they be returned if I don’t use them, or may I use them after commencing my overseas post, in effect starting the other job while on “LWOP-leave”?
A: You cannot cash in your unused annual leave when you go on LWOP, nor may you use it while on LWOP. The full amount will be recredited to you when you return from your overseas tour.
Q: I’m a Federal Employees Retirement Service employee, 54 years old with 25 years of service. I have a 91-year-old father with Alzheimer’s disease who requires full-time care. Is there any program where I could take an early retirement to care for him? Also, I have an upcoming background investigation due. If I didn’t provide this, could I be fired, but still be eligible for immediate retirement?
A: Along with receiving approval for the use of annual or sick leave, you could request up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Whether you would be eligible for discontinued service retirement if you were fired would depend on the nature of the action used to separate you. You’d have to discuss this with your agency before making a decision.