Terminal leave


Q. I have a friend who is 65 years old and has 15 years of service. He wants to retire and has requested to take his 300 hours of annual leave in the way of terminal leave. The organization is saying he must return on the last day of terminal leave to check out. We currently work in Europe and he would like to travel back to the U.S. and start his retirement without the requirement of returning. Is there a regulation I can read to get clarification on this?

A. First, there is no such thing as terminal leave in the federal civilian service. The granting of leave in any amount is in the hands of an employee’s supervisor. As for being at work on the last day of employment, according to OPM, there is no law or regulation requiring that an employee must be present at work on the day he retires. Therefore, the regular rules apply. If he doesn’t want to be at work on that day, he can, for example, ask his supervisor to approve annual leave or Leave Without Pay.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

1 Comment

  1. There is a Comptroller General decision dating from the 1970s which prohibits this kind of terminal leave. Most agencies have directives which prohibit this practice. The reason is that the employee is earning sick and annual leave while on leave. The CG decision states that the employee should retire and then be paid for the annual leave in a lump sum.

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