Returning to federal work on a part-time basis


Q: I left federal civil service in 1982 after 17 1/2 years of service, and I am considering returning on a part-time (50 percent) basis. I had more than seven months of unused sick leave when I left; will I get the unused sick leave reinstated? What amount of sick leave will I earn? At what rate will I earn annual leave? Also, I was under the Civil Service Retirement System when I left. If I return to civil service, will I go back under CSRS, would I go under the Federal Employees Retirement System, or would I have a choice?

A: If you return to work for the federal government, your unused sick leave will be reinstated. As a part-time employee, you would earn one hour of sick leave for every 20 hours you were in a pay status. Based on your creditable service record, you’d earn one hour of annual leave for every 10 hours you were in a pay status. If you return to work for the federal government, you will have a choice: You can be covered by CSRS Offset (CSRS and Social Security) or FERS. You didn’t mention whether you had taken a refund of your retirement contributions when you left. If you did, you’ll still get credit for that time in determining your eligibility to retire; however, if you didn’t redeposit that money plus accrued interest, the CSRS component of your annuity would be reduced actuarially by the amount you owe and your age on the day you retire.


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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

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