Payment for unused leave


Q: I currently have an employee who insists on retiring at the end of the current year. This individual has agreed to work as a part-time rehired annuitant for a period not to exceed one year. The issue is this: She has 240 hours of carry-over leave, 168 hours of unused leave for this year and 120 hours of restored leave. Can the individual get paid for the leave and return to work immediately?

A: No. She would lose any leave that exceeded 240 hours, and that 240 hours would be carried over to her temporary position. Because unused leave is projected forward when calculating a lump-sum payment, even if her rehiring were to be delayed, she would have to repay the difference. For example, if she received a lump-sum payment for 60 days of annual leave and returned to work after 40 days, she would have to return 20 days’ worth of that money.


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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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