Q: After working 26 years for the U.S. Postal Service, I transferred to the Defense Department. Postal service employees have a higher annual leave carryover limit than other federal sectors. I have 466 hours of annual leave and the max carry-over for DoD is 240. Will I lose all annual leave hours in excess of 240 if not used by December 31st?
A: According to OPM, “The Postal Service Reorganization Act provides that an employee transferring between the USPS and other agencies may not lose benefits if the employee transfers without a break in service. The employee is entitled to carry over the higher leave ceiling that he or she had at the USPS. All 466 hours of annual leave will transfer to DoD and only the hours in excess of his or her USPS ceiling will be subject to use or lose.
“An employee transferring from USPS is entitled to the maximum carryover ceiling (personal leave ceiling) provided by USPS upon transfer to another agency. The employee is entitled to the higher carryover ceiling unless the employee’s annual leave balance is reduced at the end of the leave year. Any reduction in the annual leave balance at the end of the leave year will result in a lower personal leave ceiling, and the employee’s personal leave ceiling will be subject to change until it is reduced to the 240-hour ceiling provided in title 5 of the United States Code.”
In your example, the employee’s USPS leave ceiling will serve as the employee’s personal leave ceiling. So if the 466 hours of annual leave is within the employee’s USPS leave ceiling, that will be the employee’s personal leave ceiling as an employee of DoD. The employee’s personal leave ceiling will continue to reduce anytime the employee’s annual leave account has less than that amount at the end of the leave year. As long as the employee’s annual leave balance is under his USPS ceiling at the end of this leave year (Dec. 31 for this leave year), that will be his or her new personal leave ceiling.