Annual leave and retirement


Q. I plan to have 240 hours of unused annual leave at the end of the year. I will have 37 years of service. Which CSRS retirement scenario is better: 1. Retire at the end of the year and get a lump sum for the 240 hours of unused annual leave. 2. Take leave for the first 240 hours (six weeks) of 2013 and then retire? Scenario 2 seems better, because I am also getting an extra six weeks of service time, which is 0.23% increase in annuity. Everybody I know does Scenario 1. What am I missing?

A. How many times do I have to say it? There is no such thing as terminal leave in the federal civil service. The choice between working or taking annual leave isn’t yours to make. The government’s interest aren’t served by you unproductively occupying a position for a long time, earning annual and sick leave while you do it, and increasing the amount of your annuity. Your presence, at least on paper, would also prevent your supervisor from filling that position. In short, everybody selects Scenario 1 because Scenario 2 isn’t an option.


About Author

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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