Q. My mother and I are both Postal Service FERS employees. My mother is planning to retire in two years at age 67 with 15+ years of service. She has had some injuries and illness over the past few years, including an on-the-job injury that her supervisor intentionally mishandled to keep her from receiving workers’ compensation, which have depleted her sick leave and any annual leave reserve. She has very little reserve to handle any more such occurrences without using leave without pay. She is under the impression that she cannot retire with FERS or benefits if she uses any LWOP within two years of the retirement date. Is that true?
A. There is no such rule. Even if the Postal Service had placed some restrictions on the use of LWOP, it would have no effect on her eligibility to retire and receive any benefits she has earned. Still, she needs to understand that any time she has exhausted her sick or annual leave and wants to take LWOP, she’ll need to get supervisory approval.