Annual leave


Q. I am 55 years old and am looking to retire Dec. 31. I am in under CSRS and have 35 years as a federal firefighter. As of the end of 2012, I had accrued 600 hours of annual leave. I plan on saving my annual leave for this year and want to make sure that I will get paid in a lump sum for my accrued hours when I retire. Is this possible?

A. As a rule, federal employees working in the U.S. may carry over no more than 30 days (240 hours) from one leave year to the next. To receive a lump-sum payment for more than that amount, the employee must retire no later than the end of a leave year. I’m not aware of any exception for special category employees, such as firefighters and law enforcement officers.


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  1. As a GS0081 firefighter on a 72 hr work week, You are allowed to accur 432 hours per year. If you have 600 hrs now, you would need to retire by the last day of the 26th pay period for the year you retire. You can find this date on your LES or at OPM. If you go past that date your leave will be reduced to 432 hrs. If you are over seas you can accur more up to 45 days of leave, 648 hrs, but the saem use or lose applies.

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