Q. Can employees be forced to take annual leave prior to retirement, just so the agency won’t have to pay them for their accumulated annual leave? Our comptroller has stated in meetings that she will not pay anyone retiring their accumulated annual leave, due to budget cutbacks. She has advised department managers that they can force their employees to take annual leave and burn it all before retiring, in lieu of retiring and being paid for accumulated annual leave. I would rather be paid the lump sum and not use leave prior to retirement. Is there a regulation I can cite to refuse to take forced annual leave?
A. No, employees cannot be forced to take annual leave. Go to www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/fact-sheets/annual-leave and read the Office of Personnel Management’s Fact Sheet. The first paragraph says it all.