Forced annual leave


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 and read the Office of Personnel Management’s Fact Sheet. The first paragraph says it all.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Is there a maximum dollar amount (cap) a GS-13 employee can get paid if he retires on the last day of the leave year after 40 years of service and assuming he has 240 hrs carried over from prior years; not taken any annual leave for the current year hence has 208 hrs balance for current leave year.

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