Leave without pay


Q. Is it true that if you go on leave without pay for up to a year, you can retain that time in service?

A. With rare exception, granting LWOP is a matter of supervisory discretion and may be limited by agency internal policy. In addition, there are negative consequences to taking LWOP above a certain amount in a calendar year. For more information, go to https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/fact-sheets/effect-of-extended-leave-without-pay-lwop-or-other-nonpay-status-on-federal-benefits-and-programs.


About Author

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


  1. I’m currently on LWOP for a year due to active duty spouse assignment overseas. I have a tentative job offer pending firm offer and start date. My lwop will terminate on 20 Feb. AFPC is doing nothing to onboard me before then. My scd is 3/27/2003, which includes my military service. What will I lose or not carry over due to break in service?

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