Leave limits and overseas work


Q: I am a Federal Employees Retirement System employee and have just returned from an overseas tour. My annual leave ceiling while overseas was 360 hours (which is my current leave balance). Now that I am back in the U.S., will I be able to maintain the annual ceiling of 360 indefinitely if I only use “use or lose” time each year, or will the ceiling be adjusted at some point? I am planning for retirement and would like to keep as much leave on the books as possible for a lump-sum payout.

A: The ceiling which you had overseas became your new ceiling when you returned to the U.S. However, if you dip below that ceiling, the reduced amount becomes your new ceiling. For example, if your overseas ceiling is 360 and you have only 344 hours to your credit at the end of a leave year, those 344 hours will be your new ceiling.


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.


    • “Statutory Provision — 5 U.S.C. 6304(c)(2): Annual leave in excess of the amount allowable under subsection (a) of this section which was accumulated under subsection (b) of this section by an employee who becomes subject to subsection (a) of this section; remains to the credit of the employee until used. The excess annual leave is reduced at the beginning of the first full biweekly pay period, or corresponding period for an employee who is not paid on the basis of biweekly pay periods, occurring in a year, by the amount of annual leave the employee used during the preceding year in excess of the amount which accrued during that year, until the employee’s accumulated leave does not exceed the amount allowed under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, as appropriate.”

      “Translation: When an employee stationed outside theUnited Statesmoves to a position within theUnited Statesand is subject to a lower leave ceiling, all annual leave accrued while in the overseas position remains to his credit, and his personal leave ceiling is set at the amount of annual leave to his credit.

      During the leave year, his annual leave can fluctuate above or below his personal leave ceiling; however, he can only carry over into the next leave year an amount of annual leave that is equal to or less than his personal leave ceiling.

      “His personal leave ceiling is subject to reduction under 5 U.S.C.

      6304(c). He would be entitled to retain his personal leave ceiling until he carries a smaller end-of-year balance into the new leave year. When that happens, this smaller balance becomes his new personal leave ceiling.

      For example, let’s say when he moves out of the overseas position, he had 300 hours of annual leave to his credit. Then he accrues some annual leave and takes some annual leave. Then, at the end of the leave year, he carries 280 hours of annual leave into the next leave year, his personal leave ceiling would become 280 hours. If at the end of the next leave year his balance is 255 hours, his personal leave ceiling will be reduced to 255 hours. This reduction will continue until his leave balance is 240 hours or less.”

Leave A Reply