Unused annual leave and LWOP


Q: I’m a Federal Employees Retirement System employee who is about to take three-plus years’ leave without pay from my job to serve with an overseas international organization. What are the rules regarding unused annual leave?  I plan to return to this job upon completion of the overseas posting.  Can I cash in my days now? Will they be returned if I don’t use them, or may I use them after commencing my overseas post, in effect starting the other job while on “LWOP-leave”?

A: You cannot cash in your unused annual leave when you go on LWOP, nor may you use it while on LWOP. The full amount will be recredited to you when you return from your overseas tour.


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 have worked for the VA for 26 years and I am dealing with harassment. I was on FMLA and when I returned I noticed that on my check they expired 450 hours of LWOP (12/2019) and I am curious whether this is legal. This was actually before I left on leave but noticed it later because they wrote me up for not having enough LWOP when in fact I had 450 but they left me with 50 after they took 400 away. HR is not answering my questions so can you

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