GS vs. NAF


Q. I have been a GS (FERS) employee for 22 years, age 44. I currently work for the Department of Homeland Security. I want to work overseas again (I worked for the Defense department in Germany about 10 years ago) and found a job that seems like a perfect fit. The problem is that it’s a nonappropriated fund job.

When transferring from a non-DoD GS job to a NAF job: Will I still earn five weeks of annual leave per year? Will my sick leave balance transfer over? Would I still make contributions to FERS and TSP?

When transferring back from a NAF job to either a DoD job or another agency: Will my leave balances transfer back?  Will my rate of leave accrual still be five weeks of annual leave per year? Will I basically be able to “pick up where I left off” as far as time in service goes, under FERS? In other words, if I’ve already worked 22 years as a GS (starting at age 22), go work under NAF for three years, and then go back to a GS job for 15 years, I assume I would retire with 37 years of service instead of 40, at age 62? Is there anything else to be aware of?

A. We are only able to answer questions about federal civilian employment under Title 5. We don’t know what the consequences would be if you were to move to a NAF position. You’ll have to ask your prospective employer.


About Author

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


  1. I just took a GS job from NAF & was told I could not negotiate my salary. My old job was a NAF 4 & new is GS 13. I was told I had to start at Step One. Is this true?

    • It won’t affect your annuity but it might reduce or eliminate your special retirement supplement, if you are receiving one.

      • where is that policy? i am a retired FERS and might be offered a OCONUS NAF position. I dont want my FERS annuity stopped or affected in any way if I take this NAF position.

        • We don’t know what the consequences would be if you were to move to a NAF position. You’ll have to ask your prospective employer.

  2. I was a NAFI employee for 4 years several years ago & I have been a GS employee for 12 years. I am considering early retirement and wanted to know how i would get those NAFI employment years (4 years) converted/added to my GS employment for retirement

  3. I am GS retiree under the FERS system, and was recently offered a NAF position; however, prior to my start work date the NAF HR rep asked about my retirement and told her I was under the FERS system. She then advised that an amount equal to my NAF ‘salary’ would be deducted monthly from my monthly retirement payment. Which meant I would basically be working for free…!!! (Whats that called… slavery?) I immediately declined the NAF “job offer”.

    • I have no idea what the NAF rules are for reemployed annuitants.; however, what you were told sounds exactly like what would happen if you were to be reemployed by the federal government.

    • I don’t think this is correct. The NAFI has it’s own retirement system which is separate from Civil Service. Where you able to check on this further? I am surprised this publication cannot asnswer the question. There are many people who retire from both an NAF position and a civil service position.

    • We don’t know what the consequences would be if you were to move to a NAF position. You’ll have to ask your prospective employer.

  4. Charles Winans on

    I am a current GS employee and was offered a NAF position. Will future NAF years continue to be added to my current GS years for retirement?

    • We aren’t qualified to answer questions about moves to NAF employment. You’ll have to check with your prospective employer’s personnel office.

  5. I recently switched from NAF to GS. On day 53 of my employment with GS, I was informed by my HR rep that I wasn’t enrolled in FERS/TSP automatically upon hire, and that if I wanted to make the switch, I had to do so within 30 days of my start date. Is this accurate? I was not made aware of this requirement until after the 30 days allotted to make the change. This seems… peculiar.

    • I haven’t been able to find anything that would prove or disprove the assertion that you would have to re-enroll in these programs when you switched from NAF to GS. If there’ anyone among our readers who can answer John’s question, please do so. If it turns out that there is a 30-day limit, you should go to your personnel office and ask them to intercede with OPM on your behalf, pointing out that you weren’t notified of the need to re-enroll in those programs when you transferred between the two systems.

  6. I am a Postal Service employee of 18 years. Our pay scale is on the EAS scale. I was offered an NF 4 position. would my retirement, earned annual and sick leave transfer over to the NF 4 position?

    • As a rule, annual and sick leave balances transfer when an employee is moving from one system to another without a break in service of more than three days. However, to be sure, you should confirm that with the NAF personnel office before making the change.

  7. Mitchell Moery on

    I am a GS-11 and I am thinking about accepting a position as a NF-4. I know the pay is different and I am wondering if they will try and match my NF Pay at the Max level since I am making much more as a GS Employee. I have 8 years of experience in the job they are asking me to fill, but it is also with a different branch of service. Can anyone advise of this?

    • Unfortunately, I can’t. You’ll have to verify the terms of your employment and pay rate with NF before you accept the job.

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