Temporary position


Q. I was a federal employee for over 10 years. Someone once told me if I take a temporary position with the government, I will lose my years toward retirement as if I never worked for the government. Can I accept a temporary position without jeopardizing my years? If I accept a temporary position, will I still be considered a reinstatement? Also, if I accepted a temporary position, can I still apply for and get a permanent position?

A. Whoever told you that taking a temporary position would cancel your prior years of federal service was mistaken. You can take a temporary job without jeopardizing that service. Whether it would be considered a reinstatement depends in part on the nature of the appointment and is something you’d have to check with your potential employer. Nothing prevents your applying for a permanent position if you are holding a temporary one.


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’ am currently a federal employee for 17 years. If I take a temporary position can I still retire at 20 years while as a temporary employee.

    • Yes, if you covered by the federal retirement system, have retirement deductions taken from your pay, and have the right combination of age and service.

  2. If I left a federal position at a grade 12 step 7 and 2 years later apply fir as GS 12 postion and was offered the job; do I have to start again at GS 12 step 1?

    • You would start at the grade and step that the agency offered you and you accepted. Be ready to negotiate.

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