Military service and leave, retirement


Q. I am an activated reservist who has been on military leave without pay from my civilian job as a federal firefighter for four years. I have two questions, one regarding my retirement and the second concerning leave earned on MLWOP.

I was hired at age 36 (in 2006) and under normal conditions should be able to retire after 20 years of service at 56 and immediately draw my full retirement (without penalty). Will my four years of activated reserve time be considered part of those 20 years? That is, will I still be able to retire at 20 years of service (at age 56) and immediately draw my pension, or will I have to work an additional four years to make up for that activated reserve time and retire at 60 to immediately draw retirement pay? One caveat: I plan on buying back the four years of activated reserve time, and I am being told that by doing that, I will be able recoup the lost fire service time and retire at 56.

Also, my civilian leave and earnings statement shows that I have accumulated no military leave (to be used for two-week annual training and/or weekend drills), sick leave or vacation time during these four years of activated reserve service. Do I rate to keep earning those benefits while in activated reserve status?

A. What you were told is correct. If you want to get firefighter credit for those four years of active-duty service, you’ll have to make a deposit to the civilian retirement system.

No one on active duty receives credit for annual leave, sick leave or annual active duty for training (ANACDUTRA). They can only be earned while you are on your agency’s payroll.


About Author

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


  1. However, the question was related to military leave accrual while on Military LWOP or what is now called LWOP US status from their federal civilian employer. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the member is entitled to a new “bank of military leave” on 1 October of each fiscal year. This equates to 3 weeks of military leave or in this case: 216 hours (based on a 144 hour pay period) of military leave that should be credited to the employees civilian LES at the beginning of each FY to utilize whenever the member chooses. In addition, the member may carryover only one year of military leave to the next FY. Thanks for clarifying.

Leave A Reply