Leave without pay vs. LWOP-US


Q. I am a dual status technician GS employee in the Air National Guard. I’m trying to figure out if a three-month activation on Title 10 active duty for which I go leave without pay from my technician job will require me to make a military deposit to credit that tour after completion? Does such a short tour fall under the LWOP six-month rule and therefore doesn’t require any payment? Our agency has been calculating deposits to cover less than six-month tours in the past, but I’m curious if that’s necessary.

A. Your agency is correct. You won’t be taking LWOP. You’ll be taking LWOP-US, which means that you must make a deposit to get credit for that time.


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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. Theresa S. Sedlock on

    If the LWOP-US was mandated by the President and was during a period of war and National Emergency and was a Presidential call up do the same rules apply?
    It doesn’t seem right, if you take LWOP for any other reason you don’t have to pay back into FERS but if the same period is taken and you serve your country, you do have to pay…

      • A bit late to the show for this question, but I believe the difference is that because this is LWOP-US, it comes with added protections provided by USERRA that don’t apply to plain LWOP- e.g. protection from reassignment, extended abilities to use military leave, and the option to buy back creditable service toward your civilian retirement. LWOP-US comes with many more perks/protections than straight up LWOP.

        • You are right about the additional benefit of LWOP-US; however, I was was just answering the question that was asked. Nevertheless, spurred by you email, I’ll be expanding on the difference between LWOP and LWOP-US in a future column.

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