Leave without pay for more than six months


Q. I’m a FERS employee whose federal service has been broken up by multiple periods of leave without pay due to permanent changes of station accompanying my active-duty spouse. I looked over your website and found lots of questions/answers regarding high-3 and LWOP of less than six months but not much on what happens when it is more than six months.

Based on the answers I found, is LWOP greater than six months considered a break in service and thus possibly damaging to your high-3?

For example, I worked 18 months at a base salary of $57,146 and $58,141, followed by 12 months of LWOP until I was transferred to a position with a base salary of $35,657. Will the higher salary be considered at all since I was in LWOP status for more than six months, or did my “three consecutive years” start over when I ended the LWOP status and transferred to the lower salary position?

A. Your high-3 will be based on your highest three consecutive years of average basic pay. To learn about the full effect of being on LWOP for more than six months in a calendar year, go to www.opm.gov/feddata/gppa/GPPA15.pdf.


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.

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