Q. I will have 30 years with the Postal Service on Dec. 24. I have 450 hours of annual leave. If I were to take a voluntary downgrade — which would reduce my pay rate substantially for my last six months before retirement — would my annual leave buyout be calculated solely at my new lower rate? Or would it correspond to my pay rate when it was earned?
A. Lump-sum payments for unused annual leave are always computed using the current hourly rate of pay. Therefore, if the downgrade results in a lesser hourly rate of pay, your lump-sum payment when you retire will be smaller than it would have been had you stayed in the higher-paying position.