FMLA, leave without pay and within-grade increases


Q. If someone uses the Family and Medical Leave Act beyond the 80 hours leave-without-pay duration, will it delay their within-grade increase date?

A. No, it doesn’t. Here are the rules:

Within-Grade Increases (General Schedule): The waiting period and allowable LWOP time before delaying Within-Grade Increases are as follows:

* For steps 02 through 04, the waiting period is one year, with up to two workweeks or 80 hours of nonpay time.

* For steps 05 through 07, the waiting period is two years with up to four workweeks or 160 hours of nonpay time.

* For steps 08 through 10, the waiting period is three years with up to six workweeks or 240 hours of nonpay time.

Excess LWOP beyond these limitations will extend the within-grade increase. For example, if the employee is in a two-year waiting period and has 161 to 239 hours of LWOP, the within-grade will be extended one pay period. If the employee has 240 to 319 hours of LWOP, the within-grade will be extended two pay periods.


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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


  1. What would the within-grade be extended if you are in the 1 year waiting period with 120 hours LWOP through FMLA?

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