Leave of absence, retirement and high-3


Q. I’m going to be doing charity work for several months in 2014. I’m considering requesting a leave of absence for it (I understand such leaves are at the discretion of management). If I’m not granted the LOA and I resign, how will a few months (seven to eight total) affect my retirement? I plan to rejoin federal service after the charity event. I’ve consulted my local HR department and OPM, but I’ve received conflicting information.

If I’m granted the LOA, is my high-3 affected by such an absence? Then, assuming I’m not granted the LOA and I resign, can I rejoin federal service with the high-3 intact? Lastly, do I lose my high-3 if I withdraw funds from TSP just before the LOA or resignation? That is the big one for me — some people tell me if I touch my TSP, I lose my high-3.

A. If your period of leave without pay exceeds six months in a calendar year, it will affect your length of service and your high-3. Since your high-3 is based solely on your highest three consecutive years of average pay (78 biweekly pay periods), what you do with your TSP account can’t affect it.


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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