Annual leave


Q. I am retiring Aug. 31 this year as a FERS employee from the National Institutes of Health, an agency with the Department of Health and Human Services. I carried more than 240 hours and I get eight hours each pay period. I currently have 312.5 hours. I have two pay periods left before I retire, which would give me 16 additional hours. And then based on what my final pay check will include, with an annual leave payout on Sept. 9, I calculate that those three pay periods will add 24 hours, which brings my leave to a total of 336.5 hours. Am I correct that my unused leave check will be for 336.5 hours?

A. No, it won’t. Here’s the basic rule: When you retire you’ll receive a lump-sum payment for all the annual leave you carried over from the previous leave year, plus any additional annual leave you earned during the current year. As you noted, those two pay periods you work before retiring would add 16 hours to your previous balance. Since annual leave is credited at the end of a pay period, there wouldn’t be any third pay period. So there wouldn’t be any additional eight hours of annual leave credit.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Charles Toomey on

    Wife went from active military to reservist as a Military Tech. She bought back all military time while servicing as Mil Tech. Was over the 20 year mark, when she was returned to active duty, where she retired. Now she has been reinstated as Civil Service. Question is whether she gets the benefit of 8 hrs a pay period for leave purposes. She has actual 6 plus years as SS. Second question is if she does not get credit for the previous obtains years of service, can she request a refund from the military buy back without affecting previous contributions to retirement fund.

    • As a rule, employees who are receiving military retired pay don’t get credit for their active duty service in determining their annual leave accrual rate. She’ll have to check with her personnel office to find out if any credit can be given for her time as a Mil Tech. As for that deposit, there are only two ways she can get a refund: 1) if she resigns from the government or 2) when she retires, if she decides not to have that that time used in the computation of her annuity. If she does decide to have that time used in the computation of her civilian annuity, when she retires she’ll have to waive her military retired pay

      • charles toomey on

        Only wanted to know if the military buy back payments can be refunded without refunding the normal payments made into the retirement fund. She has over 6 years of actual civil service time and while a Mil tech was activated for 400 days and sent to Afghanistan. And while on permanent active duty she was sent to Kuwait and to the Sinai as an observer. I suppose her DD 214 should help the personnel people determine her time that can be counted for leave purposes. Thanks for the information you provided. We will hope for the best.

  2. I just retired from Medical Retirement Disability on August 6, 2016 as a Civilian. When will I receive my first check? Can I apply for Social Security Disability? Thanks!

    • We have no way of knowing when you’ll receive your first disability check. Since FERS employees are required to apply for Social Security disability benefits when they apply for OPM’s disability benefits (otherwise their application won’t be processed), we have to assume that you were a CSRS employee. Is that correct?

      • No Sir, I’m under FERS system. I have applied for SSD benefits but they denied due to I was still continued to work with restrictions until August 2016. So do I need to reapply SSD again? If so, when can I apply for it?

        Do I get back pay when I receive the first Disability check?


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