Maximum Annual Leave at Retirement

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By on February 17, 2015 in Q&A, Retirement with 10 Comments

Q:  I am told that the max of annual leave that the Post Office will write a check for at retirement is 440 hours, however, in your examples you are showing ( 240 + 208 = 448). What is the rule?

A: The rule on how much annual leave can be paid out when an employee leaves federal service (either by retirement or otherwise) is simple; employees who leave federal service are entitled to payment for their entire balance of annual leave. Whoever told you that the largest check USPS would cut for A/L for a retiree was 440 hours was mistaken.

In most years, if an employee carries 240 hours of A/L over into the leave year, earns 8 hours of A/L a pay period, and does not use even one hour of the leave that was carried over and earned, they will have a total of 440 hours of A/L if they retire at the end of the year. However, in a leave year in which there were 27 pay periods, the total would be 448. The examples you referred in your inquiry (where I reference 448 hours as the amount payable) must have been from a few years age when we actually did have 27 pay periods in the leave year.

There are also situations when a balance of over 448 hours would be paid. Federal employees who are stationed overseas have a 360 hour carryover. SES members have an even higher carryover.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at [email protected] to discuss schedules and costs.

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.