For years federal employees who attended one of the military service academies have wrestled with their personnel offices about whether they were entitled to get credit for that time for both retirement and leave accrual purposes.

I thought the debate was ended when Congress passed the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1115 explicitly made service academy time creditable for retirement and, by extension, for leave accrual purposes. And it made that service creditable both retrospectively and prospectively.

However, because the act didn’t explicitly mention leave accrual, many personnel offices, including some in the Department of Defense, have balked at giving leave accrual credit for academy service. To nail down the fact that such service is creditable, I asked OPM for an explanation that would settle the matter once and for all. And they graciously did. Here’s what they had to say:

In terms of credit for annual leave accrual purposes, it’s important to understand how the statute governing service credit for annual leave accrual purposes is written. 5 U.S.C. 6303 (a) provides that service which would be creditable for CSRS retirement purposes is creditable for determining an employee’s years of service for leave accrual purposes. Once one understands the 5 U.S.C. 6303(a) text, it becomes clear that, since academy service time is creditable for retirement purposes, it is creditable for purposes of determining an employee’s annual leave service credit date.

Here is the title 5, chapter 63 reference–

5 U.S.C. 6303 (a)–

. . . In determining years of service, an employee is entitled to credit for all service of a type that would be creditable under section 8332, regardless of whether or not the employee is covered by subchapter III of chapter 83, and for all service which is creditable by virtue of subsection (e). However, an employee who is a retired member of a uniformed service as defined by section 3501 of this title is entitled to credit for active military service only if–

(A) his retirement was based on disability–

(i) resulting from injury or disease received in line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict; or

(ii) caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in line of duty during a period of war as

defined by sections 101 and 1101 of title 38;

(B) that service was performed in the armed forces during a war, or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized; or

(C) on November 30, 1964, he was employed in a position to which this subchapter applies and thereafter he continued to be so employed without a break in service of more than 30 days. . . .

Therefore, academy service time is creditable for annual leave accrual purposes. For military retirees who have had academy service time, the restrictions of 5 U.S.C. 6303(a)(A)-(C) [shown above] would of course apply.

FYI: The restrictions applying to employees who are entitled to military retired pay don’t apply to employees who are entitled to reserve retired pay. If they have attended a service academy, they can get credit for that time in determining their leave accrual rate.