Some federal employees would like to put in retirement papers and then go on annual leave until they retire—especially former members of the military, because terminal leave is one of the benefits available to them when they are separating from the service.

 

However, there is no similar authority for a federal civilian employee. That matter was settled many years ago by the Comptroller General, which stated that “terminal annual or vacation leave may not be granted immediately prior to separation from the service in any case where it is known in advance that the employee is to be separated from the service.”

 

Strict as that ruling appears to be, it doesn’t mean that you can’t take a few days off before you retire. You can, with the approval of your supervisor. However, for your boss to approve it, the amount you request needs to be reasonable.

 

While there is no law or regulation that requires you to be at work on the day you retire, it’s clear from the Comptroller General’s decision that you and your boss should use discretion to avoid the appearance that you are taking terminal leave, which, as noted above, is forbidden.