Reg Jones Expert's View

If you leave government through resignation or retirement, you’ll receive a lump-sum payment for your unused annual leave. You also can ask for a refund (it is not automatic) if you enter active duty in the armed forces.

A lump-sum payment will equal the basic pay you would have received if you had stayed on the job until the end of the period covered by that leave.

Your agency will calculate the lump-sum payment by multiplying the total number of accumulated hours by your rate of pay, plus any other types of pay you would have received while on annual leave. Not included are allowances paid for the sole purpose of retaining you in your job—for example, retention incentives and physicians comparability allowances.

There are a number of types of pay that are included when calculating a lump-sum payment. And they vary slightly if you are a federal wage system employee. Among these are:

*  rate of basic pay
*  locality pay or other similar geographic adjustment
*  within-grade increase, if the waiting period is met on the date you leave
*  across-the-board annual pay adjustments
*  regularly scheduled overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act, if you have uncommon hours of duty
*  supervisory differentials
*  nonforeign area cost-of-living allowances and post differentials
*  foreign area post allowances
*  night differentials for FWS employees only, including any portion of the lump-sum period that would have occurred when you were scheduled to work night shifts

When your agency calculates your lump-sum payment, it will project your annual leave forward for all the workdays you would have worked if you had stayed on the rolls. FYI, holidays are counted as workdays.

So what happens if you leave, get a lump-sum payment for your annual leave, and then return to work for the government? If you do that before the end of the period covered by that annual leave, you’ll have to refund the portion that represents the period between your date of reemployment and the expiration of the lump-sum period. In return, your agency will recredit you with an amount of annual leave that equals the hours for which you made a redeposit.

If you return after the end of the period covered by that annual leave, you will not make a refund but also will not have any recredited.