ANNUAL LEAVE TOWARD RETIREMENT
Employees who fall short on time-in-service for retirement eligibility, but face the loss of their jobs due to downsizing, can apply their accrued annual leave in order to reach the eligibility threshold. The new rules also address the use of accrued annual leave for employees, in the same situation, to continue health benefits coverage in retirement.
Recently enacted legislation allows employees who are being involuntarily separated to use their annual leave to achieve initial eligibility for retirement and/or continued health benefits coverage. This right is extended to employees who are transferred or relocated.
Since January 1993, agencies have the authority to retain on annual leave an employee who received a specific reduction in force notice so that the employee may establish initial eligibility for retirement, and/or for continuance of health benefits into retirement. The new rules now give employees who are involuntarily separated the right to use their annual leave to achieve initial eligibility for retirement and/or continued health benefits coverage. In addition this right extends to relocation situations, including transfer of function.
This authority is found in Section 634 of the FY 97 Omnibus Appropriation Bill (PL 104-208) approved September 30, 1996. Section 634 applies solely to employees who are covered by Chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code (USC) and advanced annual leave may not be used. An agency may not approve use of any other type of leave after the employee has been retrained under a temporary exception nor can employees be retain on the agency's roles past the date of first eligibility for retirement and/or health benefits.