Why do many federal employees decide to retire before the new year? It’s because they can take advantage of their remaining annual leave they have left for a lump sum. This amount even surpasses the normal yearly carryover limit, but they have to do it before the next leave year begins.
When the agency starts to calculate the lump sum amount, they will estimate the number of unused hours of yearly leave forward should you have remained on the books. The amount given is based on what you would have gotten. In the amount are pay raises that you would have been given as well.
Your yearly carryover limit is dependent upon your federal status – postal employee or non-postal employee.
If you’re a Postal Career Executive Service employee, you can get a lump sum payment for a limitless amount of accrued yearly leave. Those under the EAS (Executive and Administrative Scale) – managers, supervisors, postmasters, etc. – can get a maximum of 560 hours on top of the earned and accrued yearly leave in the year of retirement. A letter carrier or clerk with a union contract like NALC or APWU can attain a 440-hour lump sum payment.
If you’re a senior executive service member in the U.S. or its territories, the carryover is up to 720 hours. If not a senior executive service member, you can accrue and carry over no more than 240 hours of yearly leave for the next leave year. Any overseas employee can accrue and carryover at most 360 hours.
The leave year starts on the first day of the first pay period of the calendar year. For 2019 and non-postal employees, the new year starts Jan. 6, 2019. For postal employees, the new year begins Jan. 5, 2019.