The following is a question submitted by a reader to Federal Times columnist Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and the resident expert on federal employee retirement issues.

A Fed Times reader asks:

“I am 60 years of age and am applying for a federal position.  My intent is to work for five years from date of employment.

What does, “high three” mean?  How is it determined, or calculated?”

Reg’s response:

Your “high-3′ is the average of your three highest consecutive years of basic pay, the amount from which retirement deductions are taken. That figure would then be included in the formula used to compute your annuity.

Because you are already 60 years old, if you were to work for 5 years your annuity would be calculate using the following formula: .01 X your high-3 X 5 years of service.

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Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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