The following is a question submitted by a Federal Times readers about retirement and other issues facing the federal workforce. It is answered by Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service and a Federal Times columnist since 1995.

Question: As of my planned retirement date I will have 31 years, 11 “full” months of service. I’ll be shy of a full 32 years by 12 days. My age exceeds my SSA retirement age of 66 ½ years old, so no issue there.

I will have more than 1 year and 1 month of sick leave balance as of February.

I am planning to retire at end of February 2023 and have no desire to go past March 9 to reach my anniversary date, unless it has a great positive impact to my annuity. I think I lose a full month of earned service for the annuity calculation, but would pick it back up with the sick leave. This would give me an even 32 years for the FERS annuity calculation.

When would my FERS annuity start if my last day is February 25 (end of a PP)? Is it March 1?

I am aware the 41 hours of sick leave is not enough to get me to March 9 in the next PP, so I have to use it or lose. When would my FERS annuity start if my last day is February 28 (end of month but 3 days into next PP)? Is it still March 1, or does the fact I am in a new PP (with February & March) affect the annuity start date?

I’m actually thinking of using 16 hours of sick leave for the 2 working days in the PP. Does it matter?

Reg’s Response: As a FERS employee, you can retire on any day on the month and be on the annuity roll in the following month. Many retiring employees pick a date that is both at the end of a pay period and closest to the end of the month.

Your annuity will be based on your years and full months of creditable service, which will be increased by any left-over days of service and unused sick leave hours that add up to additional months. For retirement purposes, 174 hours equals 1 month, 348 2 months, etc.

Burning off sick leave is a no-no. It can only be used for legitimate purposes spelled out in law and regulation.

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Reg Jones is the resident expert on retirement and the federal government at Federal Times. From 1979 until 1995, he served as an assistant director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management handling recruiting and examining, white and blue collar pay, retirement, insurance and other issues. Opinions expressed are his own.

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