“I want to retire at calendar year end. I am under CSRS and would like to know what is the best date to retire at either the end of December 2023 or early part of January 2024 so that I can receive the benefits of my accrued leave for this year in addition to my full use-or-lose balance of 240 hours. My strategy, of course, is to not use any annual leave between now and year-end so I can receive a larger lump sum payment for my hours of annual leave.
The last pay period in 2023 ends on Saturday January 13. Because you are a CSRS employee, you can retire up to the third day of any month and be on the annuity roll in that month. So, for example, if you were to retire on January 3, 2024, you’d receive three additional days of pay; however, your annuity for January - payable on February 1 - would only be 27/30th of the regular monthly amount. In addition, and this is very important for you in making a decision, if you retire any later than January 13, you’d lose any accumulated annual leave hours that exceed 240.
NOTE: The above response has been corrected.
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Reg Jones, a charter member of the senior executive service, 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.