Lump-Sum Leave Pay Varies

Employees who leave the government with the same rates of pay and the same amounts of unused leave do not always receive the same amount of lump-sum leave pay, the General Accounting Office has reported.

Agencies do not use a standard formula for calculating how much an employee is owed in leave pay when they quit or are fired, so some employees are paid more than others for the same amount of unused leave. While some employees are given leave pay only for the time they are still working for an agency, others get additional pay if a General Schedule pay increase occurs after they have stopped working but while they are still receiving unused leave pay.

In addition, some agencies calculate leave using only basic pay, while others include some or all additional pay in leave calculations, including retention allowances and some overtime work.

The discrepancies have led to lawsuits against the federal government in recent years. In March 1995, the Justice Department settled with 696 former federal employees for lump-sum back pay totaling about $570,000, or $819 per employee, GAO said.

The Office of Personnel Management will publish guidance on lump-sum leave payments for agencies this summer, GAO said.

In 1996 agencies paid $562 million in lump-sum leave payments to employees who were leaving the government.

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