Pay and Benefits Watch: A longer leave year, a delay in pay

Here's an arcane federal rule that you may need to remember when planning your vacation: The leave year begins on the first day of the first full pay period of the year.

Because Sunday, Dec. 31, 2000 is the beginning of a pay period for most federal employees, the leave year for 2000 does not end until Jan. 13. The 2001 leave year begins on Jan. 14, 2001, the first day of the first full pay period of the year.

That means you have until Jan. 13, 2001 to use up any "use-or-lose" leave that you have accumulated this year.

Annual pay increases work the same way. So across-the-board pay increases and locality pay increases for 2001 won't take effect, for most workers, until the pay period beginning Jan. 14, 2001. The pay rates for 2000 will be in effect until Jan. 13, 2001, or for 27 pay periods.

In calendar year 2000, there are only 26 pay days. In calendar years with 27 pay days, executives who are capped by the IRS limit ($10,500 this year) on Thrift Savings Plan contributions must redistribute their biweekly contributions to take full advantage of matching agency contributions. For most federal employees, the last time a calendar year had 27 pay days was in 1996 and 1997, and that won't happen again for several more years (For more on calendar years with 27 pay days, see "Why your paychecks don't always add up", Sept. 9, 1999).

Some federal employees are on alternate pay cycles, so their leave years begin and end at different times.

But every cycle that is a biweekly cycle, because of the way our calendar works, generates a 27th period every so often. Employees don't ever get cheated out of a pay day in any year, but accounting for the extra period can certainly make your head spin.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.