Service Computation Date: The Effect of Nonpay Status
Who would have thought that you could still accrue time toward your federal benefits while in nonpay status, without having to adjust your service computation date? Well, it turns out that you can.
Various Service Computation Dates
As we discussed in a previous article, there is no one-size-fits-all service computation date (SCD) for your Federal Government benefits. Your leave accrual, career tenure, in-grade pay increases, retirement eligibility, retirement annuity, retention position during a reduction in force, and TSP vesting all have their own SCD. But depending on which benefit you look at, a certain amount of time in nonpay status is allowed without having any effect on that date. In these cases, your creditable service will continue to grow. But it’s important to know just how much time in nonpay status you can have for each benefit before it begins to take a toll on your SCD.
Types of Nonpay Status
There are several types of nonpay status including furlough, suspension, leave without pay, absent-uniformed service, seasonal employee, and sabbatical. Even though they are used for different purposes, they all affect your SCD for each benefit in the same way. The only factors you need to focus on are the amount of days in nonpay status and the particular benefit in question.
Examples of Nonpay Status Affecting Federal Benefits
As a new Federal Employee, you start off under a probationary period, typically six months. During this time, you can be in nonpay status for up to 22 days before it affects your probationary period. For each day after 22 days in nonpay status your probationary period is extended by one day.
You can have 30 days of nonpay status before your SCD for career tenure is affected.
You are allowed up to six months of nonpay status before your SCD for retirement eligibility will be adjusted.
Like retirement eligibility, your leave accrual rate advancement (i.e. six hour to eight hour increase in accrual rate) will be unaffected if you are in nonpay status for six months or less. However, while in nonpay status you will not accrue paid time off or sick leave.
FEGLI and FEHB
Your FEGLI and FEHB coverage will continue for a full year in nonpay status. However, you will incur a debt upon your return for your share of the premiums that were not paid.
What To Do?
If you find yourself in nonpay status, don’t be shocked to find that while one category of benefits may be affected by a certain length of time in this status another may not. In addition, you should make sure HR correctly adjusts or doesn’t adjust your SCDs for each particular benefit.