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Frequently Asked Questions Pay & Leave

Under what circumstances may employees who resign before being involuntarily separated be treated as "involuntarily separated" for purposes of qualifying for severance pay?

Under current severance pay regulations (5 CFR 550.706), employees who resign because they expect to be involuntarily separated are considered to have been involuntarily separated for severance pay purposes ONLY IF they resign after receiving-

  1. a specific written notice stating that the employee will be involuntarily separated by a particular action (e.g., reduction in force) on a particular date (see 5 CFR 550.706(a)(1); or
  2. a general written notice of reduction in force or transfer of function that announces that all positions in the competitive area will be abolished or transferred to another commuting area by a particular date no more than 1 year after the date of the notice (see 5 CFR 550.706(a)(2)).

However, if the specific or general notice is cancelled before the resignation is effected, the resignation would not be qualifying for severance pay purposes. (See 5 CFR 550.706(c).

If the specific notice deals with involuntary separation by reduction-in-force (RIF) procedures, the notice must meet the conditions in 5 CFR part 351, subpart H. A general notice has no standing under the RIF program and is not subject to RIF rules. A general notice cannot be used to meet the RIF notice requirements in 5 CFR part 351, subpart H.

A Certification of Expected Separation under 5 CFR 351.807 is not a qualifying specific or general notice under the severance pay regulations.

Entitlement to certain benefits--such as training assistance, priority placement rights, appeal rights, etc.--may be affected by an employee's decision to resign in advance of an actual involuntary separation action. The employing agency should inform affected employees of these implications before they accept a resignation.

Even if a resignation is considered an "involuntary separation" under the severance pay rules, the employee may not be eligible for severance pay under 5 U.S.C. 5595 and 5 CFR part 550, subpart G, for other reasons. The employee must meet all applicable eligibility requirements.

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