Quitting work for Uncle Sugar is not as straightforward as you think it would be.

In my case, I briefed my supervisor about the competing job offer I accepted, then I coordinated with our administrative specialist to generate my separation date, “request for personnel action”, and final SF-50 (Notice of Personnel Action).

I did not need to fill out a huge list of forms, but I’m sure the process was rather involved on the HR end.  The SF-50 is generated by an SF-52 (Request for Personnel Action).

The SF-52 has about two hundred codes for why you are leaving the employ of Uncle Sugar, but for all these codes, there is no code in existence that says “The Employee is departing of his/her own Free Will“.   Fascinating- I must be the first person ever to resign from Federal Employment on my own volition [/sarcasm].

Fortunately in my case, the free-form text I provided- “Employee Accepted Position in Private Industry”- made its way to my final SF-50.  Departing Feds, make sure there are no codes that indicate you left for any kind of disciplinary reason.

Other items to check on your final SF-50:

  • Block 5A should say “Resignation” and not “Termination”.
  • You retain your Veteran’s hiring preference (if you had one) in Block 23.
  • SCD (Leave) Remains the same as your previous SF-50.  This will be critical if you choose to return to work for Uncle Sugar.
  • There should also be a statement in the “Remaks” section (45) regarding the disposition of your Annual Leave (lump sum payment due).  Note that in my case I received a prompt lump-sum payment on my final LES.

The full OPM guidance on the SF-52 and SF-50is here.

A brief overview of the SF-52 for supervisors is here.

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