Some employees have concluded that they would be better off financially if they “burned off” their sick leave hours instead of having them used in their annuity computation.

From a financial point of view, they are right. Each sick leave hour would be paid at their current hourly rate of pay, whereas the increase in their monthly annuity benefits would be comparatively small.

However, sick leave can only be used for legitimate purposes, which are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations in 5 CFR 630. Among the more common reasons for an agency granting sick leave are when you need medical, dental, or optical exams and treatment, are incapacitated for the performance of your duties, need to provide care for a family member who is incapacitated, or have to be absent to attend to matters involving the adoption of a child.

Furthermore, the regulations make it clear that if you are going to be absent for more than three workdays, your agency should ask you for “a medical certificate or other administratively acceptable evidence” of need.

Using sick leave without a valid reason would involve both you and your agency in a fraud.