Unused Sick Leave Credit Toward Retirement

Unused sick leave is creditable as time served for annuity computation purposes for immediate retirements and for survivor annuities (including an annuity to a former spouse, under court order) based on death in service as described below. It cannot be used in computing a high-3 average salary or for meeting the minimum length of service for retirement eligibility. Unused sick leave credit does not apply to deferred retirements (for survivors of retirees, the survivor annuity is based on the calculation that produced the retiree’s own benefit, which included unused sick leave as pertinent).

Only years and full months of service are used in the annuity computation. Full months are credited proportionately; leftover days are dropped.

The unused sick leave conversion formula is rather tricky because sick leave hours are not deemed to represent work days, but rather portions of a 360-day work year that is divided into 12 30-day work months. When the 360 days are divided into the 2,087 hour work year, the product is a 5.797 hour day. Thus, the conversion formula gives a day’s credit for about six hours of sick leave, rather than eight.

Days of credit for unused sick leave beyond the last full month are added to time actually worked beyond the last full month, after converting those hours into creditable days under the same formula. In some cases that yields an additional month(s) of service credit. Any days beyond the last full month are dropped.

Full crediting of unused sick leave applies to FERS retirements or death in service survivor annuities that began in calendar year 2014 and after. Until a law effective October 28, 2009 (PL 111-84) FERS employees generally could not receive credit for unused sick leave, although there were limited exceptions. For those who retired from that date through calendar year 2013, half credit was allowed, with the exceptions continuing to apply.

FERS retirees who retired before 2014 and who had unused sick leave only partially credited, or not credited at all, in the calculation of their annuities under policies in effect at that time will have the remainder recredited to them if they are reemployed by the government (note: the Postal Service does not recredit unused sick leave if a break in service was more than three years). Unused sick leave will be included in the later calculation of a supplemental or redetermined annuity for them.