Reg Jones Expert's View

Last week I focused on how unused sick leave is used to increase your annuity when you retire and noted that beyond personal illness, sick leave can be used for certain other purposes. This week and next, I want to tell you about some of those.


If you are a birth mother, you are entitled to use your accrued sick leave for medical appointments, hospitalization, and a period of recuperation following your child’s birth. If you are the child’s father, you can take up to 12 weeks of accrued sick leave each year to accompany the birth mother to prenatal appointments, to be with her during her hospitalization, and/or to care for her during her recovery. In either case, the only requirement is that you provide your supervisor with evidence of the pregnancy and subsequent incapacitation.

Once the child is born, as parents you can use up to 12 weeks of accrued sick leave each year to care for your child if he or she has a serious health condition. Further, each of you can use up to 13 days of that 12-week period to care for your unwell child or to go with the child to medical, dental or optical appointments. To validate your request to take sick leave, your agency may ask for evidence of your child’s illness or treatment.

If you haven’t accumulated enough sick leave to cover all the time you need to take off, you can ask you agency to advance you sick leave for the approved purposes mentioned above. In general, the maximum sick leave they can advance is the amount you would earn between the time you request it and the end of the leave year. If you run out of sick leave, you can apply for donated sick leave under your agency’s voluntary leave transfer or leave bank program.


If you are adopting a child, you can use your accrued sick leave for purposes relating to that adoption, such as appointments with an adoption agency, social workers and attorneys, court proceedings, required travel and any periods of time when you are required to care for your adopted child. While your agency may require acceptable evidence of the need for you to use that sick leave, there is no limit on the amount of accrued sick leave you can use for adoption purposes. If you don’t have enough sick leave, you can ask your agency to advance you some. The rules are the same as those for childbirth.

Note: For either childbirth or adoption, you may not use sick leave to bond with a newborn or care for a healthy child. However, with supervisory approval, you can use annual leave or leave-without-pay (LWOP) for those purposes.