Federal employees earn sick leave at the rate of 4 hours for every 80 hours worked. At retirement, the unused sick leave balance on record will be credited as additional service in the computation of the annuity. Unfortunately, sick leave cannot be used to make an employee eligible to retire. So, how does it work?
Crediting sick leave at retirement is totally different than taking sick leave while working. At retirement sick leave is credited using a 2087-hour sick leave chart, see below.
The way to read the chart is to find the number of hours of sick leave on the chart, then determine how many months and days of additional service time that adds up to.
If the number of hours you are looking for is missing, just round up to the next higher number. For those who may have more than 2087 hours of sick leave, you will be credited for more than a year – in that case, subtract 2087 from your balance and use the chart for anything above 2087.
Once you have the figure to use, find it on the chart then go up to find the number of months and across to the left determine the number of days that will be the amount of creditable sick leave service.
In our example below, we will be using 857 hours of sick leave and since the number 857 is not on the chart, round up to 858 and it converts to 4 months and 28 days.
Next you need to determine how much creditable service you have toward retirement – then sick leave is added as additional service to be used in calculating the annuity.
Example, Athena plans to retire at age 60 and her retirement service computation date (this is the time that counts towards retirement) is April 14, 1994, and she plans to retire December 31, 2021.
When you subtract the retirement SCD from her retirement date she has 27 years 7 months and 17 days of creditable service. Without any sick leave, her retirement would be calculated on 27 years and 7 months and the 17 days would be dropped as retirements are calculated on full years and months only.
However, she also has 857 hours of sick leave available – go Athena! Using the 2087 hours sick leave chart, that will add an additional 4 months and 28 days to her creditable service. Now her retirement will be calculated using 28 years 0 months and the 15 days will be dropped.
Remember, if they drop 15 days, as in this example, 15 days only equals 87 hours of sick leave according to the chart, not 120 hours for those who work an 8-hour day! Her retirement will equal 28% x high-3 average salary (roughly, the average of your highest rates of basic pay over any three consecutive years of creditable civilian service).
The author retired after 32 years federal service working in retirement, benefits and OWCP. Upon her retirement in 2000, founded Federal Benefits Services, LLC, providing retirement and benefit seminars throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Has authored a nationally published federal retirement guide to assist federal employees and retirees in getting answers to their questions.