It isn’t uncommon for a federal employee with 30 or more years of service to have accrued in excess of one year’s worth of sick leave. This article discusses the conversion of unused sick leave into an increase in annuity payments upon retirement.
If you have 2087 hours at the time you retire, your annuity increases by 2% of your average high-three salary for CSRS employees and you will receive credit for each whole month of accumulated sick leave that you have on the books when you retire. Since 2009, FERS employees have had similar benefits. The credit for FERS employees was phased in, however, with full conversion available only after January 1, 2014.
There is no limit on the amount of unused sick leave that can be credited. If you are an employee under CSRS, if you retire on an immediate annuity or die leaving a widow, widower or former spouse entitled to a survivor annuity, your service will be increased by the days of unused sick leave to your credit under a formal leave system. The days of unused sick leave that are added are used only in counting your number of years and months of service for annuity computation purposes. The sick leave cannot be used in computing your high-3 average salary or for meeting the minimum length of service for retirement eligibility. FERS employees will receive only a 50% credit if they retire before January 1, 2014.
In general, if your leave system charges eight hours of sick leave for one day’s absence, eight hours of unused sick leave constitutes one day of credit. Days are converted to months and years on the basis of a 2087 hour work year. Only years and full months of service are used in the annuity computation. Odd days are dropped.
Please see the “Sick Leave Conversion Chart” to see how FERS employees’ unused sick leave is converted to additional creditable service for purposes of increasing your annuity at retirement.