Unused Sick Leave, What You Need to Know

Unused Sick Leave, What You Need To Know

LeaveIt is not uncommon for a federal employee to accumulate a sizeable amount of unused sick leave over their career. As sick leave can only be used for

  • personal medical needs
  • family care or bereavement
  • care of a family member with a serious health condition
  • adoption-related purposes

It may not be possible for a federal employee to use all their unused sick leave prior to retirement.

Unused sick leave can’t be used to add days to make you eligible to retire.  It is only added after you retire to increase your annuity amount.  In order to be used in your annuity calculation, you must have a minimum of 174 hours of unused sick leave.  174 hours is the equivalent of one full month.

For the purposes of calculating your retirement annuity, it is based on the years, months and days of total service.  Partial months or any days less than 30 are dropped from your annuity calculation unless unused sick leave can be added to make a total of 30 days.

·      Example: You retire with 24 years, 6 months and 24 days.  The 24 days would be dropped unless you had a minimum of 35 hours of unused sick leave which equates to 6 days.  This would make your total service for the purposes of calculating your annuity 24 years, 7 months.

Unused sick leave can also be used to increase a CSRS annuity above the 80% maximum.  If a CSRS retiree has accumulated 2087 hours of unused sick leave this could add an additional 2% to their retirement annuity for a total of 82% of their average Hi-3 salary.

Unused sick leave has no cash value but it can be used to increase your total service for the purposes of increasing your retirement annuity.