Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Unused sick leave

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Q. I am a federal employee planning to retire at the end of June, when I will have worked 39 years and one month. I have accrued 262 hours of sick leave and was told my sick leave would be attached to my retirement in increments of one month. I was also told that one month was valued at 22 days or 176 hours. If this is so, by my calculations, I would have 86 hours available to use at this point if I planned to carry 176 hours for additional retirement benefit. Of course, I will continue to accrue sick leave during these next two months while I am working. I just want to know how my sick leave is accounted for when it is added to my retirement. I want to make sure I don’t come up short of the month I have planned to add on.

A. The value of sick leave hours, like any actual service hours not used in the computation of your annuity, are coverted to retirement days by dividing 2,087 (the numbers of days in a work year) by 360 (which equates to 12 30-day months). Therefore, a work day equals 5.797+ hours; and month is roughly 174 hours long. Any hours that exceed a month are dropped.

If you think you can burn off any hours that don’t equal a month, think again. Sick leave may only be used for purposes spelled out in law and regulation.

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