Ask The Experts: Retirement

By Reg Jones

Sick leave compensation policy

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Q. I am a FERS employee who has been with the Postal Service since 1985. I had an extended period of illness in 2008, during which I used most of my sick leave. I recently decided to retire May 31 and, during my retirement counseling session, I asked about my sick leave, which is now 22 days, according to their records. I was told I would receive no compensation because the post office is paying out in increments of 30 days and “since they are paying out at 50 percent, I would have to have 60 days accrued to get the 30.” This shocked me: I was willing to forfeit 50 percent, but was wondering where the 30-day increment information can be found.

A. You may have misunderstood what was said. While employees leaving government or retiring receive a lump-sum payment for unused annual leave, no one receives any payment for unused sick leave. Instead, if you are retiring, those days are added to any days of actual service that don’t add up to a month and are used to increase an annuity. For verification, here’s a quote from the Postal Service’s manual:

513.8 Retirements or Separations

513.81 General

No payment is made for accumulated sick leave when an employee retires or separates from Postal Service employment.

513.82 Retirement

513.821 Credit for Sick Leave

Provisions of the Civil Service Retirement Act provide for the granting of credit for unused sick leave in calculating retirement or survivor annuity at the time of an employee’s retirement or death (see 562.4). Each 8 hours of sick leave represents 1 day of retirement credit. Unused sick leave days are converted to calendar time retirement credit, based on a 260-day work year (260 days x 8 hours = 2,080 hours).

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