Q: Under the OPM regulations, it is my understanding that a federal employee can take up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave each year to care for an eligible family member. If a federal employee is 10 weeks or so away from being eligible for retirement and has an emergency family medical situation, is he allowed to take the last 10 weeks of employment as paid sick leave up to the date that they retire?
A: The law provides that an employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. OPM regulations allow an employee to take up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave, but only to the extent that an employee has that much sick leave to his credit. Taking sick leave to care for a family member just before retiring is a rare enough occurrence that I haven’t found any guidance that would be helpful to you. While it seems likely that taking such leave would be allowed under the law, you’ll need to discuss the matter with the staff in your personnel office. If there’s any uncertainty about the answer, they can check with OPM.