Retirement formula for sick days


Q: In reading your article on key dates for federal retirement in the Oct. 4 issue of Federal Times, you say that “CSRS employees get full credit for unused sick leave.” I am eligible to retire by age and years under the Civil Service Retirement System, but have been told that only increments of 174 hours of sick leave will be “rolled” into my retirement calculation. 

A: At retirement, any days and hours of actual service that don’t add up to a full month are added to any hours of unused sick leave. To provide retirees with 12 equal monthly payments, the Office of Personnel Management treats every month as if it had 30 days. To convert leftover periods of actual service and unused sick leave into retirement days, the year (360 days, or 12 times 30) is divided into 2,087 hours, the congressionally mandated number of hours in a work year. As a result, a retirement day is 5.797+ hours long, and a month approximately 174 hours long. The full months generated by this process are added to your years and months of actual service and used in the computation of your annuity. Any hours that don’t add up to a full month are discarded.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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