Calculating sick leave


Q: I plan to retire on Jan. 3. I want to calculate what “full months” of sick leave I will have and how many hours I can use before the end of the year. I’m trying to avoid voiding a full month. I have 2,396 hours of sick leave, and at four hours per pay period, I calculate 2,436 hours, which is almost one year and two months I can use toward retirement.

My concern is using sick leave in the interim. If I’m exactly at the one year, two months, I can’t use any leave, save a few hours (I am banking my annual leave to cash out). So if I am near that whole month, what would the “cost” be if was to burn sick leave and lose that second month of retirement credit? If one year equals 2 percent increase in retirement, does that mean one month equals 2 percent divided by 12 or .00167 or .167 percent? I’m guessing this isn’t much to worry about (35 years, $92,000 per year).Can you advise as to the actual calculations?

A: Any unused days of actual service and all unused sick leave days are converted into annuity hours. This is done by dividing the number of hours in a work year — 2,087 — by 360, which, to equalize payments, is based on 12 30-day months. Therefore, for retirement purposes, a day equals 5.797+hours and a month is roughly 174 hours long. To try out different scenarios, go to and click on item 6, Sick leave credit.


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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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