Sick leave has no cash value


Q: An employee told me that if you retire (under the Civil Service Retirement System) with your full 41 years, 11 months, or more of service, and have more than one year of sick leave, you have the option to receive the cash payout for the sick leave instead of taking the extra 2 percent. Is there any truth to this rumor?

A: No, there isn’t. Unlike annual leave, sick leave has no cash value. On the other hand, it can be added to actual service time after you become eligible to retire and used to increase the amount of your annuity. While an earned annuity cannot exceed 80 percent of an employee’s high-3 (which is reached after 41 years, 11 months of service), that limit doesn’t apply to sick leave.


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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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