Sick leave and retirement


Q: This past year, I was off work for more than six months due to surgeries. I used all of my annual and accrued sick leave. I was donated leave by co-workers and was the recipent of 100 hrs of advanced sick leave. I plan on retiring in June and probably won’t have but half of the sick leave paid back. Can I transfer annual leave to cover the shortage, or will I be forced to pay back the difference in cash at or near my retirement date? Further, my military payback won’t be complete by June, just 50 percent of it.  Is there any way that I can continue to pay after I retire or is there any organizations that can help me?

A: In answer to your first question, you can always substitute annual leave for sick leave. In answer to your second question, no, you can’t continue to make deposits for your active-duty service after you retire. If you haven’t completed the deposit by the time your application for retirement is adjudicated by OPM, you’ll receive a refund of whatever you did deposit and get no credit for that time.


About Author

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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