Sick leave and service credit


Q: Below is a question and answer from your web page. I am confused by your reply. I have asked a similar question of several people including my benefits counselor and OPM and have not received a firm answer. I thought I had found the answer I was looking for on your web pages but what I saw before is not what I see now. I am contemplating applying for retirement on Dec. 31, 2012, at which time I will have 19 years, 10 months and nine days of service. I will have an accumulated balance of 689.5 hours of sick leave. I am a FERS employee and past the age of 62 now, so I already meet the age 62 and five years of service rule for retirement. I have been told that if I follow the plan as stated above, my annuity would be calculated at the 1.1 percent multiplier that is applied to retirees with 20 years of service. Your answer to the question below causes me to pause and think that I am moving in a different direction than I expected. I hope you will reply to my question/concern because if staying until 2012 will not generate the increase annuity I am expecting (1.1 percent versus 1 percent) and my high-3 is already established, then I may revise my plans and apply for retirement in 2011 vice waiting until 2012.

Q: Under the Federal Employees Retirement System, after 20 years, your annuity is figured at 0.011 percent of your high-3 salary average multiplied by your years of service. Below 20 years, the percentage used is 0.01. With the new law allowing 50 percent of unused sick time to be used for annuity calculations, can that time also be used to meet the 20-years-of-service criterion?


A: Let’s first get the computational facts straight. The standard FERS formula is as follows: 0.01 x your high-3 x your years of creditable service. The 0.011 multiplier is only used if you retire at age 62 or later with at least 20 years of service. Now, to your question: No, sick leave can not be used to meet the years-of-service requirement. It can only be added after that criterion has been met.



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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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