Sick leave and retirement


Q: I plan to retire at the end of December, 2011. I will have 44 years of continuous federal service under CSRS. I have 1,300 hours of accrued sick leave. Will my sick leave in any way increase my monthly annuity? If yes, at what rate?

A: Let’s start at the beginning. Because you have more than 41 years and 11 months of creditable service, your earned annuity will be capped at 80 percent of your High-3. Any additional contributions you have made to the retirement fund will be refunded to you with the option of purchasing additional annuity that isn’t subject to the 80 percent limit. The same is true of unused sick leave. For annuity purposes, approximately 174 hours equals one month. If you had exactly 1,300 hours when you retired, you’d get credit for seven months (1,217 hours) with the remaining hours discarded. Because each year of sick leave credit is worth about 2 percent, your seven months would add about 1.16 percent to your annuity.


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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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