Q. I retired from the Federal Aviation Administration on Dec. 31, 2011. Human resources told me I was going to retire with 38 years of service. The exact figure with sick leave was 38 years, two months and two days. I was surprised when I saw my retirement plaque for 37 years, since I was told it would be 38 years. The retirement paperwork from the region that arrived at my house after my retirement stated the same time as above. I also received a letter from the Office of Personnel Management confirming that the HR section in my region had the correct years as 38 years, two months and two days.
When I inquired about my plaque, I was told it was correct that I only had 37 years 10 months of federal time. Does this seem correct that your sick leave does not count toward your service time for 38 years?
A. Think about it for a moment. You only worked for your agency for 37 years and 10 months. Since plaques are only issued for full years, you got credit for 37 years on your plaque. However, during those 37-plus years, you accumulated four months and two days of sick leave, which by law were added to your actual service and used in the computation of your annuity. If that unused sick leave had been added at the front end of your actual service and used on your plaque, it would have meant that you began working before you were hired; if at the back end, it would have meant that you were still on duty after you retired.